St Lucia: Body (and Mind) Holiday

The last couple of weeks, if not months, have been kind of crazy. Nothing big to report, on manic working hours but just so much brain space being used up by general life admin like moving, working on some exciting potential projects and various other things that have made me feel a little unsettled. So, by the time I arrived at the airport hotel, it is safe to say that I was ready for a holiday! Luckily, I was heading off for just that.

I have been fortunate enough to travel to some lovely places this year, and while the backdrops often make it hard to believe I am working, it has almost totally been for business purposes. So, to have 6 days of HOLIDAY seemed like a total dream.

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My friend Emma and I were off to the BodyHoliday in St. Lucia for some much-needed respite where we could focus totally on our minds and bodies. I was a little apprehensive pre-arrival at the incredible timetable of activities. I knew I wanted to be active, but I also needed some time out to read my book and watch the ocean. Luckily there was ample time for both.

Stepping off the plane to a wave of warmth from the air around us was enough to paste a smile on my face, which I don't think left for the remainder of the trip! From there, we were met at the airport and whisked to the other side of the island, arriving in time for afternoon tea, a green juice and a tour of the resort that would be our home. We had an early night, ready to shake off the journey and be ready and rested ahead of all of the things we wanted to try the next day.

We woke up early, around 5.15am, without setting an alarm and went to the Treehouse to stretch ourselves with a yoga practice. Emma helped me play with my handstands and then we got ourselves

The best thing about the jet lag was that it worked in our favour and the early starts meant we managed to fit a lot in by lunch time! Every morning we enjoyed a range of activities, from open water swimming, to PT sessions, to making the most of the brilliant gym, to beach fit classes.

Breakfast was well earned, so the buffet style was perfect, although the lunches were my favourite. Most days, by lunch time we were beach bound, heads in books or assessing the conditions for water-skiing. Emma, a pro mono-skier, was eager to get in the water. I was certainly more reserved! I went in three times, and thanks to the patience and instruction of Emma and the 'boat boys' I was up in just a few go's feeling very chilled as I skimmed the water. Although video evidence suggests I was more bambi than beach babe, I was happy to be on the water rather than in it!

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On the third day, we left the resort (you wouldn't have to if you didn't want to - there is literally everything that you need at your disposal and nothing is too much to ask thanks to the wonderful staff) to hike Gros Piton, St. Lucia's most famous landmark. We took our rain macs to be cautious, stepped out of the car and were greeted by torrential rain. The hike was about to get a lot slippier...

The average time to complete the hike is 4 hours, so we were prepared for the endurance needed to get us up the mountain but we weren't quite ready for the mental concentration that we would need to get back down. We impressed ourselves getting up much faster than planned (luckily our previous day of Beach Fit, Open Water Swim and PT Session was all upper body heavy and there was only one part that required our arms to scale a wall of rocks!) but going down was the bigger test for me. When we finally reached the bottom after an epic view at the top and a cautious hike back down, we were exhausted. Another early night in store!

Emma and I took it pretty easy in the evenings, preferring to stay with our natural sleeping patterns of early nights and early rises, but not all the guests come to The BodyHoliday just for the classes. By lunch time, many of the guests have a cocktail in hand and are ready to dance the night away. Somehow, with all the evening activities, live music and cocktail parties on offer, had we not seen them on the notice board, we would have had no idea they were happening from the peace of our room as we couldn’t hear a peep. And yet however you chose to do your holiday, there is no right or wrong. No judgment if you lie in, or if you back-to-back your classes, no expectations of should and shouldn't, making the atmosphere feel inclusive and open. We did exactly what we wanted, when we wanted to and it was perfect.

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One last thing that I wanted to leave till the end - the daily treatments included in the trip. Every day, you book in for a massage, a facial or whatever else you choose from the 'menu' of hundreds of inclusive treatments. Then there are options to upgrade to different treatments or book additional ones from a broader menu to help you personalise it further. I tried a variety of things from full body massages, to a stomach massage in the Ayurvedic centre. My favourite for relaxation was this amazing Ayurvedic treatment where warm oil was dripped onto your third eye (head) continuously for an hour. It sounds silly, but it was insanely relaxing and my hair felt wonderful after too as an added bonus! Then to finish off the trip, I had a bamboo massage before leaving on the final day which worked absolute wonders for my stiff muscles and I am now trying to find somewhere back home to have the same thing!

I came home feeling lighter in body and mind, strong and relaxed, ready to take on everything waiting at home. If you are looking to find a balance between movement and stillness, yoga, fitness, beach days and mountains, then you should definitely check out the BodyHoliday. My biggest recommendation would be to have an extra day or two to explore the rest of the island, because once you're at the resort, you won’t want to leave!

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Annie Clarke