Sandals Emerald Bay is the quintessential retreat for honeymoons, second honeymoons, first anniversaries, second anniversaries, etc. (it is, after all, targeted toward couples). Everywhere you turn at the all-inclusive resort in Great Exuma, Bahamas, you see duos in love. And really, it’s not difficult to transition to a dreamy state at this Caribbean haven, where pleasant temperatures pair with fine white sand and crystal-clear blue sea. And then there’s the intoxicating and addictive island vibe, where everyone moves slower and takes a cue from the locals, relaxing immediately and unapologetically. Simply put, it’s pure romance.
And the romance extends to the Sandals’ Red Lane® Spa. Here, twosomes can unwind with Caribbean-influenced treatments a deux, celebrating their adoration with side-by-side services with such titles as the “Scents of Love” Couples Massage. The starry-eyed tone is palpable, a realization made clear to me on a recent Sandals Spa Weekend at the Emerald Bay location, which I enjoyed not with my loved one, but with a group of amazing journalists from across the globe. So what was a group of solo spa-goers like us to do in this kingdom of coupledom? Indulge as well, of course—Red Lane Spa is also exceptional for individuals.
A Spa Love Affair
The extensive Red Lane Spa collection of treatments has been rekindled and new signature services created under the direction of Corporate Spa Director Patrick Huey. All encompass a three-pronged focus—connection, time, and love; as a bonus, an all-natural product line scheduled to roll out in early 2015 promotes an additional spark to the new menu options. Made up of lotions, scrubs, oils, bath salts, and more, the assortment of aromatic (yet paraben-, sulfate-, and synthetic fragrance-free) products represents each of the regions Sandals Resorts inhabits (Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, and, of course, The Bahamas) by way of native scents and extracts, from lemongrass and guava to green tea and nutmeg. I was treated to a sneak peek of both treatments and products during this special spa weekend, and so began my love affair with Red Lane Spa.
4 Days, 4 Spa Treatments
Through the entry doors of the 16,000-square-foot spa at Sandals Emerald Bay is a spacious, airy reception and retail area, where a host awaits with a cool towel, and an island-chic feel entices. The freshly sophisticated design esthetic floods the spa: Sixteen beautiful treatment rooms christened with flower names line the halls; well-appointed, roomy locker rooms feature private showers; and two relaxation lounges and an outdoor pool area reflect the crisp interiors with a beach-y vibe. Neutral tones and lofty ceilings tie everything together.
Red Lane Spa’s new services pay homage to its classic European rituals yet emphasize a Caribbean twist. My inside look into the decadent island spa experiences began with the 50-minute “States of Slow” Massage. Four options exist, but I chose the “Infinitely Loving” ritual for its exotic, rich fragrance of Chinese jasmine, complemented by long, concentrated massage strokes to relieve any tension. The effect was truly rebalancing, leaving me in a cozy, meditative-like state.
Other treatments I tested out included a fragrant scrub utilizing one of the up-and-coming products: Island Essence, a luscious blend of coconut, mango lime, and green tea extracts. The scrub ritual itself was vigorous but worth it as it left my skin silky smooth and heavily scented and my spirit invigorated. Next on the itinerary was the Red Lane “Quench & Cooling” Facial Treatment; as its name suggests, the skin-care service is designed to soothe the skin following a day basking in the Caribbean sun’s rays. Thick applications of cooling agents (colloidal oatmeal, gorgonian extract, and kola mate) were used as an antidote to ease my thirsty skin, though the innovative twist to this treatment is that it concluded with a chilled mask applied to my back.
The finale was the Raindrop Dream Massage, which can only be described as an aromatherapy massage on steroids. For 90 minutes, seven essential oils were sprinkled along my spine, reminiscent of raindrops hitting the pavement. One by one, the oils—lavender, cypress, basil, thyme, peppermint, and more—lifted my senses and provided a varying mixture of calm, positivity, and energy with their potent scents, made all the sharper as I’m encouraged to inhale and exhale deeply to optimize their full therapeutic properties.
So the verdict for this solo spa-goer? I fell in love with the new treatments and product line and predict they’ll strike a romantic note with singles and couples alike.
When not at the spa: Hit the links on the 18-hole, par-72 Greg Norman-designed golf course with six oceanfront holes; take a dip in one of three freshwater pools, one with a swim-up bar and fire pit; dine in one of seven restaurants (Barefoot by the Sea was my favorite, though the lively Drunken Duck Pub is also worth a trip); run into a chance meeting with Sandals Founder and Chairman Gordon “Butch” Stewart, who is a frequent visitor; participate in an authentic Bahamian Junkanoo celebration; and sunbathe on the one-mile stretch of beach that borders Emerald Bay—among the many offerings at this 500-acre island resort.
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