Why you should be hitting St Lucia’s BodyHoliday for a mind, body and soul reset

Coveting bleached beaches, serious wellness wins, and a feel-good dose of tropical heat? Meet BodyHoliday – the West Indies’ award-winning resort that delivers wellbeing, perfectly packaged
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  • Perched on the northern tip of St Lucia’s whitewashed sands and emerald-coloured coves, this community-focused, health-driven hideaway offers up one of the Caribbean’s most premium spa and wellness experiences, as well as lashings of sunshine and sporting activities. From waterskiing lessons and reformer Pilates, to acupuncture and archery, there really is something here for everyone – even if (like me) all-inclusives aren’t usually your bag.

    Why go? 

    After the past 18 months, there’s arguably never been a better time to book a little R&R in the sun – and BodyHoliday has literally been setting the wellness-holiday agenda for more than 30 years. Launched in 1988, the resort – now an 18-acre property boasting lush landscaping, ocean-front villas, five restaurants, and a world-class spa – is aimed at the wellbeing-conscious crowd that downward dog at sunrise and party at sunset. PT sessions here are scheduled around boat trips and there’s no pressure to ‘eat clean’ or rise at the crack of dawn for bootcamp on the beach. That said, you can if you want to – which is where the modern wellness sweet spot lies.

    The vibe

    Despite offering up a packed schedule of activities every day (think everything from sunrise yoga and aqua aerobics, to scuba-diving sessions and kitesurfing masterclasses), the vibe is decidedly laid-back and super-sociable. Sundowners on the beach are usually accompanied by a live soundtrack – be it a local saxophonist riffing off chilled house beats, or a steel-drum band encouraging you to see out sunset with a bang. Community is king here and actively encouraged, so expect lively dinners and a dance-fuelled club lounge after dark.

    BodyHoliday

    The rooms

    With six room options to choose from (standard garden view, luxury garden view, luxury ocean view, luxury ocean front, suites and villas), you can go big or opt for something more modest (some of the single garden view rooms, for example, don’t offer their own outdoor space). I lucked out with a luxury villa set high on the verdant hillside, which comes complete with a beach-facing balcony, uber-modern Japanese-style toilet (yes, you can preset, people), a luxurious four-poster bed, walk-through closet, REN bathroom toiletries, and a huge freestanding tub encased in a marble-clad bathroom. Travellers accustomed to staying in super-slick design hotels might find the beige palette a tad bland but, outside, the wash of turquoise, salty sea breeze and contemporary white daybed combo is anything but vanilla. To dial up its digital-detox vibes, rooms here don’t have televisions. The result? You don’t get bogged down with the usual CNN overload. Heaven.

    BodyHoliday

    The food

    Championing healthy fare and nutrition is intrinsic to the BodyHoliday brand and there’s even a dedicated Wellness Cafe beachside for all your green-smoothie whims. However, the standout experience for foodies is undoubtedly the resort’s newly launched I-TAL restaurant. Carved into the verdant fronds that crown Coubaril Valley, this modern-meets-rustic Rastafari-influenced dining spot serves up an all vegetarian menu by day and pescatarian plates by night. Local culinary genius Juliana heads up the kitchen and the vast majority of the ingredients are grown and picked in the fertile grounds surrounding the restaurant – guests can even get involved in foraging for them and helping to prepare the dishes. A seasonal, organic menu ensures the food here is always fresh, and if my watermelon gazpacho, grilled aubergine and mushroom main, tasty red snapper with crushed avocado, and creamy coconut yoghurt with mango dessert is anything to go by, you won’t be disappointed. Set amid the lush, tropical grounds, overlooking the ocean, the setting alone is worth the extra supplement guests pay to dine here, but it’s the natural ingredients and expert curation of dishes that really steals the show. Also worth checking out is the Tao restaurant, which serves up Asian-fusion bites and some seriously good sushi. 

    BodyHoliday

    The spa

    Prior to arrival, guests are invited to join BodyHoliday’s private platform so that they can begin to personalise their stay, but you’re also welcome to mix it up while you’re there, purchase additional treatments, or go next-level and pay extra for the BodyScience package – a fully bespoke, prescriptive health, wellbeing and fitness programme devised according to your unique diagnostics. If you decide you’re interested in the latter, you’ll be asked to fill out a lengthy questionnaire and invited to chat to the resort’s resident doctor via Zoom before arrival to help determine how best BodyHoliday can serve your health and wellbeing needs. All guests benefit from a complimentary wellness consultation on arrival though, so a customised experience to some degree comes as standard. Indeed, the slogan here is: give us your body for a week and we’ll give you back your mind – and the wellness centre is the beating heart of this operation. A vast set-up complete with aqua pools, fitness studios, a next-gen Skin Clinic, and light-flooded courtyards await, and every guest receives one treatment per day (excluding arrival and departure dates) as part of their package. 

    BodyHoliday

    Keen to still count orange wine as one of my five a day, I happily plump for a slumber-inducing Serenity massage, super-hydrating Thalgo facial and stress-busting reflexology treatment, but am unexpectedly impressed with the opening osteopathy appointment. Delivering a holistic approach (no alarming back cracking to be had here), Toulouse Institute of Osteopathy-trained Maite deftly assesses your needs and gently tackles areas of concerns for long-lasting relief. “I’m like a mechanic,” she tells me, while releasing years worth of built-up tension from my lower back. “Your car gets an MOT every year, so why wouldn’t you do the same for your body? It’s the most valuable vehicle you’ll ever own.” But she’s already preaching to the converted, and I swiftly book an oil-infused Abhyanga massage in Pavitra, the resort’s dedicated Ayurvedic Temple, before positively floating back to the pool and ordering a piña colada – because if there’s one thing BodyHoliday excels at, it’s delivering health and happiness.

    Book it

    BodyHoliday (thebodyholiday.com) stays start at approximately £285 per person per night, including daily spa treatment, meals, water sports, classes and activities; return flights with British Airways (britishairways.com) cost, on average, £556. Fit-to-Fly PCR tests – which are currently required for all visitors to St Lucia – can be ordered through Qured (qured.com) from £69. For further information on local excursions and how best to explore the island, look to the St Lucia Tourism Authority (stlucia.org) for up-to-date details.

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