The ‘wellness’ industry can feel like a pretty exclusive club – one that, unless you’re at the top of your mind, body and soul game, you’re not welcome to join.
But one resort in the Caribbean is determined to promote the exact opposite of that.
BodyHoliday, in St Lucia, is a wellness retreat that’s all about embracing all the areas of wellness – from fitness and self-care, to simply trying new experiences and enjoying life to the max.
It champions balance – in every aspect of the word.
Essentially, you can give or take as much as you want – whether that’s going hardcore on gym classes every day, or simply sitting on a beach reading and drinking piña coladas the entire time (yes, you really can just do that).
My five-day break at this spot was, quite frankly, the most relaxed I’ve felt in an incredibly long time.
In fact, as cliché as it sounds, it made me realise just how important looking after yourself is – not just from a smoothie-drinking and meditation perspective, but simply soaking up your surroundings, pushing yourself to try new things, and putting yourself first.
Familiar favourites and new acitivies to try
The all-inclusive resort means that practically everything is covered: activities, gym classes, food, daily spa treatments, and more. So you certainly won’t be short on things to do.
Every day welcomes a new jam-packed itinerary, with classes and activities every hour – and you can pick as much, or as little, as you want.
From spin classes, aqua fit, pilates and Zumba, to waterskiing, scuba diving, tennis and golf – you name it, it’s likely to be on the programme.
Beach bootcamp at sunrise is well-worth the early start, as the pay-off is those feel-good endorphins while soaking up the stunning St Lucia scenery.
And, while I’m someone who has always struggled to get on board with mindfulness and meditating, the cyclic meditation with Dr Ashwath taught me – very practically – how to calm my mind through movement.
I also took to the sea on water skis for the first time at a beginner’s activity session – very unsuccessfully, might I add.
Snorkelling trips are also available at the resort. My group jetted out to the island’s famous Pitons for our session in the sea, as well as a scenic boat ride around St Lucia.
Feel rejuvenated with a daily spa treatment
Every guest at BodyHoliday can enjoy a complimentary spa treatment every day of their stay, with a choice of body wraps, head massages, thalassotherapy and facials on the menu – so you can try something new, if you want to.
A Thai Yoga massage is just one of the options available and involves a professional contorting your body into various different positions to stretch muscles – and it will leave you feeling like putty in their hands.
During mine, I opened my eyes to discover the masseuse had climbed onto the bed with me, and was holding my leg at a 90-degree angle while pushing her foot into the very depths of my tense thighs. It certainly wasn’t the most relaxing treatment I’ve ever booked in for, but it was hands-down one of the best I’ve experienced for getting the pesky knots out of the nooks of my body.
A resort that caters for all tastes
We all know food can make or break a trip. And, you might assume that green juices, salads and superfoods dominate the menu at a wellness retreat – but BodyHoliday’s offering couldn’t be further from this.
Yes, these healthier and nutritious options are available every day – but they are not the exclusive focus. ‘Balance not abstinence’ is the hotel’s mantra when it comes to eating and drinking.
Cariblue is the hotel’s all-day restaurant with a whole host of breakfast and dinner options. For amazing sushi, Asian dishes and great wine, Tao is the hotel’s fine-dining restaurant – and don’t forget to try their aged rum selection.
Cariblue Windows is the spot for a bit more of an occasion, with tasting menus and wine pairings to see you through the evening, whereas the Wellness Café is the place to head for a rejuvenating daytime smoothie or sandwich.
However, my favourite dining spot was I-Tal – a farm-to-table dining experience located up in the hills, where the team make plant-based meals using produce from the hotel’s gardens.
Also, be sure to try the hotel’s signature Clubhouse Delight cocktail – you won’t regret it.
The resort boasts 155 rooms in total, each offering stunning views of either the garden or the ocean. A plunge bath featured in my Ocean View Room, as well as a gorgeous seascape of the bay from the balcony – which I enjoyed sitting out on with a coffee first thing in the morning and at sunset.
There’s limited Wi-Fi around the resort – the idea being that you switch off from reality. But you can tap into the outside world if you so wish to, in the comfort of your own room.
All in all, BodyHoliday throws traditional notions of ‘wellness retreats’ on their head.
It’s not about depriving yourself of treats or embarking on a week-long green juice cleanse, it hails balance and feeling mentally and physically recharged – whether that’s cocktails on the beach, a feel-good stretch class or a heavenly massage.
What more could you ask for really?
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