This article was originally published in LuxeBeat Magazine
With palm ferns rustling in the wind, the hypnotic sound of lapping waves and balmy ocean breezes to chase away the heavy, hot air, Jamaica is like a Hollywood stage set for wellness. The only challenge is to script and cast your perfect escape. Jamaica offers pampering resort wellness and retreats with local flavor.
If you like your Namaste to come with added niceties, then a resort wellness getaway featuring pampering and Pranayama is the way to go.
I start my island wellness tour at one of Negril’s newest properties, The Cliff Hotel. As the name suggests, the 22-room, four-villa boutique property sits on five-acres overlooking the Caribbean Sea. I have a junior suite, which is a bit of a misnomer, as it really is just a standard room. In the future I’d choose a one-bedroom suite or splurge on one of the villas that come with a private garden and secluded outdoor tub.
I meet with Carolyn Jobson, the spa director at the property, and she tells me that The Cliffs is in the process of building out its spa facilities. Right now, the spa consists of an outdoor yoga pavilion overlooking the ocean and two treatment rooms that are also open to the sea.
My morning starts with yoga, offered either as individual or in group sessions. Our group of four elects to ease into the day with a gentle hybrid of flow and Hatha poses. While my mind and spirit is nourished from the class, my stomach is grumbling as I walk the cliff path to Zest Restaurant, created by Chef Cindy Hutson, who has won rave reviews for her Caribbean food from Eater, The New York Times and more. While I know my healthy breakfast of scrambled egg whites isn’t challenging her culinary chops, I appreciate the use of local fruit, including succulent, sweet mangos and papayas and the strangely mealy Jamaican Otaheite apple. I wash it all down with a glass of soursop juice, a local fruit that claims cancer-fighting properties. It is incredibly sweet with notes of coconut, strawberry and pineapple. I later learn that a soursop has over 400 calories!
With that in mind, it’s time to hit the gym or try another class like Tabata, body sculpting or Pilates. For guests like me who want to pack in a lot of fitness and spa treatments, there is a Wellness Package that includes three fitness experiences and three spa treatments.
While the spa itself doesn’t have any amenities like sauna, steam or even a locker room, what it does have is a stunning view and a soundtrack of waves, birds and, in the distance, the music from the nearby pool area. I select the Deep KiYara Bodywork massage to work on chronically knotted muscles. I am lucky as Carolyn herself performs my service, and she is an expert at working on my tight neck, an area I feel many therapists gloss over or simply do poorly.
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