When you think of Jamaica, reggae music and jerk meats probably pop into your head pretty quickly. But it's time to add spas to that list. Boutique spas at some of Jamaica's most intimate hotels are upping their game by taking full advantage of peaceful shorelines from Montego Bay to Negril. By relying on local ingredients and product lines with roots in Jamaica, a sustainable spa trip is, one might say, no problem, mon. After your treatment, retire to your stylish room or your hotel's private beach to continue pampering.
The Spa at Round Hill Hotel & Villas
Ralph Lauren vacations here. And he even has a say in recent villa renovations—inside each of the 36 stark-white rooms in the Pineapple House are accents of cobalt blue and white, along with punches of hot pink, and four-poster beds donned with crisp white sheets.
The Spa at Round Hill Hotel & Villas is on the property's quieter side, tucked into an 18th Century Great House: at the end of a shaded walkway, and beyond the restaurant and bar (where breakfast means fresh-squeezed juices like mango-ginger or cherry). Sugar scrubs used for massages can be customized (vanilla, coffee, lemongrass, pimento, and pineapple) and the services are unique, like the Hangover Massage. After your treatment, visit the "relaxation lounge": a hammock just a few steps from the water. Next, make a wish before tossing a gemstone (provided by your spa therapist) into the cove. Outdoor yoga classes are occasionally taught on the spa terrace.
FieldSpa at GoldenEye Hotel & Resort
Oracabessa Bay, near Ocho Rios
Owned by Chris Blackwell (founder of Island Records/Island Outpost, Bob Marley recorded), Goldeneye Hotel & Resort sports some serious literary cred as the former home of Ian Fleming, who wrote all 14 James Bond novels there.
It also flaunts a spa where local ingredients—like sea salt, pimento, wild Jamaican ginger and lime, and even seaweed—are used for treatments (including bush bathes, drawn outdoors), and equally relaxing activities like sunset yoga and lunchtime meditation are offered. Services are provided in open-air treatment rooms and to arrive, simply hop in a kayak or swim through the lagoon from your accommodations.
Once a vacation spot for rock stars like Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, and the Rolling Stones, this boho-chic getaway consists of octagon-shaped villas perched above Pristine Cove that serve as accommodations and also, the spa. Tucked into the Rockhouse Hotel's spa pavilion, which debuted a few years ago, is a quiet oasis beginning with the trickling water fountain in the entryway. Caribbean Essentials, which is an all-natural Jamaica-made product line folding in local ingredients, is used in many of the treatments conducted in the pavilion's private rooms behind tall, rustic wooden doors. Oil blends for massages range from "Rapture" (vanilla, coffee, cinnamon, and orange) to "Release" (spearmint, basil, lemon, and peppermint). The Blue Mountain Coffee Scrub uses Blue Mountain coffee (grown in Jamaica) with orange, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and brown sugar.
Strawberry Hill Hotel & Spa
Blue Mountains, near Kingston
At another Chris Blackwell property, guests here bunk in a dozen 19th Century Georgian-style cottages that are 3,000 feet above sea level in the Blue Mountains (where Jamaica's famous coffee is grown). (Fitting as Strawberry Hill Hotel & Spa is the site of a former coffee plantation.)
Last fall, fresh off a refurbishment, the property reopened. At The Living Spa, ayurvedic-inspired treatments, a yoga pavilion, and skipping ropes provide guests with several options to relax. Attention to the local landscape is evident in many treatments, including the Blue Mountain Elixir, which begins with a full-body exfoliation using Blue Mountain locally grown coffee grounds before a rinse under seven showerheads, and a moisturizer to top it off. Even the mani/pedi has local roots: the Caribbean Therapy Manicure/Pedicure uses ingredients from local plants.
Photo credits: The Spa at Round Hill Hotel & Villas courtesy of Round Hill Hotel & Villas; Field Spa at Goldeneye Resort courtesy of Christian Horan; Rockhouse Hotel spa courtesy of DesignHotels; Strawberry Hill Hotel Spa courtesy of Strawberry Hill Hotel