- October 10, 2021
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This Caribbean resort can power the battery recharge we all desperately need, says Liz Connor
As far as A-list wellness resorts go, you won’t find a place to recharge your batteries more legendary than BodyHoliday (thebodyholiday.com).
The original St Lucian sanctuary has been bringing zen to its well-heeled clients for the past 30 years, playing host to celebrities like the late Amy Winehouse and Morgan Freeman.
Built into a secluded beach-fringed hillside near the popular Rodney Bay, the privately owned all-inclusive resort enjoys year-round sunshine. And with a world-class spa, golf academy and water sports centre on site, there’s an equal amount of adventure and indulgence to soothe stress.
BodyHoliday has just 155 rooms in total, from simple but comfort-friendly garden rooms, to luxury oceanfront views with squishy, king-sized beds and sweeping balcony views out to the Cariblue Bay, where you can watch fisherman bringing in the day’s catch.
If you’re looking to splash the cash, check into a sprawling Junior Suite in a split-level villa (there are three in total) further up the hillside. What you enjoy in privacy, you pay for in a thigh burn though: you’ll need to hike your way up a number of meandering wooden steps to get to and from the resort.
BodyHoliday focuses on treating guests using a blend of Eastern and Western philosophies. The Barnard family, who own the property, believe wellness has four pillars: diet, exercise, restorative beauty and relaxation. You’ll find everything from a state-of-the-art, CrossFit-style gym, to a purpose-built ‘Ayurvedic’ pavilion in the wellness centre. (Ayurveda is an ancient Indian healing system promoting balance between the body and mind using holistic practices.)
The all-inclusive rate includes a daily 50-minute spa treatment, so I started each morning with a soothing massage, facial, body scrub, body wrap or a hydrotherapy treatment.
Additional treatments include reiki, osteopathy, acupuncture, Thai massage and hypnotherapy. You’ll also find a specialised skin clinic with Skinceuticals and Thalgo treatments, nail, hair and make-up services, and an infra-red sauna.
The option to set your ideal holiday pace is one of the resort’s main draws. Ahead of your stay, log-on to the BodyHoliday website and choose your treatments and activities. A tablet in each room shows your daily itinerary.
One of the more interesting offerings is the BodyScience clinic, a high-tech concept using a combination of DNA testing, 3-D heart-mapping, iridology and Ayurvedic techniques to help you feel your best. Analysing an array of personal data and diagnostics, in-house doctors use your results to suggest a bespoke health programme tailored to your needs, whether that’s a specialised diet, nutritional supplements, body treatments, or meditation and yoga. (Prices start from about £2,060, additional to the price of a stay.)
If you’re on a total wellness cleanse, BodyHoliday can set you on the right path, with immunity shots and healthy salads available from the Wellness Cafe for lunch. The relaxed Cariblue restaurant has a virtuous à la carte dinner menu marked with gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and Ayurvedic choices.
One of my favourite spots was I-TAL, a farm-to-fork private dining experience set in a wooden treehouse up in the hillside jungle. I-tal is the name for the Rastafarian vegan diet, believed to improve energy and our connection to the universe. Usually, guests can forage for food in the gardens and help cook dishes under the tutelage of chef Julienne, but with Covid restrictions still in place, simply turn up and tuck in.
As well as blissed-out relaxation, you’ll want to roll up your sleeves and get involved in some adrenaline-pumping adventure. All activities are included, meaning you can do as much or as little as you fancy.
Fitness classes throughout the day range from gentle sunrise yoga on the hotel’s wooden jetty to high-intensity HIIT sessions in the gym.
Try your hand at land sports like archery, golf, tennis and cycling, as well as pool volleyball and aqua fitness. BodyHoliday makes use of the incredible beachside location with an ASA-accredited sailing club, where you can learn to sail, race and crew in the Caribbean sea. There’s also a PADI-certified scuba school. Each guest gets a complementary diving lesson, and for an extra cost, you can take a full course.
St Lucia has some incredible dive sites; from reef dives to underwater wrecks. We spent a day enjoying a boat trip to a spectacular marine park at the base of the famous Piton mountains in the south, renowned for tropical marine life, including parrot fish, trumpet fish, sergeant majors, Moray eels and sardines.
What’s truly great about BodyHoliday is the sense of community – it’s luxury without pretension. In a climate where one in six people take solo holidays, the resort is a safe, friendly and welcoming place to spread your wings and ‘find yourself’, meet other friendly people or simply enjoy some time away to reflect. With the Caribbean ocean lapping your toes, the sun beating down on your skin and no place to be except for a massage table or a beach lounger, it’s hard not to leave feeling restored.
How to plan your trip
Carib Tours (caribtours.co.uk) offers a seven-night all-inclusive trip at BodyHoliday (thebodyholiday.com) from £2,749 per person, including flights for London Gatwick on May 21, 2022.
For more information on the destination, visit stlucia.org
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