Onsite Review: The BodyHoliday

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Clients can try their hand at watersports at The BodyHoliday.
Clients can try their hand at watersports at The BodyHoliday.

The BodyHoliday, a 154-room all-inclusive resort on Saint Lucia that’s undergoing a $20 million renovation project, has long been one of the world’s most unique wellness resorts. Its mission was, and remains: “Give us your body for a week and we’ll give you back your mind.” Here’s what that means for guests:

wellness activities
Every day there are more than a dozen organized wellness activities: tai chi, personal training, yoga, walking and running, stretching, “absolution” for abs, meditation, dance, cooking classes, and a complimentary spa treatment. You might expect those spa treatments to be uninspired, given the fact that every guest gets one daily. However, my therapists (I had aromatherapy one day; a Swedish massage the next) showed genuine commitment to their work. So did the chef who taught us such delicious, healthful recipes that I was recreating one within days of returning home.

sports ‘r’ us
As ever, the range of sports gear and classes is astounding, what with hiking, biking, sailing, kayaking, paddleboarding, windsurfing, water skiing, diving, tennis, golf, volleyball, and even archery. What’s more, The BodyHoliday is adding sailing lessons on two J/24 sloops. I took a bicycle tour to Pigeon Island; as usual, I also did a lot of watersports. When a sailing instructor told me that I’d sailed well, I said, “Thanks, but I stalled when tacking.” He replied, “Hobie Cats are hard to tack! Sometimes I stall, too.” That was the kindest, most encouraging comment I’ve ever gotten from any instructor, and that’s counting 10 years of piano lessons.

solo travelers welcome
Unattached guests can enjoy a wellness/active vacation here without being hit with a single supplement, and that’s a rarity in the Caribbean. Moreover, the rooms for solo travelers
(Standard Garden, where I stayed) are far more spacious than most of the single rooms I’ve had in Europe. Staffers also host cocktails and communal dining for solo guests.

Of the four pillars of The BodyHoliday’s philosophy—relaxation, restorative beauty, exercise, and good diet—the last three are optional. Ergo, those communal dining tables, good wine, music at night, and not just vegetarian and gluten-free options, but also red meat and chocolate for those so inclined. No wonder it took me so long to notice that my room had no TV. Who needs it? P.S. I met some couples consisting of one Energizer Bunny and one horizontalist, and they all seemed happy.

upgrades and more upgrades
Like its more exercise-prone guests, The BodyHoliday doesn’t rest on its laurels. The (huge) renovations slated for late 2015 include new furniture and decor for the 52 Standard Garden View Rooms, Grand Luxury Oceanfront Rooms, and Grand Luxury Oceanfront Junior Suites. The rooms will also get noise cancellation walls, Bluetooth sound systems, upgraded WiFi, and freestanding soaking tubs. The patios of Ground Floor Oceanfront units will be extended for direct beach access. Tablets in guestrooms will make it easier to order room service or reserve activities.

Although The BodyHoliday’s premier restaurant, TAO, is so highly rated, the resort is raising the bar with a new Garden House restaurant that uses fresh produce from an onsite garden and employs sous-vide and other courant techniques. This being a no-pressure spa resort, mixologists will also be on hand. A new dining space ITAL, will offer private dining, and a Deli upgrade will feature a free-standing juice bar.

All 33 treatment rooms in the Wellness Center will sport a new Moroccan style, and the spa will add five complimentary treatments. The exercise studio is getting a ballet barre, a suspension ceiling for floating meditation, and new poles for pole fitness classes. The BodyHoliday will also debut an overwater spa facility, Thalasso on the Rocks, with a grotto for salt steam treatments, a Thalassotherapy sea bath, a yoga deck overlooking the sea, and a lounge area and dining cabana. With wine.

rates and agent incentives
High-season rates for a single room are $700 per night; two adults sharing a Luxury Room would also pay $700 pp per night. For two adults in a Grand Luxury Oceanfront Room, it’s $769 pp; a Grand Luxury Oceanfront Junior Suite costs $800 pp. Taxes and fees included. Sunswept Resorts’ program for agents covers both The BodyHoliday and nearby Rendezvous Resort; it features cash bonuses, personalized messages and gifts for clients, agent discounts and (depending upon bookings) complimentary nights.

contact information
The BodyHoliday: thebodyholiday.com or ssp.thebodyholiday.com (agent login)