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Best Caribbean Spas

by Rowena Carr-Allinson

There's more to the Caribbean than steel bands and days spent lazing in the sunshine. Hot new spas are setting the pace in the idyllic island surroundings for the ultimate in pampering vacations!

From past life regression in Anguilla to starlit spa sessions in the British Virgin Islands, Caribbean resorts are going all out in their new generation spas: exotic flavors, bio-products, fantastic views and of course, the legendary mellow Caribbean atmosphere to relax in . . .

Far from the detox camps, this is the place for indulgence. What more could you ask for?

KAMALAME CAY, BAHAMAS: Best for the laid back.

With just 19-rooms, this private island hideaway just off Andros Island is a charming hideaway where pastel coloured cottages hide in the lush palms and luxury prevails.

Sitting over the turquoise waters, the two-story wooden spa is reminiscent of Bali's finest. A pier leads to five treatment rooms where grand floor to ceiling window open up onto the sea. Forget having a sea-sounds tape running in the background, you can hear the soothing rush through the floorboards!

The local products are all natural scrubs and oils made by Biotropica for an authentic island experience. Try the one hour Bahamian Boreh, a twist on the traditional Balinese treatment the massage increases circulation and soothes muscles, as well as exfoliating skin. For a little fruit, pick the Kamalame Coconut Body Glow for Sensitive Skin which uses freshly shredded young coconut in a gentle body scrub. And fishing fans aren't forgotten: the fisherman's friend massage looks after your neck, shoulders and arms, while the Fishing Widow's Revenge is a full day five treatment package with lunch included to keep you out of trouble while he goes bone-fishing.

CAP JULUCA, ANGUILLA: Best for Chakra & Shiatsu.

The Moorish style resort, set aside from the outside world, is a sparkling white and azure sanctuary set on a beach that stretches into the horizon. Rooms are set back from the 1.5 mile beach with private terraces, huge beds and gigantic bath tubs.

Cap Juluca has a different approach to the spa. The first obvious difference is that treatments take place in your room. Following many indigenous cultures' belief that the heart of healing begins at home. The Mind, Body and Spirit programme, its most daring venture, includes shamanic work, psychospiritual work, yoga, intuitive healing, energetics and spiritual astrology! It's all about detoxifying your body, mind and soul.

To delve deep, try 'Coming Home' with transpersonal therapist Diana Bourel, the sessions use storytelling, channelling, re-birthing and bioenergetics, as well as past life material to get to your inner spiritual core and find out more about yourself. The idea is to lay to rest the issues that have been troubling you, whether from this life or one gone by. Other treatments in the programme include the Tree of life massage, the 'soul awakening' evolved from Absuchanka, a mystical healing art using crystals and gemstone and astrology readings with the extraordinarily-whiskered Hubert Delamotte.

LA SAMANNA, ST MARTIN - The Elysée Spa: Chic & Sleek.

La Samanna is a glamorous resort overlooking the Baie Longue on the French half of St Martin. If you enjoy good food and pristine surroundings in privacy, this is the place for you. Its spa, named Elysée after the "abode for the blessed" in Greek mythology, has eight soothing massage rooms, two hydro-therapy rooms and a separate beauty salon. With rich redwoods and hand-hewn Italian travertine stone floors the spa blends in with the resort's cool whitewashed look dotted with colourful Caribbean touches.

The choice is extensive, with everything from Shiatsu to Reflexology, Thai massages and Hot Stone therapy as well as Pilates and Yoga, and there's even a personal trainer on hand for one-to-one training.

Since you're in the French West Indies, try the French body polish that leaves the skin smooth and silky; or if you've over indulged, opt for the sunburn rescue treatment, an ultra soothing aloe-based pack in a thermal wrap. For an alfresco session, book into a private treatment room with outdoor shower and shaded pergola.

Other Cool Caribbean Spas

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