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Big hair, tight Spandax and Jane Fonda home-video workouts were all the rage when Craig Barnard opened The BodyHoliday in the 1980s. But despite the fitness craze, the idea of a `wellness holiday’ was foreign – even to Americans.
“Guests arrived with suitcases stuffed with food,” says Barnard. “The idea of a wellness holiday in the 1980s was so unfamiliar. Guests were concerned that the food would be so restrictive that they would go hungry. They had no idea what to expect.”
They need not have worried. St. Lucia’s BodyHoliday, then – as now – is known for its healthy, yet exquisite cuisine. And unlike the few spas operating at the time (mostly ‘fat farms’ based on deprivation and calorie-counting), alcohol was then, as it is now, on the menu.
Andrew Barnard (Craig’s son) trained in hospitality in London, Paris, Switzerland and California, and is now general manager, explains: “When our family opened The BodyHoliday, the idea was to offer a respite for the Wall Street crowd, a place they could come to relax, have spa treatments, have a glass of wine with dinner, and have fun. It was born as a holiday, and we’ve never lost that philosophy. My father saw – way back – that wellness was more than a fad. And he integrated his wellness vision – of food, relaxation, exercise and beauty — into a beach holiday. The BodyHoliday was never meant to be a place of depravity, but always of balance and restoration. He was ahead of his time, really.”
Alongside its fun and laid-back aesthetic, The BodyHoliday has transitioned to include some of the world’s most top-notch (non-invasive) spa and medi-spa treatments including blood analysis, cutting-edge facials, an intensive Ayurveda program (with two Ayurvedic doctors on site), and a premiere skincare clinic. Exercise is every bit as extraordinary, with the resort’s new tree-top spin studio (yes, literally in the trees) earning kudos from even the most begrudging exercise fans. Nutrition is celebrated at every meal and in-between, with hands-on, cooking classes, while truly fine wine (a rarity in the Caribbean) plays a prominent role at the table.
The true beauty of The BodyHoliday experience, however, is the personalization – the bespoke ’agenda’ of doing exactly what you want, when you want, including doing nothing at all if you so choose.
In select weeks during the summer, entire families come, while year-round – couples, and increasingly solo travelers – find way here – to bask in the sun, exercise, relax, detox, learn, eat better, and ultimately ‘get their minds back.’ Certainly, The BodyHoliday is where I go, when I lose mine…
What We Love:
The Ayurveda temple. So tranquil, so peaceful. The warming oils, calming hands, and scented wraps.
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Office: (732) 473-9982
Fax: (732) 473-9986