Marley Resort & Spa leaves you feeling good
The familiar melody of Bob Marley’s best known tune, One Love, floats through a lovingly-groomed garden setting as I arrive at Bahamas’ newest resort and spa. Opened in the summer of 2008, the 16-suite, oceanfront Marley Resort & Spa was once the family’s vacation home and it was the vision of Rita Marley, the late cultural icon’s wife, to turn it into an upscale boutique resort complete with fine dining and an intimate spa called Natural Mystic – a name chosen from Marley’s huge repertoire of songs.
The spa is small, just three treatment rooms, a wet area, an outdoor lounge, locker room and a mani-pedi area, but it packs a big experience. I especially liked the couple’s treatment room with its own double bath, rain shower and private lounge, and the outdoor wet area called Wata (the African word for “water”) Passage – offering hot and cold plunge pools and semi-private Asian bath.
The vibe here is a fusion of African, Caribbean and Asian with pretty much everything holistic and nature-inspired including products made with natural ingredients. I had the Mocha Rum Wrap and the therapist blended the ingredients, including real Bahamian rum and all-natural local honey, right in front of me as I sat sipping a freshly-squeezed juice cocktail while listening to more of Marley’s feel-good music wafting through the air.
Luxurious Mandara Spa is a refuge in the bustling Atlantis Resort
At the other end of the size scale, the luxurious Bali-inspired Mandara Spa at Atlantis offers 47 treatment areas in two-level refuge from the mega resort’s Vegas-meets-Disney environment. Rich dark woods, comfortable furnishing, water features and a prevailing sense of calm provide the yin to the yang of the bustling Atlantis casino.
From the spa’s extensive menu of services, I enjoyed the Lime and Ginger Body Scrub which turned out to be more of an impressively-administered full body treatment than a mere scrub. For those looking for something extra special at Mandara, I’d recommend the Villa Bathing Rituals offered in a beautiful spa suite built for two, or the combination day packages with captivating names such as Cleito’s Tropical Tryst and Poseidon’s Awakening.
Red Lane Spa’s Zen Garden is as exclusive as it gets
Somewhere in between the intimate and the grand is Red Lane Spa, the spa brand for Sandals Resorts. Shortly after settling into my butler-attended suite at Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort, I boarded the luxury resort’s ferry to Sandals Key, a private island a three-minute cruise from the pier. This is where guests will find Red Spa’s Zen Garden, one of three spas at this “luxury included” resort.
A collection of thatched huts that serve as treatment rooms and relaxation areas, the Zen Garden hugs one end of this tiny island. Away from the pool and dining area, it’s a quiet space with the prevailing sound nothing more than the Atlantic Ocean massaging the island’s sandy shores.
For a true island experience try the West Indian, a body treatment including elements representative of the locale – according to the therapist: spray mist for rain fall, a duvet wrap for the warmth of the people, hot stones for the climate and a sea sand foot exfoliation. It’s a wonderfully relaxing and grounding treatment that offers a true sense of place. The Zen Garden offers a limited menu – one outdoor shower, four thatched treatment huts, a Zen-like lounge and a “hut gazebo” for enjoying a spa lunch or just soaking up the ambience under a Bahamian sky, but despite its tiny size, it’s a special spa experience and a perfect complement to the romantic, candle-lit main spa which, unlike the Zen Garden, does have its own four walls.
The spa vibe is good in the Bahamas.
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