By Melanie Reffes
Whether it’s rejuvenation for your soul or a massage for your soles, a day in a Caribbean spa is a must-have guilty pleasure. From an apricot pit scrub to a mineral mud bath, welcome to the world of unbridled relaxation where the wise and the weary soak, scour and soothe their way to feeling good. A kaleidoscope of color with the brilliant blues of the sea and green hills sprinkled with bursts of pastel-pretty hues, Caribbean spas are a treasure-chest of natural curatives and island-inspired treatments.
Skilled therapists use grains of sand for a wonder scrub that exfoliates the skin to baby softness, eucalyptus that soothes tender muscles and tired feet, aloe for its celebrated relief of sunburn and herb-infused baths with the fragrant aromas of hibiscus and rosemary that chill-out the mind, body and spirit. Even rum has its therapeutic benefits with creative masseuses improvising with a splash of the potent brew.
With views of the rainforest, the glass walls are covered with louvered shutters to ensure peace and quiet in the Blue Spa at the swank Carlisle Bay in Antigua. “Guests occasionally find it hard to relax on a vacation,” said Bruce Lawrence, spa manager. “However, after a hot stone or deep tissue massage, relaxation is instant.” Stand-out treatments include the ‘Citrus Drench’, which hydrates the skin with Shea butter, honey and orange extract. Visit www.carlisle-bay.com.
At the pair of Ocean Club Resorts in Providenciales, Turks & Caicos, Spa Tropique delights with a myriad of massages either en-suite or inside the aptly named spa with its warm colors, aromatic scents and a jazzy soundtrack that is never too loud. “Foot massages are popular with folks coming from cold cities because walking on the beach in comfort is a priority,” smiles Patricia Amor De la Rosa, masseuse. Massages worth the splurge include the ‘Turks Island Salt Glow’ using sea salts from the flats of Salt Cay and a gentle ‘Eye Candy’ treatment that softens winter weary lines around the eyes. Visit www.spatropique.com
In St. Lucia, La Mer Spa at the Bay Gardens Beach Resort in Rodney Bay is a tranquil haven for rejuvenation, offering sports massages and full-body rubdowns for couples. “Feeling relaxed and gorgeous should be easy,” says managing director Joyce Destang. “We bring a full-service spa experience to a convenient setting on our hotel premises.” Visit www.baygardensresorts.com.
Your Inner Hedonist
An hour flies by under a steam dome as warm honey is rubbed all over the body at the Good Life Spa in the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort in St. Maarten. The ‘Salt and Honey Glow’ joins other regal treatments like the ‘Four Hand Massage’ where a pair of therapists performs a choreography of moves that will remind clients why they booked a vacation in the first place. Visit www.thegoodlifespa.com.
Also in St. Maarten, everything about it is exclusive from the marble floors to the bathrobes embossed with the Dior signature. The first and only Christian Dior spa in the Caribbean, The Dior Spa at The Cliff in Cupecoy Beach, excels with a power soak in a hydrotherapy tub where sea water, seaweed and more than two hundred jets melt tension into oblivion. Visit http://cliffsxm.com/spa.
Across the sea in Anguilla, the Wellness Center at Cap Juluca tempts with a ‘Green Tea and Ginger Sea Enzyme Wrap’ that relaxes to the tune of $205 for eighty minutes. Visit www.capjuluca.com.
Pampering is Paramount
The ‘Body Oasis’ at Janissa’s Spa at the Spice Island Beach Resort is Grenada’s ode to well-being. The all-day package, costing $610, includes treatments with the restorative powers of the island’s own nutmeg and the exfoliating prowess of seaweed. Visit www.spiceislandbeachresort.com.
The scent of lemongrass permeates the air at the Red Lane Spas at Sandals Resorts region-wide. Hot and cold plunge pools, eucalyptus saunas and perfumed garden sanctuaries complement a menu that includes a no-nonsense facial that uses vitamin-rich red oranges, grapefruit oil and seaweed, and massages like the ‘Wake up and Smell the Coffee’ that exfoliates the skin with coffee grounds, but won’t keep you up at night. Visit www.sandals.com
Centuries-old healing traditions are alive and well at the Fern Tree Spa at Half Moon Resort in Montego Bay. From a massage with heated sea shells, to a ‘Jamaican Bush Bath’ steeped in the local healing herb known as cerasee, the spa on the sandy crescent dotted with sweet-scented gardens is relaxation par excellence. Visit www.halfmoon.com.
Life is laced with languor at the open-air KiYara Spa at the Jamaica Inn in the cliffs of Cutlass Bay, outside Ocho Rios. Translating to ‘sacred place of the earth spirits’ in the language of the Taino Indians, treatments harness river-smoothed stones in the ‘Hot Stone Energy Balancing Massage’ and organic cocoa for a ‘Chocolate Indulgence’ rub that is good enough to eat and too good to miss. Visit www.jamaicainn.com.
Soaks in tubs filled with water from the Diamond Mineral Baths where Napoleon Bonaparte’s wife Josephine reportedly “took the cure” is the quintessential St. Lucian experience at the chic Ladera Resort. Visit www.ladera.com
Not Just for Girls Anymore
With fine finesse and nimble fingers, the 130 minute ‘Gentlemen’s Retreat’ for $349.00 at the Ritz-Carlton in Montego Bay is for the boys in the crowd and includes a massage, facial and round of golf on the 18-hole White Witch course. Visit www.ritzcarlton.com.
At the Willow Stream Spa at Bermuda’s Fairmont Southampton, the ‘Golf Performance’ massage is endorsed by world-class instructor David Leadbetter and pro Charles Howell III and combines massage, stretching and acupressure for increased balance and swing rotation on the fairway. Visit www.fairmont.com.
And for mommies-to-be, Breezes Resorts in Jamaica and Curaçao are selling a ‘Blue Mahoe Maternity’ package that includes a massage, facial, pedicure and unlimited pickles and ice cream at the resorts buffet tables. Visit www.breezes.com.