As the taxi winds its way around hairpin bends for what seems like an eternity, but in reality has just been over an hour, we are wondering whether we might have been better off picking a resort which was closer to the airport, or whether the helicopter transfer might have been a better idea…don’t get me wrong, roads on Saint Lucia are good quality, but they’re twisty around banana plantations and the natural rocky interior. Our driver realises we’re flagging a bit and tries to perk us up by letting us know that Castries, the island capital means that we’re not too far away from our destination.
Finally we drop down a hill amongst manicured gardens and reach the security post of the hotel, Saint Lucia’s The BodyHoliday. A hotel has never been a more welcome sight and the staff on hand to greet us promptly hand over recovery aids of mocktail and cold towel. With the tag line of ‘Give us your body for a week and we’ll give you back your mind’ this the THE place in the Caribbean which boasts not only a stunning location on a private beach, but four restaurants, an award winning spa and a range of health and fitness activities to keep even the most active person busy.
I’d booked here for celebration, well, rather an opportunity to ignore, my impending, large birthday. If it had to happen, I figured it might as well happen somewhere amazing. I’d had a good friend return time and time again and he had nothing but rave reviews. My best mate had also hankered a quiet desire to experience this resort, so emboldened I found myself lying on a sofa in the middle of a cold, dark January booking a week for much later in the year. Well, we all need something to look forward to!
The BodyHoliday is an all inclusive resort, which, in addition to the usual inclusive food and drinks, has the added attraction of including a wide range for fitness activities and a daily spa treatment. There are also a range of specialist activities and treatments that you can add on the top of a full body healthy, nutritional and fitness break. I was only planning on adding on a couple of half day diving trips.
We went in September, which is one of the resort’s theme months that they have scattered throughout the year. September is solo travellers month, which means that there are hosted evening dinners and activities, and more single or groups of travellers than at other points in the year. Evening activities included a pool party, white disco, beach bbq, hike and bubbles and live band. Hosted dinners are a great idea as you simply end up sharing a table with 7-9 other single travellers, some of who might have arrived that day or might have been there a few days.
Although this is a health and fitness resort, don’t misunderstand, this isn’t a total healthy eating, detox, dry resort. It is very much about doing as much or as little as you want and the same applies to what you eat and drink. There is wine available with lunch and of course, the clubhouse bar and piano bar are open for drinks throughout the day and night. There are four restaurants on site, ranging from the casual clubhouse to the more exclusive Tao.
Fitness activities are spread across the full site – from tai chi and golf at the top of the resort, to tennis, archery, and the fitness studio in the middle, down to the beach and watersports. There’s a fully equipped gym and fitness studio for classes too. There are BodyGuards who take every class so that even if you’re a complete beginner, you’ll never be left wondering what to do. Or in my case, rescued from being impaled on a sword by an over enthusiastic fencing participant!!
Not every activity is strenuous either. There are a range of holistic activities, including pilates, yoga, tai chi and stretch classes. For the fitness bunnies, you can start each day with a beach fit class (I preferred watching from the shade of the breakfast terrace, with pancakes and bacon in front of me), followed up by spin, tennis, aqua fit, fencing and sailing. For the beach lovers, there’s no one to tell you to get up if all you want to do is lounge by the pool or on the beach. Paddle board? Don’t mind if I do. Fresh towels and drinks, including fresh coconuts are available on the beach, and if you’re lucky enough to grab a floating ring in the sea, then drinks will even be swum out to you!
After a week, I can safely say that I’d just started relaxing and I didn’t want to leave. The staff are amazing – illustrated by the fact we were unlucky enough to catch the tail of a tropical storm (which turned into Hurricane Matthew and as a result all my diving was cancelled!). Rather than all leave, many staff chose to stay and make sure the guests were safe and ok that evening, sleep on sofas and floors and then also start work the following morning. A real credit to the resort.
The BodyHoliday is the perfect escape from the pressures and strains of modern life. The limited wifi is ideal and the range of options for things to do means that it caters for everyone. See you there next year?