Reducing stress and anxiety are very important to travelers in 2020 — that’s according to a recent survey that Virtuoso conducted among its advisors specializing in the growing wellness niche. The advisors named meditation and mindfulness as the top wellness travel activity and cited spiritual and mental wellness as significant emerging trends. So, if you’re looking for a wellness jaunt, consider these Caribbean spas.
The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa “promotes a total lifestyle approach that encompasses the entire person — body, mind and soul — in order to provide the most complete and beneficial services” for its guests. Case in point: The Hibiscus Spa is a big draw for travelers. The 7,000-square-foot facility has 13 treatment rooms, two steam and sauna rooms, a women’s whirlpool and Vichy showers.
The most requested treatment is the Ultimate Oxygen Facial, an infusion treatment designed to combat signs and symptoms of aging. The treatment uses hyperbaric oxygen to infuse a combination of antioxidant and hyaluronic acids into the skin, making it look healthier and younger than ever before. Tip: For the Ultimate Oxygen Facial, be sure to request Marie Myers; she is also the top choice for the HydraFacial and Seven Chakras Ritual.
Spa director Yarlin Faurer ([email protected]) says she is extremely proud of her team and that everyone is highly requested. The short list: Ask for Sharmin Durant or Marsha Williams for the Herbal Therapeutic Massage Ritual; Sonya Bryne for therapeutic and trigger points massages, such as the Sports Deep Tissue Massage; Susana Tellaroli or Loma Fisher for manis and pedis; Joanna Bond for acupuncture; and Deborah Charttersingh for the Relaxation Swedish Massage.
If you’re traveling with your special someone, consider the Heaven on Seven Mile, which includes a beach spa treatment and private gazebo dinner. The evening starts with a 60-minute couples massage on the beach in the spa cabana (a must-book, regardless of the occasion); afterwards, guests head to their private gazebo on the sand for a three-course dinner arranged by the resort’s Beach House restaurant — sparkling wine and personal butler included.
Other services include massages, body scrubs and wraps, manicures and pedicures, and waxing and tinting. Combination packages are also available, which can range from two to five hours. It’s recommended to book as early as possible for any treatment to secure the desired date and time.
For guests looking to keep active, the Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa can arrange for horseback riding, kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling or hikes in a nature trail.
As for accommodations, we would pick the Beachfront Lanai rooms. These king bedrooms are located on the ground floor and offer private patios with walk-out access to the beach. For families who prefer two queen beds, the Beachfront Lanai rooms offer this set up, as well. If you prefer more space, the One Bedroom Suite (780 square feet compared to 392 square feet for the Beachfront Lanais) is the way to go.
In December, the Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa unveiled the updated Tortuga Beach Grill & Bar. Following a $1 million kitchen renovation, the beachfront restaurant now offers an expanded daytime menu with more refined dining choices at night. Tip: Be sure to visit in the evening, as live acoustic music most nights accompanies the sunset. This month, Cayman Coffee Exchange will reopen having tripled in size. In addition to all-day, grab-and-go options for breakfast, sandwiches, salads and gelato, indoor and outdoor café seating is now available. The newest addition to the restaurant lineup will be the opening of Woto, the resort’s sushi, poke and sake restaurant.
For hotel reservations, travel advisors can reach reservation manager Katerina Iliaskou ([email protected]).
The Mandara Spa at Atlantis, Paradise Island is a 30,000-square-foot facility with 32 private treatment rooms.
Another option is the Mandara Spa at Atlantis, Paradise Island. The 30,000-square-foot spa has 32 private treatment rooms, two couple’s villas and two couple’s spa suites with private bathing amenities (yes, please!).
The most requested service is the Mandara Customized Massage (tailored specifically to the guests’ needs); however, Mandara Spa at Atlantis has just introduced its new Bahamian-inspired massages with ingredients and traditions indigenous to The Bahamas. Luxury Travel Advisor is told the resort has, in recent years, focused extensively on tying the guest experience back to the spirit of the country and authentic cultural traditions.
As for those new spa services, options include the Bahamas Botanical Massage (50 minutes), which uses a selection of native ingredients. Multiple options allow guests to personalize the treatment: One such option (Bahamian Lullaby) is designed to loosen muscles and “melt away tension and stress;” it uses soursop leaf, fevergrass and hibiscus. Island Zest, another option, uses peppermint and neem, and is an energizing formula, while Caribbean Calm reduces inflammation with sandalwood, grapefruit, rosemary and five-finger leaf.
The Bahamian Bush Bath (25 minutes) is a hydrotherapy treatment that uses soursop, feather leaf, cinnamon, orange, rose and essential oils to create a fragrant, fizzy, relaxing experience.
Good to know: The resort offers a selection of couple’s massages, ranging from 50 to 80 minutes.
Mandara Spa at Atlantis has a variety of seasoned service providers, all of whom have been with the resort for more than six years. They are: Samantha Munnings, Frederica McPhee, Delerese Maycock and Bridgette Barry (all dual); Ava Fowler and Allison Collie (massage); and Leanthe Gibson (esthetician).
Youlanda Deveaux ([email protected]) is the regional vice president of Mandara Spa and is based on-property at Atlantis, Paradise Island. Be sure to eserve your treatment when booking your hotel stay.
Among other parts of the resort, The Cove, the resort’s ultra-luxury tower, has recently been renovated. This 600-suite section of the resort is set between Cove and Paradise Beaches, which creates the feeling of being on your own private beach.
The Cove has its own open-air lobby, retail store, dining (including chef Jose Andres’ only Bahamas residence), an exclusive pool with lavish cabanas and more. Good to know: The spa has set up a special Mandara Spa at The Cove Pool Cabana menu for guests who want to book private massages and treatments at The Cove’s adults-only pool.
If you want the top-of-the-top, book one of the Penthouse Suites, which each occupy a single-story enclave overlooking the Caribbean. Features include vaulted ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides, two master bedrooms and baths, large parlors, separate dining rooms, full-service kitchens, guest powder rooms, executive offices and full media rooms. Guests booking these rooms receive pre-arrival concierge service, complimentary private transportation, in-suite check-in and 24-hour butler service.
Even the lowest room categories at The Cove (Ocean Suites) are impressive. These split-level accommodations range from 672 to 784 square feet and offer full or partial ocean views. Other amenities include French balconies, walk-in closets, and marble and granite bathrooms.
In addition to The Cove, Atlantis also renovated The Coral, The Beach and The Reef; however, the next best in terms of accommodations can be found at The Royal. These rooms have a more opulent décor than the rooms in The Cove, which have a contemporary look. For the best views at The Royal, book the Bridge Suite, which spans 4,740 square feet (topping the Penthouse Suites, which come in at 4,070 square feet). This suite has 10 rooms, including a 1,250-square-foot living room with a grand piano and twin entertainment centers, a dining room with a 22-karat gold chandelier and 12-foot ceilings; it also comes with a staff of seven butlers and attendants.
Travel advisors may contact Megan Prieto ([email protected]), director of leisure sales, with any enquiries.
Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort is set on the site of an 18th-century sugar plantation and has great views of the Pitons.
In Saint Lucia, travelers should consider Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort. While the Pitons, which surround the resort, beckon to the adventurous traveler, its setting (within more than 100 acres of rainforest on the site of an 18th-century sugar plantation) makes it worthy of a spa escape.
Here, the Rainforest Spa utilizes the nourishing ingredients of nearby volcanic springs and fertile cocoa plantations. Signature treatments include bamboo massages, hot rock therapies, facials, body wraps, salt scrubs, polishes and holistic treatments. There are six tree house treatment gazebos and three double treatment rooms with a hydrotherapy facility, as well as a manicure and pedicure room with a temazcal (an earthen, Amerindian steam dome), a beauty suite with a hairdressing salon and skin / facial treatment room, and an open-air gazebo suspended over running water at the base of Petit Piton.
Good to know: The spa uses all-natural ingredients such as bananas to firm, tighten and smooth away wrinkles; coconut to exfoliate; aloe vera to rejuvenate; and cocoa butter to heal and hydrate.
The Rainforest Ultimate Couples Experience is the most popular treatment; it includes an Organic Sea Salt and Raw Coconut Scrub, followed by a massage with local coconut oil and finishes with a facial. Afterwards — our favorite part — guests will enjoy lunch with a bottle of bubbly in the couple’s room and will have time to enjoy the private outdoor pool. The package is three hours, including lunch and poolside relaxation. Another signature and often-requested treatment is the Coconut Milk Healing Massage, a full body massage that uses locally made body butter that’s enriched with Vitamin E, which helps support the immune system and skin health (meaning it’s great if you get a little too much sun).
The two most requested therapists are Vernanka and Leah. Vernanka is a senior therapist who specializes in CACI treatments, and Leah is requested mainly for massages and manicure / pedicure services.
Be sure to book at least 21 days prior to arrival with Julie De Brito ([email protected]), director of spa.
All rooms at Sugar Beach have plunge pool, butler service (dedicated cellphone included), turndown service, an in-room iPad and more. Our favorite rooms are the Ocean View Grand Luxury Villas — these have the best views of the beach and Petit Piton, which you can take in from your terrace with a plunge pool. If you prefer to be beachside, we would opt for the Luxury Beachfront Bungalow. If it’s space you’re after, there is a selection of residences ranging from one to four bedrooms.
Don’t-miss events include Social Sundowns, held every Tuesday with cocktails; Champagne Sunset Cruises, available thrice weekly; Caribbean BBQ Night with live music each Friday and — if you’re looking for a livelier experience — Sugar Beats at Cane Bar, where a live DJ performs.
Karen Giordano ([email protected]), regional director of sales, can handle bookings.