Give us your body
RiverTriber Nicola Hill has visited some extraordinary spas and
wellbeing resorts in her role as a top well-being writer and former Health Editor of Sky News but finds the Body Holiday
tops them all.
Keren Lubin is a jazz singer, the only classically trained one on St. Lucia and I was lucky to have a private performance when she sang her rendition of a Billie Holiday classic, ‘These Foolish Things’.
I was literally a captive audience, lying as I was, semi-naked on a white couch while she massaged my legs.
As hedonistic experiences go, this was hard to beat. I love my home by the Thames, but after a stressful spell of work what I really needed was a Caribbean beach and brainspace.
Keren had gone to New York to further her music career, but after discovering she was pregnant, came home to St. Lucia and retrained as a massage therapist, realizing that pummeling rather than performing was a better fit for family life.
A serenaded massage was not the only unusual experience of my holiday; another day found me being gently cradled by a stranger in swimming trunks, who spent half an hour maneuvering me around in the water of a thalassotherapy pool. John Hopkins may have looked like an ageing hippie, but his Watsu treatment was without a doubt one of the most relaxing therapies I have ever experienced. Based on Shiatsu (a Japanese form of massage done while you are fully clothed), this treatment meant my body was gently twisted and turned to release tension.
John’s competence was mirrored by Edwin, who taught Tai Chi three mornings a week. The slow, repetitive movements made in the early morning sun are described as a moving meditation. Jet lag meant getting up at 6am for such an early class was easy. On other mornings there was yoga, or if I felt more energetic, a walk or cycle to Pigeon Point, where the French and English fought for St. Lucia in the 1780s.
These were just some of the exercise options offered by The Body Holiday, an upmarket, all-inclusive resort that says “give us your body for a week and we’ll give you back your mind”. From 7am to 6pm there are a wide variety of events and classes to attend ranging from archery, tennis and sailing to pole-dancing. Yes, pole-dancing.
Most of the guests are British, with some visitors from Canada, Germany, France and other Caribbean islands. I bumped into several people who live on our stretch of the Thames.
What makes the resort unusual is that it caters well for single people, offering garden rooms with no extra supplement, and a nightly cocktail and dinner table hosted by one of the Body Guards - sadly not Kevin Costner - but one of the instructors who could dance all night and still run a beach boot camp class early the next morning.
Tourism is one of the main industries on St. Lucia - the other being banana farming - and the islanders who work at the Body Holiday seemed genuinely happy to have their jobs, especially as perks include funding university degrees in Tourism for their children.
I have to admit I saw little of St. Lucia. The two hour transfer from the airport in the south of the island showed me part of the rain forest. And a trip to the famous Pitons, the mountainous volcanic plugs, meant I was able to see Dr. Doolittle’s Bay, named after the movie which was shot there.
I don’t scuba dive, but snorkeling at the Anse Chastanet Reef, an hour’s boat-ride away, allowed me to have my own Finding Nemo moment, swimming with an amazing variety of fish including the appropriately named Sergeant Majors.
I quickly established a routine on this holiday: exercise in the morning, lunch, a treatment in the afternoon then sunbathing and reading before afternoon tea with a gang of new friends.
A quick visit to my room to change and then it was cocktails, dinner at one of the three main restaurants, the Asian Tao being my favourite, and then to the bar for live music - including the St. Lucia Police Band. After that it was back to the bar and a fabulous pianist, who played requests. Whether I joined in remains a secret, as does the identity of a certain well-known former cricketer with whom I found myself doing Aquafit.
Nicola Hill @ncmediatv www.ncmedia.org.uk