The expansion of fitness experiences in the Caribbean shows no sign of a let-up, so put down that donut: We’re here to talk about new ways resorts and other businesses are serving the ever-increasing demand for healthy vacations.
Carlisle Bay Antigua: Yoga Retreat
The Aug. 11-18 yoga retreat at Carlisle Bay Antigua will be the first-ever such event at this luxury beach resort. “A Journey through the Elements,” its official name, is a week-long yoga and wellness retreat led by international yoga instructor Tanja Mickwitz. Featuring the yogic practice of Panchamahabhuta, which focuses on the five great elements (earth, wind, fire, airand space), the program will take guests on an immersive, soul-searching experience through nature’s powerful and healing elements. The goals: both inner rejuvenation and outward strength.
Each day participants will concentrate on one of the five elements. Morning sessions will feature dynamic practices to invigorate for the day (Vinyasa, creative flow, stability, alignment, core strength, etc). Afternoons will be reserved for slower flow (restorative yoga, Pranayama, Yoga Nidra, Shakti Meditation, etc). The retreat’s all-inclusive pricing also includes off-site activities to connect guests to the island’s natural beauty, from horseback riding to helicopter tours and sunset cruises.
If this is coming up too soon, it’s still worth noting because Carlisle Bay, sister resort to London’s One Aldwych, is one of the classiest resorts on an island with no shortage of upmarket hideaways. Moreover, the event, designed as an atypically all-inclusive package for this high-end EP resort, seems likely to be just one of many fitness weeks to come.
At press time, weekly rates for two adults during high season start at $6,999 pp dbl, and they include off-site activities such as horseback riding and a helicopter tour so participants can experience more of Antigua.
Club Med Punta Cana: New Surfing Program
Long a proponent of the sporting life—how many other resorts offer lessons with Cirque du Soleil acrobats and sailing on lightning-fast Lasers?—Club Med Punta Cana is about to add surfing lessons to its menu of activities. Moreover, the instruction will feature one teacher to one student in order to maximize each guest’s comfort level and progress. These lessons, available Nov. 1 through April 30 at the Club Med Discovery Center, cost $40, and equipment is included in the rates.
At press time, early booking rates for a $5,236 room were starting at $2,738 (for two adults), high season. Since no children are involved in this hypothetical booking, I would urge an upgrade to the Zen Oasis enclave, where a $6,709 room was going for $3,916 (for two adults). clubmedta.com
Excellence Oyster Bay
On June 1 Excellence Resorts established a beachhead in Jamaica by opening the adults-only Excellence Oyster Bay on a peninsula rimmed by sand. The company’s “all-inclusive is luxury” style includes an avalanche of indoor and outdoor activities. For example, a 2,433-sq.-ft. gym features treadmills, crossover, movement and step machines, weights, and classes in aerobics, yoga. A scenic fitness trail serves walkers and joggers. Watersports such as sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, SUP, snorkeling, and introductory scuba are included, too, as are activities such as water aerobics, dance lessons, beach volleyball and football, and bicycling. Of course, all the equipment is brand new. The Mille Spa offers botanical treatments, couples rooms (including one with a hydrotherapy tub), an outdoor cabana, a bride’s suite, a wellness classroom, and other amenities.
At press time 800-sq.-ft. Junior Suites were available at $560 a room for two adults in high season. That said, it’s worth looking into an even larger suite with a private 300-sq.-ft. pool, because that would cost just $48 more per night. excellenceresorts.com
RIU Palace Punta Cana: Total Reno, Including Fitness Facilities
This month the RIU Palace Punta Cana will reopen after having had a top-to-bottom renovation. It includes new rooms (the accommodations total is now 676), restaurants, pools, and entertainment programs for children, but let’s focus on fitness. The gym, spa, and sauna are new, there are four upgraded tennis courts, daily fitness activities are held in the RiuFit area, and the resort has invested in new equipment for windsurfing, kayaking, and snorkeling. The rejuvenated RIU also offers guests one introductory scuba-diving lesson in the pool.
High-season rates start at $2,445 per week dbl, but note that the upsell here is irresistible. Why? Because if your clients pay about 25 percent more for a weekly charge of $2,900, they’ll get a 721-sq.-ft. suite that’s twice as large as the entry-level room. riuagents.com/agents/en/home.jsp
Stonefield Villa Resort: Lucian Wellness
In May Stonefield Villa Resort announced that it was repositioning itself as a health
and wellness property under the banner, Escape to Wellness. This new program “offers a series of experiences year-round that integrates all the natural elements of Saint Lucia,” says Cybelle Brown, founder and managing director.
For example, the Aug. 5-12 Sweat Escapes with Chloe Bent (Bent is a Canadian fitness expert and TV personality) package will be a fitness and nutrition retreat based upon Bent’s patented “Sweat Movement” and incorporating daily workouts, a spa treatment, healthy meals, transfers, a sulphur springs mud bath, and a Piton hike. Rates start at $2,108 pp. Nov. 1-6 Stonefield Villa Resort will host a Sky Yoga and Wellness Retreat led by Courtney Chase and Randy Moss of Tryyoga and incorporating “the energy of the…Piton Mountains.” From $1,495. stonefieldresort.com
Cayman Islands: Independent Fitness Facilities
Since Grand Cayman is such an easy island for exploring without a tour guide, two businesses unafilliated with any particular hotel (and serving guests from any hotel, condo, or villa) have recently opened for business. What they’re offering makes for a good suggestion when an agent’s fitness-oriented clients need just a tad more convincing.
The Cayman Yoga Club offers a full menu of yogic experiences, from power vinyasa and slow-flow jams to more restorative and meditative sessions. The goals of the club and all who go there include “serenity of body and mind through breath, movement, conscious living, and community.” Cayman Yoga Club is located in the West Shore Shopping Plaza on Seven Mile Beach, so it’s easily accessible to the majority of resorts on Grand Cayman. Most weekdays it offers four or five different clases, and weekends, two or three. caymanyogaclub.com
It’s hard to think of anything the new School of Fitness in the Strand of West Bay does not offer. Its programs include individual and group lessons and classes in CrossFit (classes just for kids, too), CrossFit Lite, personal training, general fitness training, mobility, and zumba. The School of Fitness is open weekdays and weekends. Because SoF just opened (yes, you read it here first), it has not finalized its marketing. “We do intend to make contact with nearby hotels in order to accommodate their customers,” says spokesperson Rodrick Evans. schooloffitnesscayman.com