Tropical Spas to Put on Your Radar

Cayo Espanto’s Casa Manana is an oceanfront villa, with a private dock and pool, offering 180-degree wraparound view of the Caribbean.

We’ve rounded up three resorts in the tropics that offer luxurious spa treatments and the chance to get away from it all.

The Riviera Maya in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is a haven of all-inclusive resorts and luxury experiences, and in the heart of this vacation hotspot is the Grand Residences Riviera Cancun, located just 10 minutes from downtown Puerto Morelos. 

With the Grand Residences Riviera Cancun, the pampering starts at the international airport, where guests are greeted by a personal driver who escorts them to the resort. The ride is about a 30-minute drive and guests are handed a cool towel and water upon arrival.

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Once there, guests can relax at Grand Residences’ spa, which consists of two private rooms where customers enjoy treatments in total seclusion, including signature massages, body wraps and beauty treatments.

Good to know: Upon booking a stay, guests are sent a preference form that includes a section for spa amenity service requests. Guests are encouraged to book spa services in advance but are not required, as appointments can be made onsite. Jose Alberto Monzon Bejarano ([email protected]), the guest relations manager, is available for booking.

Tip: The Swedish Massage is the most popular treatment at the resort, and can be booked for 30, 60, or 90-minute sessions. This classic therapy is designed to help your body alleviate tension, boost blood circulation, stimulate the lymphatic system and improve quality of sleep, according to the resort.

Treatments with a tropical twist are also on the menu, such as the exotic Lomi-Lomi massage, which has roots in ancient Hawaiian healing practices.

After an indulgent day at the spa, guests can bunk in one of the resort’s expansive suites. The most luxurious stay at Grand Residences can be found in the four-bedroom Presidential Suite. The 8,762-square-foot penthouse accommodation includes its own private roof garden, swimming pool, Jacuzzi and grill outdoors with two master suites and two junior suites indoors. In all, the Presidential Suite can sleep up to 13 people.

The one-bedroom Master Suite with Private Pool is a worthy alternative if guests are looking for something smaller. This 3,134-square-foot accommodation still provides luxury touches, including a terrace with a private pool and Jacuzzi, fully equipped kitchen and a beachfront or ocean view.

Grand Residences Riviera Cancun located just 10 minutes from downtown Puerto Morelos, has 144 suites.

If a change of pace is wanted after a few days at the spa, Bejarano can book exclusive experiences that explore the surrounding area such as VIP Golf packages, a photographic safari to the jungle, Yacht rentals and fishing trips.

The resort has several restaurants and bars, along with en-suite dining options like a private dinner prepared by a personal chef. We recommend taking advantage of Grand Residences’ weekly culinary events, including French night at El Faro Grill, where Chef Yann Cozic taps into his French roots; or a meal under the stars during the Argentinian BBQ on the Beach held every Wednesday.

At Cayo Espanto in Belize, you can let the spa come to you. This four-acre private island resort near San Pedro offers a full menu of spa treatments that are brought to each guest in the comfort of their own private villa, from signature massages and facials to pedicures and couples packages. 

May we suggest the signature Mayan Coffee Scrub & Cocoa Wrap? This hour-long treatment is unique to Belize as it uses coffee from the Maya Mountains. The aromas of the coffee are used to awaken the senses while freshly ground coffee exfoliates the skin. Your body is then cocooned in raw cocoa, which is supposed to slow down the natural aging process and bring back a natural glow to your skin.

Spa services can be ordered on-site or ahead of time through the head concierge director, Erika Saldivar ([email protected]).

There are also several spa options for couples, one being the Couples Escape package. For women, this package includes a Coconut Ginger Glow sugar body polish treatment, a full-body Swedish Massage incorporating Swedish massage strokes, a facial and a Classic Pedicure. 

For the gentlemen, the Coconut Ginger Glow, a Swedish Massage, Men’s Facial and a Classic Pedicure are included. At the end of the treatment, a bottle of wine will be served along with a selection of cheese and fresh fruits. In all, the Couples Escape package lasts three and a half hours.

The Chocolate Affair package, another couples option, includes side-by-side Mayan Coffee scrub & Cocoa wrap treatments and Swedish Massages using organic cocoa oil followed by a Chocolate Mousse facial.

These treatments can be enjoyed in one of Cayo Espanto’s seven luxury villas, each providing aerial views of the surrounding ocean and a glimpse of the Belizean sunrises and sunsets. For over-the-top luxury, choose the 1,100-square-foot Casa Ventanas villa, considered the top accommodation at Cayo Espanto. This villa, which sits over the water at the end of a private dock, has a glass floor section that provides guests with an exclusive glimpse of the Caribbean Sea and the local marine life below.

The larger Casa Olita villa is also a popular choice and a favorite among repeat visitors, according to Cayo Espanto. The more than 1,500-square-foot villa provides a private dock, private plunge pool, walled gardens, and a private verandah with wrap-around views of the Caribbean.

For a signature Belize getaway, Saldivar can arrange special experiences such as snorkeling or Scuba diving excursions where guests are transported via private helicopter or yacht to the Great Blue Hole or Hol Chan Marine Reserve.

More relaxed excursions can also be arranged, including a private picnic for two on a deserted beach, or bird watching tours in the nearby islands of Cayo Rosario and Bird Caye.

To start this private island getaway, guests arrive at the Philip S W Goldson International Airport in Belize City and then catch a local flight to San Pedro in Ambergris Caye. From there, Cayo Espanto is a seven-minute boat ride away.

Guests can opt for a grander entrance with a private helicopter ride directly from BZE to Cayo Espanto without the need to transfer to San Pedro. The helicopter transport is approximately $1,200 one-way or $2,400 round-trip, plus tax, for up to four passengers.

The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Aruba has 13 treatment rooms; three relaxation areas for couples, ladies and gentlemen; a wet lounge; a spa boutique and a fitness center.

In the Southern Caribbean, The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba on Palm Beach tempts spa-goers with a myriad of wellness facilities. The 15,000-square-foot Ritz-Carlton Spa, Aruba has 13 treatment rooms; a Wet Lounge with a Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room; three Relaxation Areas — couples, ladies and gentlemen; and a fitness center with cardio and strength-training equipment.

The Divi Divi Massage is the standout treatment at the spa. This signature massage, created by the resort’s therapists, incorporates a variety of techniques and uses the oil derived from the resort’s very own Divi Divi tree to improve circulation, stimulate the metabolism, and regenerate the skin.

Note: The resort recommends that spa treatments be booked at least 48 hours in advance. Lia Wout ([email protected]), the spa assistant manager, is available to handle spa requests.

If guests are tying the knot during their stay at the Ritz-Carlton, Aruba, they can take advantage of special spa packages, including the Afternoon Tea Bachelorette Party. This experience treats the bridal party to treatments at the spa, followed by a tea party with a full menu of sandwiches, snacks and desserts along with classic afternoon cocktails. This special arrangement can be booked through the spa concierge team ([email protected]). 

Tip: For the most luxurious experience, book a stay in the Ritz-Carlton Suite. The 2,390-square-foot space includes a wraparound balcony with two sun beds and a hammock, outdoor shower facing the sea, outdoor dining table for four, and oceanfront views. This accommodation also grants exclusive Club Access, which includes access to the Club Lounge, complimentary food and beverage presentations every day and a dedicated concierge.

Guests can use their dedicated concierge to explore Aruba’s national parks, beaches, recreational activities and more. The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba can book diving excursions, deep sea fishing experiences, private UTV tours to Arikok National Park and famous landmarks, Catamaran excursions, private Jeep Safari tours, submarine tours, and kite surfing and windsurfing classes. Contact Millicent Alvarez ([email protected]), the front office manager, for more on booking these experiences.

Back at the resort, guests can cap off the night with a dinner at one of the Ritz-Carlton, Aruba’s gourmet dining outlets — BLT Steak, Casa Nonna New York, Solanio, Divi Sushi Bar and Lounge, and Madero Latin Grill. Tip: For the best seat in the house, ask for the Chef’s table at Casa Nonna New York or the outside seating in front of the fire at the Divi Sushi Bar & Lounge.

Note: Dining reservations should be made about three weeks prior to the guest arrival. Arrangements can be made through guest relations ([email protected]).

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