A salubrious guide to Caribbean Wellness Weeks because many travelers now realize that staying healthy on a vacation refreshes them more than a week of tanning and margaritas, so in turn resorts are upping the wellness ante with retreats and packages. “These programs offer our wellness-minded clients the ability to merge two very important parts of their lifestyle, travel and wellbeing, in a way that brings out the best of who they are,” says Virgi Schiffino, founder of Lux Voyage, a boutique travel concierge. Beyond that common goal, though, Schiffino sees real differences among various wellness weeks and the resorts that host them. “There is a market for everyone, but as travel advisors, we really need to understand the different wellness products and how each matches up with a client’s travel and wellness priorities.”
What follows is not a complete list of wellness programs in the islands; it’s only(!) a guide to some of the best.
Blue Waters Resort & Spa, Antigua
Every year from May through October Blue Waters’ Living Retreat offers private and group sessions in yoga, meditation, Pilates, strength and conditioning, functional training, and healthy eating. The goals are stress management, better sleep, weight management, muscle tone, rehabilitation and improved posture. Living Retreat dining options are offered in the property’s restaurants. Rates start at about $260 dbl, or $1,800 a week, plus $85 pp a day for the Living Retreat program ($1,020 for two for six days). For more information, contact bluewaters.net/living-retreats.
BodyHoliday, St. Lucia
Almost every month this adults-only, all-inclusive wellness pioneer offers a themed retreat and workshops. For example, Oct. 1-29 will be Octoba Yoga, during which instructors such as yogic master Doug Swenson teach various kinds of yoga and meditation at every level. Yogic foods and spa treatments will be available, too. Oct. 29-Nov. 19 is WellFit and SwimFit, led by Olympians David Carey and Keri-Anne Payne. The Pre-Christmas Restorative Break, Dec. 3-23—actually a preparatory break to help guests cope with the demands of the holidays and life itself—features Olympic hurdler Colin Jackson and diver Leon Taylor. As always at this resort that just made Tatler’s list of the top eight spas in the world, healthy food options, multiple fitness and sports activities, and a daily spa treatment are complimentary. October rates start at $402 pp if booked before midnight July 11; after July 11, October rates start at $425 pp. For more information, contact thebodyholiday.com/ or spa.inrs.com/forms/login.php.
eXtreme Hotel Cabarete, Dominican Republic
This wellness-eco lodge on the booming north coast offers yoga, fitness, bootcamp, and weightloss packages. For example, eXtreme’s Fitness Camp includes seven nights at the hotel, daily farm-to-table breakfasts and dinners, twice-daily fitness classes, use of the gym and yoga facility, and river tubing. Prices start at about $1,480 per couple. Popular add-ons include surfing, kite-surfing, and trapeze lessons. For more information, visit extremehotels.com or cabaretefitnesscamp.com/the-camps.
“There is a market for everyone, but as travel advisors, we really need to understand the different wellness products and how each matches up with a client’s travel and wellness priorities.”
This resort’s yoga retreats—the next ones will be Aug. 13-19 and Dec. 10-16—include multiple yoga sessions for beginners as well as experienced practitioners, one 30-minute massage pp, aquacise, and nature and power walks. Guests participate in a full menu of daily fitness classes and use Jewel Paradise Cove Beach Resort & Spa’s Fit-Trail, which has 10 workout stations spanning the entire property. Not that this has much to do with yoga, but greens fees and transfers to the 18-hole championship Runaway Bay Golf Club are included, too. Room rates start at $299, or $2,093 per week. For more information, contact jewelresorts.com/resorts/paradisecove/resort/fitness/yoga-retreats or jewelresorts.com/travel-agents.
Kamalame Cay, The Bahamas
Silver Linings Retreats now offers holistic wellness retreats Nov. 3-17, 2017, and Feb. 2-16, 2018 at this luxury hideaway near Andros Island. Its 5- and 7-day individually designed packages include Pilates, yoga, barre, HIIT, cardio, stretch classes, walks along the beach, gentle meditation, food, juices, massage therapies, pre- and post-retreat support, and a little gift from the team at Silver Linings. The ultimate aim: mindfulness and a stronger, calmer self. November rates start are approximately $450 a night per room plus 28 percent for taxes and fees, which works out to $3,150 a week plus $882, or about $4,030 for seven nights. The 5-night program costs $1,950, so the total for a couple is just under $6,000. Rooms are commissionable, but not the Silver Linings program. For more information, contact kamalame.com.
Secret Bay, Dominica
Although Secret Bay, Dominica’s high-end, eco-wellness lodge, doesn’t market the Best Friends Getaway as a wellness package, that’s what it is. The Getaway includes roundtrip transfers, a snorkeling tour, a mindful yoga class, a waterfall hike, and unlimited use of stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, and snorkeling gear. Other adventures (and massages) are also available, of course, because that’s a big part of what this hideaway is all about. Room rates start at around $620 a night plus $522 pp for the package, so seven nights would cost around $5,400 for two. For more information, contact secretbay.dm/package/best-friends-getaway.