As a self-admitted massage junkie, I never miss the chance to visit a spa! Ranging from Conde Nast’s Top 10 Spas in North America in 2017, to Relais and Châteaux, to my at home favorites – I consider myself very well versed in the world of massages. So when the opportunity arose to stay at Belmond Cap Juluca visiting the Arawak Spa was a must.
Making my way to the spa for my appointment, I continually encountered various Cap Juluca staff members who greeted me with a smile and asked how I was. One of the most notable things about my stay at this property was the high level of customer service provided by Cap Juluca staff, which really makes you feel as if you are at home rather than a resort. With this in mind, my expectations for the spa were high, and I was excited to see what awaited me.
Arriving at the Arawak Spa, I was immediately impressed with the spectacular location. Although the entire property is oceanfront, this particular location is tucked away in an even more secluded area and, as a result, offers stand out views of the untouched beach area and surrounding vegetation which do not disappoint.
The spa also includes a private relaxation pool, along with an ideal view of the ocean from the common area and the three treatment rooms. Other highlights of the spa area fully equipped fitness studio and wellbeing boutique offering a range of products.
Thoughtfully decorated in a relaxing hue paired with Moroccan influences throughout, the design creates a tranquil ambiance that captures the essence of an island escape. The spa’s name comes from the Arawaks, who originally inhabited the land and celebrated the renewal and rejuvenation of each day by honoring Atabeyra, the mother goddess of fertility.
With a fascinating heritage, the spa celebrates Taino culture with ancient therapies, rare indigenous botanicals, and a holistic approach to healing. This in mind, the spa’s wellness offerings include treatments that embody ancient traditions paired with local products inspired by the Arawaks themselves. There really is something for everyone at the spa, ranging from beachfront cabana treatment opportunities to couple’s massages, traditional body rituals, special mother-to-be treatments, facial therapies and more.
For my appointment, I had arranged a 50 minute full body relaxing massage with massage therapist, Caroline. Upon entering the room I briefly discussed with Caroline the areas I would like her to primarily focus on – one particular area I briefly mentioned was my right lower back. I had incurred a weight lifting injury earlier in the fall, so I figured any opportunity I can get to have this particular area of my back worked on by a professional the better. After getting situated, Caroline began my massage as I enjoyed the ocean view in front of me – listening to the waves as they crashed upon the shore. Within minutes of my massage, she actually located the exact muscle of issue (this has not been at all easy for anyone else to locate), and she was able to entirely restore this muscle. After many months of exercises from my chiropractor and various other massages, I was so impressed with how easy she made it seem to correct this. I truly found every part of this 50 minute massage so relaxing, so much so, that I was surprised when it actually ended because time slipped away.
The most impressive part about Caroline was not just her abilities as a massage therapist with 18 years of experience, but also her warm and friendly personality. Often when visiting a spa, guests are reminded one way or another that this is just a visit. Caroline’s welcoming personality and passion for what she does made me all the more comfortable and made me feel more at home than a guest.
After thanking Caroline for her time, I let her know that this truly was the best massage that I had ever had. She was incredibly thankful, as I was for her wonderful massage! Walking back to my room, feeling refreshed and restored, I felt ready to tackle the rest of my day!
Early the following morning, I awoke before sunrise to attend yoga. I will be the first to admit that you certainly have to be a morning person to enjoy this activity. Although as someone who does not begin their day without coffee, I surprisingly found it easy to wake up and head to yoga with coffee on the back burner.
All yoga sessions are held on the “events lawn,” and once you see the view in person, you realize that the name of the events lawn really does not do it justice.
With a setting that could simply not be more beautiful and just the right amount of shade from the sun, there is not a better place to start off your day. My morning yoga session was led by Josh, one of the lead yoga instructors at Cap Juluca. Our scheduled session was hatha yoga, which I had briefly taken a few classes on previously. As a runner and someone who enjoys more cardio based activities, I was optimistic but slightly nervous about taking a group class, as I feared their skills would be much beyond mine. Josh shared that our class would be based around hatha yoga, which was my preference since other types of yoga can be much more challenging, and I am more of a beginner. Following Josh’s direction was easy, and within our small group, he was able to provide personalized recommendations and attention about how to improve form or what one could do to make something more challenging. This was particularly interesting because within our small group, we were all at different ability levels, and it allowed us to develop our skills and abilities more so than in a traditional group class.
Over the course of an hour, we engaged in various strength building positions. By the time we completed our lesson, I felt the benefits of my efforts and my previous day’s massage in renewed energy and revitalization prior to consuming caffeine.
Prior to completing our session, a slight drizzle had passed through, but as I walked out of the pavilion toward Cips, I was rewarded with seeing a perfect rainbow!
With such stunning surroundings before me after morning yoga, I couldn’t help but to reflect on how Cap Juluca is not just wonderful for physical wellness but mental wellness as well. With the hectic pace of everyday life, we often forget to slow down and appreciate what is directly in front of us. There is nothing more powerful than a change of perspective, and the picturesque island of Anguilla is the perfect place to restore your mind and soul.
Some photos courtesy of Belmond Cap Juluca.