Kamille D. Whittaker
Wellness Retreats: Moving in the Direction of Healing
Updated: Sep 1, 2020
Lately, I've been burning some incense that I was gifted by the ila spa in Antigua … I still carry with me the words my therapist spoke to me during a chakra balancing practice in Santa Fe … some botanical extracts from St. Barths -- infused with Ayurvedic intention -- became my go-to for holistic skin maintenance and healing. I take a little piece of these experiences and combine and incorporate them into my and my girls' every day where I can, as long as I can. And I'm better for it. We should be ever-intentional about observing our skin, listening to our bodies and taking healing actions that can start out novel but then turn into a sustained practice overtime. Naturally, I've been eyeing these below … soon come.
Nayara Springs | Arenal, Costa Rica
Cantilevered over the rainforest, the Spa at Nayara Springs allows guests to experience the sights, sounds, and scents of the rainforest in outdoor bungalows.
Wellness Retreat: Days are filled with yoga and meditation, special healthful menus, and daily spa treatments. Highlights include nature walks through the flora and fauna of the rainforest; a volcanic mud spa treatment using mud sourced from the nearby Arenal Volcano; and healthy mocktail mixology classes with local ingredients such as herbs from the on-site garden and tropical Costa Rican fruit.
Treatment Worth Traveling For: The Volcanic Mud Massage is inspired by long-held beliefs that the application of volcanic-rich mud regenerates and nourishes the skin and provides energy and inner peace.
Royal Mansour | Marrakech, Morocco
The three-story, hand-crafted Royal Mansour Spa, resembling an elaborate white birdcage, is reason enough to visit the palatial property. The spa’s design incorporates Moucharabieh, an element of traditional North African architecture that includes a window enclosed in carved wood latticework. The Spa also features an indoor pool with vaulted glass ceilings and a traditional hammam with its narrow, unadorned passageways and succession of spaces, lighting effects, and lanterns.
What’s New: Royal Mansour has taken the spa experience to new heights with the introduction of Bespoke Hammam Treatments. Here, each step of the traditional technique will be personalized to the specific skincare needs of each guest using ingredients sourced from Morocco’s bountiful environment. Purifying clay, for example, has been collected from the Atlas Mountains while roses from the Kalaat Megouana valley are used in a new regenerating body wrap and local saffron is infused into the ‘gourmet glow’ wrap.
Treatments Worth Traveling For: The signature hammam treatment begins in a humid room on a slab of heated marble, where the therapist douses the body in water and black soap, made with olive oil and vetiver. The guest is then scrubbed head to toe with miel d’ambre, before enjoying one final rinse and a dip in the icy cold plunge pool. The body is left spotlessly clean and utterly rejuvenated.
Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort | St. Lucia
Situated on the lower slopes of the Petit Piton, the Rainforest Spa is a series of treehouses rising above a lively stream.
Wellness Retreat: The fitness program includes daily classes on the hour, ranging from gentle yoga and morning walks to military bootcamp and body burn classes. For the more intrepid guest, the new Piton Recovery starts with a hike of the Gros Piton. After descending from the peak, hikers are met by one of Sugar Beach’s personal trainers for a stretching session, rehydration with coconut water, and revitalizing snack before have a muscle releasing massage back at the spa.
Treatment Worth Traveling For: The Sulphur Seduction treatment involves a morning trip to the volcanic sulphur springs near the resort to bathe in the black waters, followed by a sulphur mud bath and exfoliation treatment. After rinsing off in the naturally warm Piton waterfalls, the finale is a massage back at the spa.
GoldenEye | Oracabessa, Jamaica
The FieldSpa at GoldenEye is built into the landscape on the edge of the blue lagoon -- beckoning you to swim or kayak to your appointment. The spa draws on traditional Jamaican recipes and the healing powers of flowers, roots, leaves and herbs grown locally at the resort’s 800-acre Pantrepant farm.
What’s New: As part of a six-month development that culminates in December 2018, two new spa huts will open, along with a new hammam and yoga deck. A selection of elixirs, juices, and healthy bites incorporating fresh ingredients from the hotel’s farm, Pantrepant; and a new therapy menu will be introduced.
Treatment Worth Traveling For: Purifying Lemongrass and Wild Lime Abyhanga is a detoxifying massage that combines warm lemongrass and wild lime coconut. The treatment removes impurities and assists with lymphatic drainage.
UXUA Casa Hotel and Spa | Trancoso, Brazil
Nestled in the remote fisherman’s village of Trancoso, UXUA’s Almescar Spa is truly of the earth. All products are made using the techniques of the Pataxo Indians, incorporating the tree-sap found only in that part of the world – almescar. Even the building itself is made of locally reclaimed woods constructed by native craftsmen.
Wellness Retreat: Highlights include private classes to learn the art of capoeira, a traditional Bahian movement meditation that blends martial arts, acrobatics, and dance; daily massages at the spa; and organic coconut oil produced locally in Trancoso to take home.
Treatment Worth Traveling For: The signature Almescar Facial begins with an exfoliating scrub with a base of Bahian passionfruit sourced from the surrounding rainforest and a bespoke clay mask before an almescar facial cream from UXUA’s cosmetic line is applied. Typically used by the local Pataxó Indians in traditional medicine, almescar is a tree-sap native to the Bahian region providing anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidizing effects and stimulating cell-regeneration.
***In Atlanta Tribune's October 2018 edition, we take a look at more Transformative Travel offerings around the globe including foraging in Aruba and adventuring with Black Freedom Outfitters. Check it.