Caribbean Spas: Beyond the Massage

Carlisle Bay, Antigua
By Abbie Kozolchyk
Sunset over a candle-lit pier at Carlisle Bay, Antigua
Sunset over a candle-lit pier at Carlisle Bay, Antigua (courtesy, Carlisle Bay)

Carlisle Bay, Antigua
Nestled at the foot of a hillside on grounds planted with pineapple and mango and fronted by tranquil waters, Carlisle Bay presents an ideal location for rest and renewal on Antigua's lightly developed southern shore. A regional pioneer of the minimal-chic aesthetic, the posh resort's 82 ocean-view suites, decorated in muted colors, sumptuous silks and Italian linens, offer sleek sanctuary. And its 17,000-square-foot Blue Spa — with six treatment rooms, a plunge pool and sauna — is headquarters for vacationers in pursuit of a healthier, more balanced lifestyle.

Last year the hotel hosted the first of its new Vitality Weeks, active getaways that provide guests with myriad opportunities to discover new ways of getting and staying in shape. The program begins with a fitness assessment by an instructor who then prepares a comprehensive schedule of outdoor activities which are tailored to guests' interests and abilities and offer maximum exposure to the resort's natural beauty. Days may begin with an early-morning yoga class in an outdoor, palm-shaded pavilion; circuit training on the golden-sand beach; an invigorating swim across the turquoise bay; or a vigorous hike along the rugged coastline. A variety of group exercise classes — including Pilates, yoga and stretching — are scheduled throughout the day, but there's still plenty of time to simply relax on a lounge chair and enjoy the sun-drenched shore.

Two of this year's four remaining weeklong programs are activity-specific, focused either on tennis or yoga with Maya Fiennes, a pianist-turned-yoga-instructor. Kundalini-based sessions, set to soothing music created by her composer husband, combine chants, breath work and postures that gently coax students to their physical edge.

The program also features a cooking demonstration by the resort chef, who shares his passion for wholesome, organic ingredients and recipes for easy-to-prepare and healthy meals, some of which are featured on the menu of the resort's two restaurants. A couple of spa treatments are also included: Opt for either the Thai or well-being massage, and you'll emerge relaxed yet energized — a feeling that surely will follow you home.

From $555 in low season ($805 high). Vitality Week rates, which include all meals, begin at $2,660 per person. 268-484-0000

Published: 13 Apr 2009 | Last Updated: 1 Apr 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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