Destination Jamaica : Travel for R&R

January 1, 1970

by Kadeem Rodgers

Going on a retreat means taking time away from your daily life to balance yourself. Grab your figure-loving two- or three-piece bathing suit as we travel to Jamaica to explore her holistic landscape. Why? You ask? We’ve already started a new year, and what better way to rejuvenate and restore than by travelling to the St Thomas hillside to the Bath fountain springs, or road-tripping to some of the North Coast’s world-renowned spas? Find out how in eight stops. But before we do, let’s get a few things out the way.

How does a little R&R benefit me?

If you had to ponder, then this is definitely for you. One or two days of rest and relaxation is necessary to replenish your energy, repair damaged tissues, and reboot the mind, body and soul. Take it from us, after every spa day, we grin like Cheshire cats, too. Consider a bamboo massage, or a Blackwell Rum and coffee-infused sugar scrub. Scrub, cleanse, and moisturise are the top three recommendations for every beauty regimen, these three words should be your new year mantra.

What should I pack?

It doesn’t take much, you got this! You will need sunscreen; though vitamin D seldom hurts a soul, take everything in moderation, including sunlight. Definitely swimwear; a maillot from local designer Jae Jolly (ask Grace Jones about it!), swim trunks from Carlton Brown (Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell’s bespoke designer of choice), a fabulous wide-brimmed hat or cap for the gents, with sandals and light clothing ― essentially, one must always be ready for travel.

The Shortlist

Bath Mineral Springs – Bath, St Thomas

The centuries-old wellness haunt nestled in the foothills of the John Crow Mountains in St Thomas offers in-house and outdoor hot- or cool-water-based treatments using water rich in mineral from springs which flow through the rocks on bamboo pipes. You won’t need your sun hat for this one as there’s nothing chic about Bath, the area is as rustic as a riverside pimento oil massage or a hot stone massage using cobbles from the stream. Water from the spring is believed to aid in the recovery of a wide range of ailments, including gout, rheumatism and skin conditions.

Bath Fountain, St Thomas

Bath Fountain, St Thomas

Jackie’s On The Reef – West End Road, Negril

Soak your worries away in a soothing mineral bath while an attendant treats you to a detoxifying ion cleanse or a foot-, hand-, or head-reflexology massage ― two newly implemented therapies to the eco-friendly Jackie’s on the Reef wellness retreat. Jackie’s on the Reef received a seal of approval from media mogul Oprah Winfrey, both in The Oprah Magazine and on The Oprah Winfrey Show before its climax. If that doesn’t get your attention, we’re sure the seven oil “raindrop technique” that balances the spine or the Watsu water treatment will.

The oceanfront saltwater pool at Jackie's On The Reef.

The oceanfront saltwater pool at Jackie’s On The Reef.

Strawberry Hill – Irish Town, St Andrew

Bask in the cool mountain mist that surrounds the Strawberry Hill Spa in Irish Town, St Andrew before heading to one of five treatment rooms including a specialised hydrotherapy room, a plunge pool, a sauna and a deck for yoga and other outdoor activities. The hydrotherapy room is to die for, and the treatment is simple, with a little Blackwell rum and sugar scrub, your therapist exfoliates the skin before using an overhead shower system to align the spine and chakras of the mind, body and soul.

Strawberry Hill Hotel in St Andrew, Jamaica

Strawberry Hill Hotel in St Andrew, Jamaica

The Garden of Wellness – Port Antonio, Portland

Surround yourself with nature: a large ficus tree and your very own piece of the Caribbean Sea. The Hotel Mocking Bird Hill’s Garden of Wellness offers a meditation space, outdoor shower and bath, their expert staff “aims to offer a holistic experience, restoring balance and well-being with a combination of time-tested treatments that use indigenous Caribbean botanicals grown in the adjoining herb garden, with traditional physical healing rituals. “Our aim is to offer a holistic experience, restoring balance and encouraging a sense of well-being.”

The Garden of Wellness in Port Antonio, Portland, Jamaica

The Garden of Wellness in Port Antonio, Portland, Jamaica

Bromley Jamaica Retreat Centre – St Ann

Lush, verdant surroundings, crisp morning air, Rastafarian drummers and dancers, Caribbean Sea breeze, and the sound of waterfalls in the distance to wake you; just a few untouched elements at Bromley Jamaica Retreat Centre, which happens to be near the birthplace of international music icon Bob Marley. Bromley’s main attraction, however, is the Kiyara Ocean Spa, you can tell us all about it after your first visit.

The Bromley Estate in Bromley Pen, St Ann.

The Bromley Estate in Bromley Pen, St Ann.

Go Natural Sanctuary Jamaica – Long Bay, Portland

Located on the seaside in Long Bay, Portland – the parish known for its virgin white sand beaches, warm blue waters, romantic coves, breathtaking panoramic views, waterfalls and a real Jamaican vibe – the Go Natural Sanctuary promises to first slow your pace, then hit rewind on your vitals. Inevitably, luxurious ocean views, birds chirping, cool temps, and the sounds of waves crashing on the shore are the Go Natural selling points. Everyone’s going natural these days, you should too.

Yoga sessions at Go Natural Sanctuary in Long Bay, Portland, Jamaica

Yoga sessions at Go Natural Sanctuary in Long Bay, Portland, Jamaica

Sandals Royal Caribbean – Montego Bay

Why go to Tahiti, when you can visit Jamaica? #VisitJamaica for first-of-its-kind over-the-water suites at Sandals Royal Caribbean. Why leave your room when you can see the pristine turquoise waters of the North Coast through glass floors? Why soak up the sun when you have your own infinity pool and calming soaking tub at your leisure? Also at your leisure is a personalised butler service and a water taxi to take you back on land, if by chance you even need to.

Breathtaking views from the On-The-Water Villas at Sandals, Royal Caribbean in Montego Bay, Jamaica

Breathtaking views from the on-the-water villas at Sandals, Royal Caribbean in Montego Bay, Jamaica

The Spa Retreat – The Spa Retreat Boutique Hotel – Negril

Billed as the “true adult’s only luxury escape” and the “ideal romantic escape or health and wellness retreat”, The Spa Retreat is certainly not the least most impressive on our list – and the only such retreat dedicated to couple’s care. Check into one of the 18 handcrafted stone cottages to relax and unwind among tropical gardens or enjoy a date night under the stars with an organic cliffside dining experience. This adult’s only getaway offers a salt-water pool, sandy beach deck, yoga, and speciality tours in and around the luxe property.

The Spa Retreat Boutique Hotel in West End, Negril, Jamaica

The Spa Retreat Boutique Hotel in West End, Negril, Jamaica

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