Revitalise body and soul at this stylish spa on sun-kissed St Lucia
As the weather turns distinctly nippier, it’s sadly all-too often the cue for our bodies to start piling on the pounds again. Here’s the perfect antidote, in a truly gorgeous setting: a chance to recharge those corporate batteries in the run-up to the festive season and see out the year fighting fit, in body and mind.
Set in an idyllic hideaway, on the exclusive north-west tip of St Lucia, The BodyHoliday is one of the Caribbean’s top destination spas. Renowned for a pioneering approach to health, fitness and relaxation, it’s one of the only spa resorts in the West Indies to include daily spa treatments, activities and water sports, making it the premier choice for those looking for a complete wellness programme in sun-drenched surroundings.
The property has recently received a £10m facelift – overseen by owner Craig Barnard – with the addition of a luxury penthouse complete with private hammam, colonial-style one-bedroom oceanfront suites, sleek beachside cocktail bar and restaurant, and a revamped state-of the-art gym.
Arriving at the resort’s vast Moorish-inspired Wellbeing Centre overseen by Craig’s partner Eve Barnard – previously a consultant to some of the world’s top spa destinations – it’s clear Barnard’s cosmetic wisdom has been fully utilised, with the introduction of à la mode treatments to the centre’s Skin Clinic, such as Caci Facials and Microdermabrasion. Meanwhile, the new Ayurvedic Centre (built using authentic materials specially shipped from India) offers treatments such as Meridian Healing, Chakra Cleansing and Spiritual Eye Gazing – and there’s an extensive range of daily yoga classes too, including Hatha, Ashtanga and Hot (Bikram).
Craig and Eve have a hands-on approach to all aspects of the resort, and take escapism and relaxation seriously: described as ‘sanctuaries’, the rooms are television-free to ensure minimal distraction from the stresses of everyday life.
All luxury rooms have huge mahogany four-poster beds and Kohler Body all-over jet showers, while guests are provided with light cotton robes to wander the resort to their treatments.
Over dinner at Cariblue Windows, the resort’s fine dining restaurant, Craig explains that part of the reason for his ‘total escapism concept’ is that a large percentage of returning guests are burnt-out execs arriving at the resort looking for a ‘life recharge’ – to escape from their stressed working lives. “They like the fact they can completely switch off here, and do as much or as little as they want.”
With this in mind, resident life coach Toby Maguire has introduced a Corporate Wellness Programme using techniques such as meditation and mind mapping to help achieve a work/ life balance. Before joining the resort Maguire spent more than a decade in Thailand working as a stress management consultant and meditation practitioner.
In recent years he has also trained in hypnotherapy, nutrition and studied for an MA in holistic wellness.
“There are a multitude of reasons why stress has become so prevalent over the last 30 years,” says Maguire, “but I think the main reason is modern technology. The internet and mobile phones have increased the length of the working day by more than 30 per cent and made it almost impossible for many people to ever ‘escape’ from the office. In addition, because of the continual bombardment of information that we are subjected to, most people have no idea who they are and what they want out of life. As a result they are easily manipulated into doing unfulfilling and often stressful work just to pay the bills at the end of every month. The result is a large increase in stress and stress-related illness, such as depression, anxiety, insomnia and physical burnout.”
One of the key elements of the course is mind mapping “Mind mapping is excellent to help people clearly examine their thoughts about issues they would like to address,” says Maguire. “It is not only a useful tool to generate ideas, but it can also allow us to understand any challenges we are experiencing and formulate ideas or solutions on how best to deal with them.”
The exercise involves writing down the things you ideally want from life as well as any problems or worries, and branching them out into different areas, allowing you to analyse with more clarity and work through each issue logically without the emotions that interfere when you’re just thinking about them.
Aside from its stress- management, the resort offers a wide range of programmes including bespoke fitness and weight management or guests can just choose to relax and take advantage of the daily inclusive spa treatments and cocktails.
“Give us your body for a week and we’ll give you back your mind,” is The BodyHoliday’s motto. As bargains go, it sounds like a terrifically good deal to us.
Virgin Atlantic and British Airways fly several times
a week to St Lucia from Gatwick. The BodyHoliday resort is located a
90-minute drive from Hewanorra International airport. Flight prices
start from £684 return.
Or book flights through WEXAS Travel www.iod.com/traveloffers or call 020 7838 5976
Rates start from £413 per person per night (based on double occupancy). This is all-inclusive, including daily spa treatments (excluding arrival and departure days).