OJ On Location: Wellness Is In The Air In Saint Lucia
Hiking up to Fort Rodney on Pigeon Island.
A Segway ride up Mt. Pimad with tour agency LucianStyle.
Ayurveda four-handed massage at BodyHoliday.
BodyHoliday’s Andrew Barnard, Deputy Managing Director (left) and Rebecca Platt, Director of Sales and Marketing.
Traditionally, Saint Lucia tourism is associated with honeymoons, romance and couples – and it's not for nothing. Leading resorts offer lavish romance packages paired with the island's natural backdrop of white-sand beaches, dreamy mountains and lush forests. It's as clear as the Caribbean Sea why the destination has received many awards and accolades for its romance product.
But Saint Lucia shouldn’t be pigeonholed solely as a destination for lovebirds. As Minister of Tourism Dominic Fedee told Open Jaw at the North American Showcase on 24JUL, wellness is a close second "sell" for the island, followed by sports and adventure.
As Open Jaw saw first-hand on a recent press trip to the Windward Island, there's plenty to do for those in love with adventure and wellness.
"When you look at the volcano, the volcanic sand, the topography, I think it really adds nicely to that fitness, health and wellness concept," says Fedee.
Paired with its excellent safety record and array of centrally-located resorts, there's many ways to be active on the island, like Segwaying on Mt. Pimad, snorkelling off the coast of Anse Cochon, hiking the Tet Paul Nature Trail, trekking up to Pigeon Island's Ford Rodney or ziplining through rainforests.
"There is a natural authentic experience here in Saint Lucia that's not measurable by any standards," says SLTA's CEO Beverly Nicholson-Doty. "One of the unique things is that you can have your traditional sun, sand and sea but you can have so much more, from the rainforest to the volcano, to going to Soufriere and the sulphur baths."
And for those looking to Zen-out among lush rainforest and mountains, many resorts offer enhanced spa and wellness programs.
"A lot of our hotels in the southwest, in Soufriere, have very good spa programs. A lot of them run health and wellness weeks and retreats, or bring in yoga professionals internationally," says Minister Fedee. "A lot of our old herbal medicines and remedies are being brought into that whole mix of developing the health and wellness concept. So we're moving away from the tradition of what you know so that we can give customers a new vibe on the island."
BodyHoliday, for example, has an expanded wellness, fitness and spa product on the north coast of Saint Lucia.
Rebecca Platt, Director of Sales & Marketing with parent company Sunswept Resorts, says its focus is "on changing people's lives; we're not just a spa resort."
At BodyHoliday – whose tagline, by the way, is “Give us your body for a week and we'll give you back your mind” -- you can expect four to five different activities offered every hour of every day, a daily spa treatment included in the package, Ayurvedic organic cuisine, a variety of health practitioners on-hand for support, and many more wellness-focused services.
The all-inclusive resort won the “Best Wellness Program” in the world at the 2018 Best of the Best Hotel Awards during the 30th Annual Virtuoso Travel Week Conference.