5 Best New Spas in the Caribbean

The Spa at Buccament Bay Resort, St. Vincent. Photo courtesy Buccament Bay Resort Photo by Courtesy Buccament Bay Resort
By Kristine Hansen

While a Caribbean vacation already exudes relaxation with waterfront chaises, fruity cocktails and a leisurely state of mind, you can amp up that feeling with a spa visit. Take a break from sun-bathing or water sports and escape for a little pampering. Several spas have opened in the Caribbean within the last year or two -- ranging from tree-top treatments at a rustic spa on St. Lucia to a contemporary, slick retreat at the Caribbean's first W hotel. These boutique spas draw inspiration for treatments from the laid-back surroundings, whether it's locally sourced ingredients or massages right on the sand.

Photo Caption: The Spa at Buccament Bay Resort, St. Vincent. Photo courtesy Buccament Bay Resort
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Each of the treatment rooms is its own little tree house, built at varying levels among the mature trees, with wooden, railed walkways connecting those rooms to the reception desk and lounges, which are also in tree houses. Like the hotel, the spa is on prime real estate -- within an UNESCO World Heritage Site on the island's southwest side, nestled between the two looming <em>pitons</em> (lush, green mountains) and on the shores of Sugar Beach. Locally made coconut oil is used for massages and you can request warmed bamboo sticks in lieu of hot stones. Post-treatment relaxation is in an open-air rotunda with the calming sounds of a creek running underneath.<br><br><strong>Contact: <a href="http://www.viceroyhotelsandresorts.com" target="_blank">Sugar Beach</a></strong><br><br><em></em> Photo by Lou Metzger for The Jalousie Plantation
Each of the treatment rooms is its own little tree house, built at varying levels among the mature trees, with wooden, railed walkways connecting those rooms to the reception desk and lounges, which are also in tree houses. Like the hotel, the spa is on prime real estate -- within an UNESCO World Heritage Site on the island's southwest side, nestled between the two looming pitons (lush, green mountains) and on the shores of Sugar Beach. Locally made coconut oil is used for massages and you can request warmed bamboo sticks in lieu of hot stones. Post-treatment relaxation is in an open-air rotunda with the calming sounds of a creek running underneath.

Contact: Sugar Beach

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The FieldSpa at GoldenEye Hotel & Resort. Photo: Island Outpost Photo by Island Outpost
Despite this 52-acre resort -- owned by Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records/Island Outpost -- being the former home of Ian Fleming (where he wrote all 14 James Bond novels), there is nothing dangerous about it. The spa (which opened in mid-December) is, however, definitely exotic. Ingredients for treatments -- like Jamaican wild lime, wild Jamaican ginger and pimento oil -- are sourced from a local farm, as well as seaweed harvested in Oracabessa Bay. You can arrive for your treatment, held inside of three intimate rooms, via a short kayak ride from your room. Activities include bay rafting in a local lagoon, moon yoga or cardio Jamaican dance.

Contact: www.goldeneye.com

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AWAY Spa Courtyard at W Retreat & Spa in Vieques. Photo Courtesy of W Hotels Photo by Courtesy of W Hotels
Escape the urban setting of San Juan -- and its hustle and bustle -- for this tranquil, smaller island, which has experienced a boom in tourism since the U.S. military ceased operations here in 2003. The W's first Caribbean hotel opened during the spring of 2010, bringing a one-of-a-kind eclectic, coastal-chic décor: retro-inspired furnishings, wood-paneled walls, art installations and bursts of color. This includes the AWAY spa's Zen design, which really pops against its setting along Paradise Edge with the Atlantic Ocean in the background. Ocean-inspired treatments include Heated Shell massage (using smooth tiger shells sourced from the Pacific ocean) and scrubs involving house-made potions (like shredded coconut mixed with Encantos Puerto Rican coffee grounds). Indulgent, yet light, meals from celebrated French chef Alain Ducasse are served in the spa too.

Contact: www.wvieques.com

Photo Caption: AWAY Spa Courtyard at W Retreat & Spa in Vieques. Courtesy W Hotels
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The Spa at Buccament Bay Resort, St. Vincent. Photo courtesy Buccament Bay Resort Photo by Courtesy Buccament Bay Resort
Open since late summer 2010, this resort in the Layou area of St. Vincent mimics its unspoiled surroundings, including the rainforest. Warmed volcanic stones are applied to energy points or Chakras and massaged into the skin with the help of custom-made oils suited for each client. To soothe tired feet there is an herbal foot-cleanse treatment. Massages can be given outdoors, in a Thai pavilion or under a gazebo on the beach. Not just a place for relaxing treatments, yoga classes are taught on a large covered deck overlooking the pond. Precede a treatment with a rainforest hike, followed by a relaxing form of yoga, and then lunch (organic, locally sourced fruits, herbs and vegetables).

Contact: www.buccamentbay.com

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Spa treatment room at Jumby Bay, A Rosewood Resort. Photo: Rosewood Hotels & Resorts Photo by Rosewood Hotels & Resorts
Set on a private 300-acre island two miles off the coast of Antigua, Jumby Bay is on land once owned by sugar growers, and its spa, which is so private it has only five treatment rooms, reflects that history with treatments that include sugarcane, molasses, and rum. The Signature treatment takes two and a half hours and anoints the body with coconut shea butter. Yeah, you could get used to that.
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