Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Working Vacation

Nearly every resort in the Caribbean has the words “beach” or “spa” in its name. Not St. Lucia’s The Body -Holiday, even though it has both a gorgeous beach and one of the best spas we’ve ever seen. It’s not that the resort is overly modest—it just knows its priorities: making you feel better about yourself, inside and out.


People talk about taking the “trip of a lifetime,” but a stay at The BodyHoliday can literally change your life, and how many resorts can legitimately say that? Honestly, you could make a typical Caribbean beach vacation out of a trip to this St. Lucia resort—the dining and drinks are also excellent—but that would be kind of missing the point. What makes the BodyHoliday special isn’t just that daily spa treatments are part of the resort’s all-inclusive package—although that’s pretty awesome—but that the resort offers an unmatched variety of wellness-enhancing programs, classes and services.


A typical day’s schedule is packed with activities ranging from vinyasa yoga, tai chi and aqua fitness classes to skill-building archery, swimming, and sailing lessons. If sports are your preferred path to wellness, you can join a volleyball game in or out of the pool, learn the fundamentals of cricket on the beach, or take part in a tennis tournament. The spectrum of activities is wide and varied, from the ease of a morning walk to nearby Pigeon Island, table tennis or a round of golf (also inclusive) to the chal-lenge of a one- or 2.5-kilometer ocean swim, a 6.5K run to Cotton Bay, or the resort’s unique Quadrathalon—a four-stage adventure that in-cludes a 10K mountain-bike ride, a 4K run, rappelling down a 100-foot cliff, and kayaking for 2.5K along the island’s north shore.


You can take it all at your own pace, of course, but the BodyHoliday is the kind of place that makes you want to push your limits. And while you don’t need to be an athlete when you arrive, you’re likely to feel more like one by the time you leave. That’s especially true if you go down during one of the resort’s Wellfit Families programs, week-long programs of-fered at no extra cost and led by world-class athletes like future NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss and Olympic sprinters, swimmers and rowers. True to the overall BodyHoliday vibe, our week spent with Moss was less about fanboy moments than learning about fitness from someone who spent years keeping his body in peak physical condition—and is still finely toned as a 40-year-old retiree.


The daily boot camp led by Moss was no day at the beach—entailing a mix of running through the sand, pushups, crunches and burpees—but the plunge into the surf at the end was exhilarating, and the week also offered plenty of opportunity for one-on-one time with a sports leg-end, including pickup football and volleyball games and a hike to the top of Gros Piton, one of St. Lucia’s postcard peaks.


Even if you’re not visiting with a world-class athlete, The BodyHoli-day will keep you active with all kinds of excursions, including a weekly sunset cruise, Land Rover adventure tours and a chartered private sail onboard the resort’s new X-Treme 26 racing sailboats (take out two and race a friend!). The resort’s “equine journey” lets you work on your emo-tional health by communicating with horses and painting temporary messages on the sides of your steed for the day.


If all this sounds a bit exhausting for a vacation, the resort’s spectacu-lar spa stands poised upon a hilltop overlooking Cariblu Beach, ready to soothe your sore muscles and clear your cluttered mind. A dozen treat-ments are included in the price of your BodyHoliday stay, including two types of Swedish massage, facials, wraps, aromatherapy and a body rub designed especially for mothers-to-be.


A true sanctuary, the Indian-inspired Wellness Centre has two floors of 33 treatment rooms, a hydrotherapy pool, a fitness center and a sepa-rate Ayurvedic Temple arrayed around a sunny courtyard. Once you climb the stairs to the spa you’ll be tempted to linger for hours despite the temptation of the beach below—the Wellness Centre has the most com-prehensive menu of services we’ve ever seen, and if you hang around for a while a therapist is likely to recruit you into trying something new, like the complementary bamboo massage we got on an outdoor table beside the pool one afternoon.


If you’re really serious about making a BodyHoliday trip a life-changer, the resort’s BodyScience program takes pre-trip planning to a whole other level with a comprehensive health and wellness assessment that begins be-fore you even leave home. Combining Eastern and Western philosophies, the program is supervised by the resort’s on-site medical staff and can be tailored to individual health needs, including stress-relief, physical fitness, digestive health and healthy aging.


The BodyHoliday has an entire wing of singles rooms for travelers who want to make the journey to self-improvement a solo trip, with no extra supplement charged. While the resort’s facilities are widely spaced around 32 acres of tropical grounds, guestrooms are mainly concentrated in a sin-gle building stretching along the north side of the beach, with easy access to the ocean, pool and dining areas. Oceanfront rooms feature standalone soaking tubs surrounded by gossamer curtains that let in the light from spacious balconies with views out to the Caribbean and Pigeon Island, a St. Lucian national park.


What you put into your body is also part of what you take out of a BodyHoliday vacation, and the resort makes it easy to support all that wellness work with healthy eating, including fruit and veggie smoothies at the beachfront deli, lots of grilled fish and locally sourced produce, and vegetarian entrées on every restaurant menu. Gluten-free, low-fat, low-carb, diabetic and Ayurvedic menus can also be custom-designed for the length of your stay.
That said, The BodyHoliday won’t hesitate to tempt you with in-dulgent desserts and a seven-course, wine-paired tasting menu at the Cariblue Windows restaurant: our savory nibbles of seared foie gras, sprinkled with sea salt and paired with a Tokaji dessert wine from Hun-gary, were pure heaven, but so were the refreshing (and far healthier) grilled watermelon and citrus kebabs served alongside a New Zealand sauvignon blanc from Tindall Vineyards—well worth the $85 upcharge for dinner.


And when it’s time to celebrate all that you’ve accomplished during your stay, you can choose a special bottle from the resort’s wine salon, or salute yourself with something rummy and fruity at the beach bar. Because the BodyHoliday isn’t about denying pleasure; it’s taking joy in building a healthier, happier you.