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June 24, 2013updated Jun 27, 2013

Paradise with Purpose: The BodyHoliday, St Lucia

By Chris Boyle

The BodyHoliday

Infinity Pool

Tao Restaurant

The Wellness Centre

Penthouse Bedroom

Tucked into a secluded bay on the northern tip of St Lucia, The BodyHoliday checks a lot of boxes.

The 154-room health and well-being resort declares, ‘Give us your body for a week and we’ll give you back your mind’. As most of the guests are returning customers, it’s a promise they seem to be keeping.

For every hour of the day, guests can choose from myriad activities, from yoga, pilates and fitness classes, to tennis, kayaking and snorkeling. The more intrepid can climb the famous peak of Gros Piton, abseil down a gorge or take a mountain bike through the jungle. However, guests can subject their bodies to as much or as little as they please, and that’s the beauty of The BodyHoliday—the whole place celebrates a healthy lifestyle, without a whiff of the press-gang. You’re on vacation after all.  

With a ratio of nearly two staff members to every guest, you get undivided attention whenever you want it, whether you’re honing your golf swing with a PGA professional, learning to fence, or just putting a sun bed to good use. The staff is well-informed, professional and—like most of the island’s residents—disarmingly friendly.  

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The resort was opened in 1988 by the Barnard family, one-time buccaneers (some say) who left England for St Lucia in the early 19th century, never to return. In the days of steam ships, the Barnards built a lucrative coaling business, refueling vessels that swarmed the surrounding seas and investing in sugar plantations with the proceeds. During World War II, the family turned their attention to the burgeoning banana trade, but spotted a new opportunity in the 60’s when the advent of long-haul flights began the Caribbean’s love affair with tourism. And so the seed was sown for The BodyHoliday and nearby couples-only resort Rendezvous.


Whether your morning workout has left you ravenous, or your only exercise is slapping on sunscreen, The BodyHoliday has something to sate every appetite. Cariblue Restaurant serves a delicious breakfast and lunch buffet with fresh fruit and whole foods, dreamy pastries, hot hearty fare and dinner à la carte. The neighboring Clubhouse offers an elegant space to relax in the shade, take afternoon tea, sip a cocktail or eat from the lavish grill that opens onto the boardwalk.  

At the upper end of the dining scale is flagship restaurant TAO, which has kept its AAA Diamond Award since 2007. Perched above the private Cariblue Beach, TAO serves excellent East/West fusion cuisine in a cool, refined ambiance. Expect such delights as Thai laksa soup, a trilogy of scallops and marinated spiny lobster to start, and main dishes including vanilla chicken, Caribbean red snapper and succulent mahi-mahi. For the sweet tooth, go for the chocolate fondant or bread and butter pudding, and round the evening off with the local tipple, rum—the Admiral Rodney is a winner.


For sybaritic wonders, climb the palm-flanked steps to the Wellness Centre, an idyllic hillside retreat above the resort. No less than 33 treatment rooms invite you to slip inside and drift off in the breezy silence. Guests are offered one complimentary treatment per day from a generous list of body scrubs, wraps, facials, massages and hydrotherapy. At extra cost, you can choose a blissful Ayurvedic treatment such as shirodhara, synchronized abhyanga massage or bolus bag massage, not to mention a range of anti-ageing therapies and non-surgical lifts at The Specialist Skin Clinic.

A $15million renovation at the BodyHoliday in 2011 upgraded the Wellness Centre and Skin Clinic, and added an open-plan Penthouse Suite. The sea-facing Penthouse Suite features a large living area and wet-bar with a free-standing wall unit dividing the living and bedroom spaces, as well as a private hammam with a marble-slab heated massage bed and a steam room with a mosaic curved bench and rain-head shower.

To give your healthy vacation some focus, The BodyHoliday hosts themed seasonal fitness programs. Throughout June, choreographer Kele Baker—regular on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing—is leading the resort’s first dance-a-thon inspired fitness program, ‘Jive June’, with classes in jive, salsa, cha cha, slow waltz, Argentine tango, rhythm foxtrot, samba and zumba. No previous experience is necessary.

In July and August, the resort welcomes kids over 12, and with the Well Fit Families program encourages the generations to get active together. Expect family-friendly sports, fun fitness challenges, quiz nights and courses in first aid, lifeguard skills and healthy cooking. All in a day’s work at The BodyHoliday.

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