Even on the moneyed west coast of Barbados, there aren’t many spas — although of course glitzy Sandy Lane bucks that trend.
But, now, on the south coast — not far from the airport — a brand new one has just opened at the renovated O2 Beach Club.
Building began pre-pandemic, doubling the size of the all-inclusive hotel and raising the standard, too.
Caribbean pick-me-up: Pictured above is the newly opened O2 Beach Club on the south coast of Barbados
Building on the O2 Beach Club (pictured) began pre-pandemic, doubling the size of the all-inclusive hotel
Kate enjoys a signature Vagus nerve meditative massage at the O2 Beach Club’s spa (pictured)
Treatments galore: The spa, which is all-white and bright, has 10 treatment rooms (file image)
The 9th floor is for ‘fine dining’, the one below is the spa — complete with the only hammam on the island — and beneath that are luxurious rooms with giant beds and balconies (ask for an ocean view) and a free mini bar stocked daily.
I’m awaiting the signature Vagus nerve meditative massage — a bundle of fibres I had never heard of.
As I discover, it’s the longest cranial nerve in the body, running from the brain to the gut, and it helps to regulate stress, rest and digestion.
The spa is all-white and bright, with 10 treatment rooms.
My 80-minute treatment will apparently engender a sense of calm via aromatic compresses, massage, cranial holds, essential oils and some pulsing and pressing on various points of the nerve.
It’s going to create a ‘meditative state of consciousness’.
I have never tried meditation, but this is so intensely enjoyable that I lose track of time (and nod off at one point) and by the end I feel thoroughly soothed, energised and surprisingly moved.
‘There are a couple of smallish swimming pools and a pleasingly stern sign telling guests not to reserve sun loungers,’ writes Kate. Above is the adults-only swim-up bar, which is set beside one of these pools
Elsewhere at this resort, which has a 1,000ft beach, there are a couple of smallish swimming pools and a pleasingly stern sign telling guests not to reserve sun loungers.
There are also two great rooftop bars and restaurants, and a newly extended white sandy beach.
The sea on this stretch can be good for bodyboarding as well as swimming, while the bay next door is calmer, easily reached and a good excuse to stop at a roadside shack for a roti of lightly curried chicken in a folded pancake. The new building dwarfs its neighbours and is painted muted shades rather than paintbox yellows and pinks, so not everyone is pleased.
Kate says that rooms at the resort are ‘luxurious’ with ‘giant beds’ and balconies
The rooftop pool deck at the O2 Beach Club. A local artist tells Kate that the resort’s ‘charm and elegance’ enhances the coast
Some locals were upset that a popular bar had to be demolished to make way for it, while others felt protective of their low-key, relaxed neighbourhood and didn’t think it would fit in.
Some people were worried that the public beach would be off limits, though there are no private beaches in Barbados and it’s still easily accessible for all.
The property also commissioned local artists to provide art work for it. Under the shade of trees on the beach, we have a painting lesson with one contributor, the ultra-warm livewire Yasmin Vizcarrondo.
The whole group takes it surprisingly earnestly, all of us keen for her encouraging comments, though my own ‘piece’ remains strictly appointment- only viewing.
When choosing where to wine and dine, guests can pick between the two great rooftop bars and restaurants at the resort. Pictured is the Bluefin grill
The swim-up suites at the O2 Beach Club. ‘For those who love the Caribbean sun but also can’t do without a spa offering an array of wacky treatments, then this is well worth saving up for,’ says Kate
Another contributing artist, Sian Pampellonne, tells me the new hotel is a ‘wonderful addition’ to the south coast.
She adds: ‘It’s luxurious without the pretentious feeling that many locals have about the west coast. Its charm and elegance enhances this coast beautifully’. The O2 has certainly brought a more affordable taste of luxury — though it’s still not cheap.
And for those who love the Caribbean sun but also can’t do without a spa offering an array of wacky treatments, then this is well worth saving up for.
Seven nights at the five-star, all-inclusive O2 Beach Club & Spa cost from £2,672 pp, based on two adults sharing a Luxury Ocean View Junior Suite. Price includes return flights with Virgin Atlantic to Heathrow. Visit o2beachclubbarbados.com for more information.
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