Resorts in the Virgin Islands, both U.S. and British, are
tempting travelers with a bouquet of spas.
Earlier this year, on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin
Islands, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts added a new
5,200-square-foot spa at Little Dix Bay. The facility is at the
west end of the property, on a 100-foot-high bluff with sweeping
views of a number of deserted islands on the horizon.
The open design is reminiscent of Rosewood’s other noteworthy
spa resort, Las Ventanas al Paraiso in Los Cabos, minus the Mexican
With walls of hand-set pebbles, coral-stone pathways and a
reception desk made of driftwood, the atmosphere emphasizes Virgin
Gorda’s natural environment, building on environmentalist Laurance
Rockefeller’s original design concept to bring the outside in.
The focal point is a two-tier plunge pool, accented by boulders
and an infinity edge. A stone path leads from the pool down to a
tiny, isolated beach.
There are nine treatment cottages, plus a 672-square-foot spa
day suite, which can be booked for private treatments for one or
two people. It has an open wall for unimpeded sea views, and its
own plunge pool, dining area and bathroom with outdoor shower. The
spa suite can be rented for as long as eight hours.
Fifteen different massages are featured at Little Dix Bay, plus
eight Caribbean-flavored treatments such as the Neem Leaf Facial,
the Bay Rum Body Revitalizer and the Goat Milk and Honey Wrap.
"The spa adds to the resort’s serenity and tranquility," said
David Flack, the general manager. Flack, who was appointed to the
post in late 2002, notes that the facility was booked solid last
Christmas, even by repeat guests, some of whom had been
apprehensive about the resort’s addition of a spa. "Everybody is
responding very well," he added.
Across the indiscernible border, in the U.S. Virgin Islands,
Rosewood’s Caneel Bay on St. John has taken a different approach to
relaxation with the debut of the Self Centre.
Jan Kinder, a registered nurse and educator for renowned
mind/body expert, Dr. Deepak Chopra, runs the program. The Self
Centre features an extensive program of activities such as yoga,
meditation and breathing exercises, which are designed to relieve
The Self Centre is housed in a building overlooking the sea,
which is several hundred yards from the main resort area. Sessions
include: Aqua Chi, which combines the natural energy and resistance
of the Caribbean Sea with Eastern-influenced movements; Breathwalk,
which integrates specific patterns of breathing, walking and
meditation; and Yoga in Chair, which teaches upright yoga positions
that can be performed at a work desk or in an airline seat. Couples
sessions are also available.
Caneel Bay General Manager, Brian Young, said that Rockefeller,
who built the hotel in 1954 and Little Dix Bay in 1964, seemed
pleased with the Self Centre on a recent visit.
"He said, 'I always intended for Caneel Bay to be a place for
spiritual renewal,' " Young said. "We’ve tried to be faithful to
his vision, and keep Caneel as a place of nature and refuge."
On St. Thomas, The Ritz-Carlton completed a $75-million
expansion, which includes 48 new guest rooms and suites, plus a
boutique spa, salon and fitness center.
Luxurious treatment rooms, open-air cabanas, an outdoor
relaxation terrace and a fully equipped workout studio overlook the
ocean. In-room treatments are also available.
The development also encompasses 80 two- and three-bedroom
residences, which are part of The Ritz-Carlton Club. The addition
extends the property northward, along a previously unused beach,
which has been renamed Coconut Cove.
Decleor and Carita products are used at the spa, and signature
treatments include the Radiance and Protection Facial and the Le
Renovateur Body Treatment, which involves a concoction of sunflower
Also on St. Thomas, the Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort opened its
$1.5-million Journeys Spa last summer, close on the heels of its
$7-million renovation, which finished in 2000.
Touted as the largest full-service spa in the U.S. Virgin
Islands, the all-inclusive resort offers two treatments to guests
staying two or three nights. A feature treatment is the Beach Stone
There are 300 newly renovated rooms, all with private balconies,
including nine luxurious suites.
On St. Croix, The Buccaneer resort revamped its spa program last
year, renovating and upgrading the facility and bringing in a
professionally trained staff and spa management company, WTS
International. Also, the facility changed its name to Hideaway
Michael Dance, the spa director, takes a holistic approach to
treatments, and integrates Oriental therapies with traditional
Swedish massage. Highlight treatments include the Sedona Mud &
Algae Gel Wrap and poolside sunset massages for individuals or
There’s also a Golf-Tennis Sports Massage for relaxing your
client’s stiff neck and shoulders, getting them into shape to send
the ball down that long fairway, painlessly.
Located on Mermaid beach, luxurious villa-style accommodations
have sitting areas with picture windows and marbled patios or
balconies with views of the sea and Christiansted harbor.
The 55-year-old Buccaneer continues to be one of the Caribbean’s
best resort values, with rates starting at $295 in the winter;
$215, summer. Breakfast is included, but taxes and an energy
surcharge are extra.