The renovated spa at Regent Palms Turks & Caicos serves up an irresistible Caribbean cocktail of indigenous treatments
The Spa at Regent Palms Turks & Caicos gives the beach a run for its money—and that’s saying a lot, considering the resort is set on postcard-perfect Grace Bay, famous for its white sand and intensely turquoise-blue water.
Refreshed and relaunched last March, the Spa offers a natural sanctuary with serene Asian-inspired reflecting pools and palms that rustle sleepily in the tropical breeze. It’s a time-out zone for grownups in an indoor/outdoor setting that won’t let you forget for a minute that you’re in an island paradise.
The East-Meets-West spa centerpiece is the shaded, open-air lounge area that allows you to recline and contemplate the reflecting pool’s still waters or close a curtain for a post-massage nap. Treatment rooms are alive with natural elements, including fountains by day and fire torches by night. For those who want to truly revel in the open air, there’s the option of a private shower outdoors beneath fragrant frangipani trees.
A Caribbean Asian Blend
As part of the 25,000-square-foot Regent Spa relaunch, spa director Stephanie Rest assessed its treatment menu, keeping old favorites and introducing new ones that include natural skincare lines by Sothys and Zents. The result is a unique spa menu that incorporates wellness and beauty traditions from both Asia and the Caribbean, including the signature Zareeba experience, an indigenous island detoxifying ritual. Guests enter a wood-framed sauna-like chamber called a zareeba, meaning “protected enclosure,” where a steaming-hot pot of fresh-brewed therapeutic herbs, concocted by an experienced Caribbean herbalist, awaits. In privacy—or with a partner or friend—guests inhale steam from this exotic stew, using a wooden wand to stir the leaves of dogwood, ginger, rosemary, allspice, eucalyptus and lemon. The herbal steam—followed by a 50-minute lymphatic drainage massage— allows the entire body to purify and come into balance, making the Zareeba journey the perfect antidote for stress, jet lag or skin issues.
Another treatment that draws from Caribbean culture is the Mother of Pearl Conch Polish, which uses local conch shell to gently exfoliate skin. In the Turks and Caicos islands, conch is farmed and harvested in abundance for its delicious meat. What better use for the shells than to hand-crush them, mix the granules with aloe and pure aromatherapy oils, and use it as a scrub for revitalizing the skin?
Included in the Eastern–inspired treatments are Thai and Balinese body work; a massage that uses lengths of bamboo to release tight muscles; and the Pearl and Water Lily Passage, which combines a full-body massage using gold-infused body oil with a luxurious facial.
Spa from Sunrise to Sunset
The Regent Spa indulges guests with a full dawn-to-dusk experience for the ultimate escape—or simply as a way to bring mindfulness to any activity, like sunrise yoga on the beach. For lunch, the spa features fresh, healthy food that complements the fresh ingredients found on the spa treatment menu. Wahoo Tataki with Mango Salsa and Chilled Watermelon Soup are among the creative, flavorful dishes from executive chef Eric Venice’s kitchen. Fans of the spa’s cuisine can request a cooking class with the chef and sommelier to learn how to re-create this light, organic fare at home. End-of-day contemplation brings the spa experience full circle. The Spa at the Regent Palms invites guests to take part in a Thai-style sunset ceremony that involves setting an intention or simply expressing gratitude for a day of perfect relaxation and self-care. After a few moments of silent reflection, guests write their intention, place it in a candlelit paper lantern and set it afloat in the spa reflecting pool. The memory of that lantern drifting away will always be a reminder of this serene spa in tropical paradise. Spa at Regent Palms Turks & Caicos: www.regenthotels.com/EN/Palms
– By Laurel Kallenbach
Get ready to be seduced by the low-key glamour of this hideaway spa in Baie Longue, St. Martin
Escape to La Samanna, the newly renovated hideaway on the crescent-shaped, white-sand shoreline of Baie Longue. The Orient Express property stretches across 55 acres of the more subdued French side of the island of St. Martin.
The two-story, stucco resort and spa surrounded by tropical blooms and Balinese-crafted cabanas reopened in November. Guest rooms were refurbished in a blue and white seafaring motif with white travertine floors, marble bathrooms, ceiling showers, shabby-chic style couches, ocean-view terraces and butler service throughout. How about a private plunge pool in your suite to pair with a nice chilled Sancerre from the resort’s 12,000-bottle wine cellar?
While the glam-factor at La Samanna is off the charts, a low-key vibe permeates the property; it’s no wonder that Jackie O, Oprah and Salma Hayek have all enjoyed the resort’s enveloping sense of calm. Guests at La Samanna also have the option of staying in one of eight 4,600-square-foot villas with wrap-around swimming pools. Adding to the opulence is butler service, a colonial bar, French restaurant, two freshwater pools, three tennis courts, kayaking, sailing, horseback-riding, beachfront yoga and Pilates.
And for a dose of pampering as only the French know how, saunter across the grounds to La Samanna’s lovely Europeanstyle spa. The spa offers a range of treatments (including a small children’s menu) using the edelweiss-based Pure Altitude bio-organic line as well as Ligne St Barth’s, a line of all-natural products from St. Martin’s island neighbor, which mixes Caribbean botanicals from French recipes. For a real treat, request spa director Martine Sauveur as your treatment therapist and book the spa’s “Pre-Sun Treatment,” designed to prep you for a few days in the strong St. Martin sun.
The treatment starts with a soft scrub of the face and body followed by a massage with Ligne St Barth’s signature Roucou Oil. Roucou Oil is a tanning oil made from the rare Roucou tree’s merlot-colored seeds, which are meant to stimulate melanin production and were purportedly used by the Caribbean’s indigenous Arawak people to ward off the effects of tropical sun, mosquitoes and salt water. After application, the face is hydrated with a nutrient-rich lotion from Pure Altitude, chosen by Sauveur based on skin type. C’est magnifique! www.lasamanna.com.
-By Kristan Schiller
THE BODY HOLIDAY RESORT
At this lively wellness retreat in St. Lucia, guests can enjoy organic dining, holistic spa treatments, personalized programs and fun!
“Give us your body for a week and we’ll give you back your mind,” asserts the tagline for this all-inclusive St. Lucia wellness retreat, but we’d have to disagree—it actually only takes a couple of days here to start feeling human again. The credit goes to the resort’s commitment to letting guests tailor their experience to suit their needs and decide the intensity and focus of their stays. And, while this is a spot known for its multi-day health, fitness and spa programs, it also features gourmet food, wine tasting classes, upscale rooms, plenty of romance (kids are only allowed at certain times of the year), nightly live music, and even a boozy, weekly “party cruise”—making the vibe much more fun than fanatic.
Set on a private bay in the Castries section of the island, the family-owned BodyHoliday underwent a $20 million renovation in 2011, which involved everything from refreshing the 154 guest rooms to the addition of an infinity-edged pool and new dining spots (all offer healthy options and feature organic and locally grown ingredients).
Improvements were made to the Spa and Wellness Center, too, which perches on a cliff above the main resort. (Think of the steep walk up as a warm-up to your workout.) Past a grand entrance built with Jerusalem stone and mosaics, the complex now features a sleek, upgraded Skin Clinic, where guests go for facials and skin services. In the beautiful Ayurveda section, decorated with imported carved-wooden doors and windows, an Ayurvedic master from India consults with guests and creates customized treatment programs, while therapists perform authentic services like two-handed Abhyanga massages and detoxifying Udvartana scrub/ massage/wraps, all using potent herbal mixtures and oils. Holistic treatments like acupuncture, cupping, Reiki, life coaching and osteopath sessions are also available, along with targeted services like body sculpting, cellulite flushing and sleep restoration.
Fitness offerings include an expanded gym, tree-top spinning studio (with glass walls and sea views) and a beachside watersports center, along with regular classes in everything from yoga, Pilates and Zumba to archery and even fencing.
Guests coming specifically for a wellness trip are encouraged to work with Emilie, the resort’s personalized wellness specialist, to put together an individualized program prior to their arrival. Via email or phone, Emilie will help build an itinerary of treatments based on your goals and needs; guests can also check out suggested itineraries online for weight loss, stress management, detox and other issues. (Guests can choose from different rate packages with the all-inclusive programs including a certain number of basic spa services per day, along with group classes, a personal trainer consult, most meals, mini-bar and some alcohol; additional and specialized spa services and some dining outlets incur an extra fee.)
The resort also hosts themed weeks, from yoga and Zumba retreats to the popular Well Fit fitness camp, which was designed by two-time Olympic gold medalist Daley Thompson. Ultimately, though, it’s all about you here: We saw some guests fill up their days with back-to-back classes, others hang out on the beach with a drink, and plenty taking things at their own pace—which is really the best holiday for the body, and the mind. thebodyholiday.com
-By Sandra Ramani