Tell your female clients to get their tushies off those poolside chaise longues, take a rain check on the acai berry martini, and get ready to rise with the sun. These Caribbean resorts have a new spin on the old R&R—it’s time to “rejuvenate and restore” the mind, body and soul.
There’s no doubt that wellness retreats—specifically women wellness retreats—are fast becoming a niche to delve into for travel agents, because, as Nancy Atzenweiler, guest services/boot camp director for the Jungle Bay Resort & Spa in Dominica, says, “People are more health conscious and want to incorporate health into their vacation. People realize that living a healthy life means exercising, staying fit and eating healthy. Not everybody takes their time during their day-to-day life to do this and therefore are looking for a great place during their vacation to ‘get started.’”
And girlfriends especially, she says, like to get away together to begin this journey. “A lot of people, especially women, like to motivate themselves to work out without being distracted (by men). Lots of women like to take a break from the family and travel with a friend.” Here are a few places to do just that.
Setting: Chic luxury. Carlisle Bay (866-502-2855; carlisle-bay.com) is completely embraced by Mother Nature’s finest creations. Located on Antigua’s south coast, it offers a breathtaking beach in its front yard and lush rainforest-covered hills in its backyard. Here, the 82 suites feature dark wood, white linen and lots of clean, open spaces, inviting—no, demanding—that the gorgeous surroundings come in and take a seat up front and center. “Carlisle Bay is a great fit for girlfriend getaways,” says Jonathan Reynolds, the hotel’s general manager, “because of its all-suite layout, pristine location, 17,000-sq.-ft. Blue Spa and the number of fitness and wellness programs available.”
Retreat: The Bolt-on package, which guests can add to their booking to fully experience the resort’s tennis offerings—whether clients are looking to perfect their technique or just want to try out a new sport. Clients who are curious about tennis should opt for the Tennis Taster, which includes three 1-hour coaching sessions; one 30-minute drills session; and one 30-minute back, neck and shoulder massage. For those who are looking to perfect their game on the court, there’s the Tennis Week, with five 1-hour coaching sessions; one 30-minute drills session; one cardio tennis session; and one 50-minute deep-tissue massage. “Carlisle Bay offers numerous outdoor activities that allow guests to stay fit in fun, nontraditional ways,” says Reynolds. “Additionally, a guest that is not an avid tennis player would experience even greater fitness benefits from the resort’s tennis program for beginners, as the activities would offer completely new physical challenges.”
Fun & Games: Hike the tropical jungle; grab a Hobie cat and sail off; go windsurfing, snorkeling or take a boat excursion; kayak through the mangrove that’s behind the hotel; indulge at one of the three restaurants or bars, with drinks like Carlisle’s Sunset and Velvet Sand; take in a movie at the private screening movie or curl up with a book in the elegant library.
Who: Someone looking “to be stimulated and challenged by new experiences,” says Reynolds.
Book It: Packages include all of the aforementioned as well as a commemorative Carlisle Bay tennis cap and unlimited use of tennis courts. The Taster is $210 pp, while the Week is $350 pp. Spring and summer accommodation rates, through Aug. 24, start at $635. V.C. Bird International Airport, located on the northeast corner of Antigua, is the point of entry for visitors arriving by air to Antigua & Barbuda. Air Canada, American Airlines, Caribbean Airlines, Delta Air Lines and US Airways offer direct and/or nonstop flights from North America.
Setting: Rustic luxury. Jungle Bay Resort & Spa (junglebaydominica.com), located on Dominica’s east coast, is pristine and remote, set on 55 acres of jungle surrounded by the Morne Trois Piton National Park, a World Heritage Site, and rising from a seaside cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Here, 35 tropical hardwood cottages, elevated on wooden posts, are nestled amidst cedar, gomier and galba trees, and a spring-fed stream cascades along the valley below. The accommodations are private with outdoor showers and hammocks overlooking the forest and ocean. “Dominica is a year-round travel destination,” says Atzenweiler, “that offers a tremendous array of world-class natural features, including unlimited hiking trails.”