The tag line reads: “Give us your body for a week, and we will give you back your mind.” But what I’m wondering as I arrive for my two-night stay and am welcomed by a boisterous chorus of crickets is if I’m here for just two days, do they give me back a piece of my mind?
Located on the extreme northern side of the island of St. Lucia about a 20-minute drive from the capital of Castries, and about an hour away from the famous Piton volcanic peaks, Le Sport opened in the mid-’80s with health and wellness front and centre. Back then the concept of taking a holiday to launch a healthier lifestyle had not yet gone mainstream.
Clearly, the all-inclusive Le Sport was a resort ahead of its time.
In addition to the expected beach resort activities — kayaking, sailing, scuba, for instance — are those that keep many guests returning for an annual retreat. Daily back-to-back activities begin as early as 7 a.m. with a bicycle tour to nearby Pigeon Island or a guided hike, perhaps up to Mount Du Cap for a bird’s eye view of the beach. There are various levels of yoga, meditation, spinning and stretching classes, Tai Chi, introductions to fencing and martial arts ... the list goes on and on and on.
Guests are invited to do as much or as little as they want. Nothing is forced but there are a few not so subtle encouragements here and there. For instance, there are no TV sets in any of the resort’s 154 guest rooms. “We want guests out of their rooms enjoying the many activities and getting in touch with self and (if travelling as a couple) their partner,” says brand manager Judy Deterville.
There are also “eating healthy” reminders on the menus and select dishes are starred for things such as low fat and low sodium. While each of the four restaurants offers healthy choices, the selections are mixed in with holiday choices. So, if you want a burger and fries after a long lazy day of lounging under a beach umbrella —no one’s there to lay a guilt trip.
The heart of The Body Holiday at Le Sport is The Oasis. I’d say it’s one of the largest and most comprehensive spas in the Caribbean, but health and wellness leader, Matthew Powell says they don’t like to use the term spa. “We’re so much more than that,” he says. “Wellness Centre is more accurate.”
In addition to the wide range of programs, one of the main points of distinction of this beachfront all-inclusive is that spa treatments are included. Guests are entitled to one spa treatment a day as part of the package. There are seven treatments to select from, including 50-minute scrubs, facials and massages — like the full-body one I tired at the skilled hands of Heidi; one of about 45 therapists who work here. Spa manager Dr. Abhishek (a doctor of Ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy) says about half a dozen staff members are wellness practitioners brought in from different parts of the globe including those that specialize in Reiki, Balinese therapies, Ayurveda, acupuncture, nutrition/iridology and hypno and psycho therapies.
In addition to spa treatments and wellness therapies, there are also customized programs such as smoking cessation, sleeping restoration and cellulite flush. The doctor stresses this is not a restrictive place — no boot camp philosophy — but a place to make subtle but significant changes that can be taken home and implemented into everyday life. Peace of mind is an added bonus.