September 23, 2020

Weird and Wonderful: The Caribbean’s most unusual spas


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What better place for an out-of-body experience than in a tropical paradise? Indulge Spa at Galley Bay Resort Antigua is in the resort's garden.  Elite Island ResortsBy Steve Blount From US Today

The point of a vacation is to relieve stress — if it can be relieved to the point of blissful semi-consciousness, that’s even better. Great spa treatments aim to put you in that zone where you’re not sure if you’re awake, but you are sure that you feel really, really good. spas are eager to help get you there. Sure, you can get a mani/pedi, facial, shiatsu or hot stone, but why be ordinary? spa directors are incorporating local lore and botanicals into new and unique regimens to rejuvenate and relax you. From shaman-inspired rituals on the Riviera Maya to volcanic mud baths, here are some of the most unusual.

Treetop Treatment | Antigua

What better place for an out-of-body experience than in a tropical paradise? Indulge Spa at Galley Bay Resort Antigua is in the resort’s garden. The elevated, open-air treatment rooms overlook the central lagoon and 40-acre wildlife sanctuary, so you get the natural sounds of birds and water instead of machine-generated white noise.

The Mango-Passion Fruit Yoghurt Exfoliation & Wrap is a two-step treatment designed to refresh, smooth and nourish your skin. If mango isn’t up your alley, you may want to opt for the Papaya-Pineapple Crème Fraîche Exfoliation & Wrap. Another two-step treatment, this one starts by applying the natural protein-softening agents from papaya and pineapple followed by a wrap of crème fraîche enriched with Vitamin A and pomegranate extract.

We’re not sure if you’re allowed to lick yourself clean afterwards or if you’re supposed to shower, but we’re pretty sure you’re going to come away really relaxed and smelling like a smoothie. Info:

Mud Mas Body Wrap | Trinidad

Trinidad has the region’s longest — and likely its most outrageous — Carnival. at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad has taken on the the task of helping revelers recuperate and is now offering Carnival-inspired treatments year round.

If your body has taken a beating for whatever reason, you’re due for a Mud Mas Body Wrap. One of the Trinidad Carnival theme parades is Mud Mas, in which the participants cover themselves (barely) in old clothes, slather on some mud and then party until dawn. The theory, presumably, is that at least they won’t mess up anything when they find themselves unconscious on the ground after too much Angostura rum.

Spa Esencia takes the Mud Mas in a different direction, using it to soothe. The mud is made from a blend of seaweed and alpha hydroxy, producing a powerful (and appealing) aroma designed to invigorate and detox. Info:

24-Karat Gold Massage |

The Remède Spa at the St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort in northeastern Puerto Rico has reached way back in history for its signature Queen Loiza’s Royal Treatment.

The regimen is named for a legendary woman cacíque, or chief, of the Taíno Amerindians who inhabited Puerto Rico before the Europeans dropped by to pillage and plunder. Although defeated by the Spanish, the Taíno kept fighting back and, according to myth, Queen Loiza was one of the leaders of the resistance.

The Royal Treatment starts with a scrub using golden sugar, followed by a Vichy shower massage to reduce the appearance of cellulite — which is very un-royal — and concludes with a 24-karat gold shimmer oil massage. Info:

Sweating with the Shaman | Mexico

The Spa Grand Sirenis at the Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya hunted through historic traditions to revive a ritual that pre-dates the arrival of Europeans.

While many visitors believe the area’s indigenous Maya people are extinct, in fact, the Maya — some 7 million of them in Mexico and Central America — are very much alive. So are their language and traditions. One of these has been incorporated by the spa. The Temazcal treatment is similar to the sweat lodge ceremonies used by North American Amerindians, using heat, herbs and ritual to cleanse and rejuvenate. The treatment is performed by a shaman inside of a large, heated dome. Spa-goers enter the dome and lie near a pit filled with hot stones as the shaman uses heat, aromatherapy, steam and ancient chants to cleanse the body and the mind. Info:

Java Rejuvenation | Costa Rica

Everybody’s favorite pick-me-up is the focus of the Kuo Spa’s Coffee Plantation Treatments by Moonlight. The spa is located at the Costa Rica Marriott, which occupies a former coffee plantation near Heredia a few miles east of the capital, San Jose. Coffee has been an important cash crop in Costa Rica since the magic beans were first planted there in the 1700s.

At nightfall, participants are taken to a 30-acre copse filled with coffee trees. There, they choose from a menu of treatments using coffee beans from the resort’s own plants and volcanic ash from the nearby mountains.

Surrounded by candlelight and nightfall, the experience finishes with a glass of wine, chocolate covered strawberries and a scented hydrotherapy treatment in the spa’s outdoor jacuzzi. Info:

Say Yes to Noni | Vieques

Natural health advocates have been high on the juice of the noni fruit for decades, suggesting it as a drink. At Away Spa at the W Resort on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques, they’ve incorporated the noni — which grows naturally in Puerto Rico — into their treatments.

Of particular interest is the Nourish Wrap, designed for those who’ve had a little too much fun on the island’s beaches and come away with a sunburn.

The wrap includes aloe — well known for easing sunburn pain — green tea, antioxidants and local noni fruit to reduce the pain and inflammation of overexposure. Info:

Treatments Under the Volcano | St. Lucia

Soufriére Hills on St. Lucia is famous for being the Caribbean’s only “drive-in volcano.” Though it shares a name with the extremely active volcano on nearby Montserrat, St. Lucia’s high hill does little more than steam and spit out sulphur, having last erupted about 400 CE.

Real St. does take visitors out among the belching fumaroles, but its most unique offering is the Volcano Night Bash. The heavily mineralized water boiling up out of the volcano is credited by locals with healing powers and removing age spots. For the Night Bash, Real St. takes small groups up to a pool of hot mud for a slather-and-bake, then over to a pool of water for a rinse, and then an outdoor shower for a final cleanse.

There are plenty of spas that offer mud wraps, but this is the only one we know of that lets you get the mud directly from the source. Info:

Float in the Healing Waters | Anguilla

The object of most spa treatments is to induce a feeling of well-being, of lightness and health. The Venus Spa at CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa on Anguilla has taken that a step further, with spa treatments that are done literally while you are floating.

The spa’s Healing Waters pool is loaded with salt and minerals; so much so that you float effortlessly on the surface of the water. It’s also kept at body temperature so you expend no energy staying warm.

You can just soak in the pool or combine it with other treatments. The Anguillan Water Journey incorporates a sea salt exfoliation, Vichy shower and finally a thorough massage performed while you’re floating in the pool. Info:

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