This Caribbean resort can power the battery recharge we all desperately need

·7-min read
Yoga overlooking the beach at BodyHoliday (BodyHoliday/PA)
Yoga overlooking the beach at BodyHoliday (BodyHoliday/PA)

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. Think of it like the ultimate wellness playground you’ll never want to leave.

Not your average resort

It’s easy to be sniffy about all-inclusives, but BodyHoliday doesn’t feel like your regular resort where you’re fighting tooth and nail with other guests for space. It has just 155 rooms in total, which range 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 lazily watch fisherman bringing in the day’s catch.

If you’re looking to splash the cash and want to make like the wellness elite, check into one of BodyHoliday’s sprawling Junior Suites set 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.

A 360-degree wellness experience

One thing to know about BodyHoliday is that they focus 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. As such, you’ll find everything from a state-of-the-art, CrossFit-style gym, to a purpose-built ‘Ayurvedic’ pavilion in the wellness centre. (In case you’re not up on your wellness trends, Ayurveda is an ancient Indian healing system which promotes balance between the body and mind by using holistic practices.)

An Ayurvedic massage taking place at the wellness centre at BodyHoliday, St Lucia (BodyHoliday/PA)
An Ayurvedic massage taking place at the wellness centre at BodyHoliday, St Lucia (BodyHoliday/PA)

The all-inclusive rate generously 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. Their abhyanga massages are particularly fantastic – a therapist slathers your body in hot oil and massages any knots and tightness from tension areas.

There are additional treatments you can pay extra for too, including reiki, osteopathy, acupuncture, Thai massage and hypnotherapy, and on-site, 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 definitely one of the resort’s main draws, if like me, you hate having to do admin. Ahead of your stay, simply log-on to the BodyHoliday website and choose your treatments and activities. A handy tablet in each room shows your daily itinerary.

Yoga on the boardwalk at BodyHoliday resort, St. Lucia (BodyHoliday/PA)
Yoga on the boardwalk at BodyHoliday resort, St. Lucia (BodyHoliday/PA)

One of the more interesting offerings at the resort is the BodyScience clinic, a high-tech concept that uses 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, the in-house doctors use your results to suggest a bespoke health programme that’s 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.)

A feast for body and soul

If you’re on a total wellness cleanse, BodyHoliday can help 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 that’s marked with gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and Ayurvedic choices, so it’s easy to eat well throughout the day.

Thankfully, there are no calorie-controlled menus or punishing juice diets. One of my favourite spots was I-TAL, a farm-to-fork private dining experience that’s set in a wooden treehouse high up in the lush 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 their own food in the gardens and help to cook up their dishes under the tutelage of chef Julienne, but with Covid restrictions still in place, you simply need to turn up and tuck in.

Getting out and about

As well as blissed-out relaxation, you’ll want to roll up your sleeves and get involved in some adrenaline-pumping adventure too. All activities are included, meaning you can do as much or as little as you fancy and you won’t be stung with a hefty bill at the end of your stay.

There are fitness classes throughout the day, ranging from gentle sunrise yoga out on the hotel’s wooden jetty to high-intensity HIIT sessions in the gym. One thing to note is that the hotel has monthly ‘themes’. I was there in ‘Solo’ September where the classes were super interactive and designed to bring solo travellers together.

You can try your hand at land sports like archery, golf, tennis and cycling, as well as pool volleyball and aqua fitness. What’s great about BodyHoliday is that they make 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. Plus, 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 diving course.

St Lucia has some incredible dive sites; from reef dives to underwater wrecks. We spent a day enjoying a boat trip from the resort to a spectacular marine park at the base of the famous Piton mountains in the south, which is renowned for its tropical marine life, including parrot fish, trumpet fish, sergeant majors, Moray eels and sardines.

Journalist Liz Connor on a snorkelling trip to the Marine Park at the foot of the Piton Mountains (Liz Connor/PA)
Journalist Liz Connor on a snorkelling trip to the Marine Park at the foot of the Piton Mountains (Liz Connor/PA)

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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