In a way, a Caribbean vacation is one big spa trip. Lounging on a cushy daybed or a palapa-roofed terrace on a spectacular beach does instant wonders for melting stress far, far away. And the Caribbean Sea provides all the hydropathy goodness you need (but OK, steam baths, private pools, ice rooms, and other spa amenities are nice add-ons). For those of you out there who want to push the boundaries of bliss, here are the resorts in Turks and Caicos, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Bermuda, the Bahamas, and St. Lucia with the very best spas. (You might be surprised at how much more effective a massage can be when it’s given in an open-air hut at the top of a cliff overlooking the sea…)
Accessed via a 30-minute boat ride from Providenciales, this 1,000-acre resort on a private island is the definition of tranquility. Gorgeous landscapes and expansive accommodations aside, the resort’s COMO Shambhala Spa is the major draw for many guests. The world-renowned sanctuary focuses on Asian-inspired holistic therapies and Ayurvedic treatments, as well as massages and facial treatments. Each treatment room includes a Japanese soaking tub, and additional spa features include a separate infinity-edge pool, his and hers whirlpools and steam rooms, a yoga pavilion, a Pilates studio, and a boutique -- all with breathtaking views of North Caicos and the sea.
Considered one of the best spas in the Caribbean, the large, award-winning Spa at the Palms offers a decadent experience in a tranquil garden setting. A meditative courtyard pond is framed with columns, palms, and a flower-bearing arbor and individual treatment cabanas line the sides of a shallow, T-shaped reflecting pool -- the spa's centerpiece. Although you do not technically have to have a spa appointment to enjoy the impressive relaxation lounge or spacious locker rooms, access to the steam room and sauna are via treatment bookings only.
Perched on a cliff by the ocean, this luxurious Cap Cana all-inclusive looks like a Spanish castle town. The romantic resort's extensive spa area has a relaxation lounge with rainfall and bucket showers, whirlpools, a sauna and steam room, and a half-moon-shaped pool in a private courtyard. There are also massage cabins, a beauty salon with a bridal suite, and a juice bar.
Rosewood’s decadent, 12,000-square-foot spa, Sense, is often lauded as one of the best in Bermuda (and not surprisingly, it's also one of the most expensive). Here, treatments focus on wellness and relaxation and range from express facials to full-day spa journeys. The spa even offers a junior menu. Not to be missed is the beautiful relaxation pool, a tranquil space with wicker lounge chairs and a trickling fountain. Advanced reservations for spa treatments are necessary -- we watched plenty of guests come into the spa looking for same-day appointments, all of which were denied due to unavailability.
Jamaica's iconic Half Moon resort is home to the spectacular Fern Tree spa, which is in turn home to gorgeous private gardens (filled with flowers, herbs, and fruit trees -- apple, plum, and grapefruit), as well as multiple exclusive pools (a splash pool, a soaking pool, and a swimming pool, in addition to a number of hot tubs). The pools are located in and between the spa's series of one-story buildings that also house a nail salon, a library of New Age books, and a studio for yoga, Pilates, and meditation (classes cost extra). The Fern Tree Spa offers massages, skin treatments, hair and makeup services, and manicures and pedicures.
The spa experience at Round Hill -- easily one of the best and most beautiful resorts in Jamaica -- begins before treatments even begin: Guests can first unwind in a padded lounge chair, cabana, or hammocks on the spa's beachfront lawn. A large salon with hair, makeup, and nail services is located inside the spa, and treatment rooms each feature a bathroom and balcony overlooking the pool, lawn, and sea. Throughout the stone-lined, jungle-filled grounds are relaxation enclaves where cozy couches invite guests to linger in the midst of nature. And at the top of a stone staircase that winds through the thicket, an outdoor hydrotherapy treatment space surrounded by breadfruit trees, palms, and chenille plants offers seclusion.
This super-luxe resort is called One&Only for good reason -- there’s nothing quite like it on Paradise Island, or anywhere in the Bahamas for that matter. The Balinese-style spa has eight treatment villas with teak massage tables. Each villa has a private garden area with outdoor jetted tubs and day beds where guests can sip Japanese tea and relax.
The intimate and secluded organic spa takes advantage of its lush, natural setting with numerous outdoor treatment areas (and even indoor treatment rooms feature large windows lined by bamboo) and outdoor water treatment areas with hot and cold tubs. Pre or post-treatment, guests can relax in the outdoor meditation area.
Sugar Beach's renowned Rainforest Spa blends into its forested setting. The romantic tree-house spa -- one of the best in St. Lucia -- has a long entry hall made entirely from wood and tree-house treatment rooms, each with a private shower. There are also a manicure and pedicure area, relaxation pavilion, and traditional steam dome. Natural and holistic treatments (many of which use ingredients from nearby volcanic springs and plantations) include bamboo massages, hot rock therapies, facials, and body wraps and salt scrubs.
Jamaica's hippest and most luxurious resort, GoldenEye is the former home of Ian Fleming, and is where he wrote all 14 of his James Bond novels. Modern-day GoldenEye occupants who are feeling slightly less prolific can indulge a spa treatment in one of the three open-air tree-house rooms at FieldSpa, which overlooks the resort's peaceful lagoon. (Guests can even kayak from their cottages to the spa's dock if they're so inclined -- each guest room comes with its own kayak for use at any time, whether to explore the quiet lagoon or venture out into the Caribbean.) Treatments range from massages and salt scrubs to facials and wraps. The spa also coordinates activities like sunset yoga and core fitness classes.
The 96-room Zoetry Agua is one of the most luxurious and tranquil all-inclusive resorts in the Dominican Republic -- and it's gorgeous spa is one of the country's best. Housed in a separate open-air, thatched-roof structure, Zoetry's spa features beautiful carved-wood furnishings, breezy white curtains, and potted plants. The three-section indoor pool is outlined with smooth pebbles, and features hydro-massage jets, cascade showers, and an attached whirlpool.
Considering that the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana has 1,790 rooms, 13 pools and restaurants, 23 bars, and the Dominican Republic’s largest casino, it's no surprise that the on-site spa is equally massive. Rock Spa has 46 treatment rooms, six outdoor palapas, multiple hydrotherapy pools, a steam room, sauna, and an ice room. Treatments run the gamut, from massages to facials, but perhaps the most interesting is the Rhythm and Motion treatment, a synchronized massage that follows the rhythms and motions of an individually curated playlist.
The sprawling Secrets Wild Orchid is one of the more luxurious adult-only all-inclusive resorts in Montego Bay, and has a laundry list of property features, including an expansive spa. The Secrets Spa by Pevonia's treatment menu ranges from traditional facials and massages to mud baths and hydrotherapies. Perks include a relaxation room with hot and cold pools, a yoga garden, a hair salon, and a boutique. Locker rooms also include saunas, steam rooms, pressure showers, and Swiss showers.
The spa at Breathless Punta Cana is truly, well, breathtaking. The space features high-tech massage rooms, a pool, a salon, and a juice bar with snacks. The adjacent, light-filled fitness center is open to all guests. It has over a dozen cardio machines, as well as strength-training machines, free weights, and balance balls.
Tucked into the beautiful cliffs of Negril, the peaceful SPA Retreat Boutique Hotel has an outdoor spa facility overlooking the Caribbean. Dedicated spa staff provide treatments like beach pedicures and body scrubs using all-natural and organic ingredients (the aloe and cucumber wrap is especially appealing after a day in the sun). Couples can sign up for massage lessons followed by a 60-minute couple's relaxation massage.
The spa at this upscale, adult-only all-inclusive property is a retreat in itself. The all-white, bi-level Miile Spa features a hair and nail salon, several treatment rooms (including a special Bridal Suite), sauna, whirlpool, small pools, and a peaceful courtyard with palapa cabanas.
The lush, laid-back Rockhouse is a holistic haven, with gourmet dining, morning yoga, and beautiful eco-appropriate design. Spa treatments can be performed in either the resort's earthy, thatched-roof spa -- which is centered around a pond filled with lily pads and a trickling fountain -- or at "massage point," a freestanding, clifftop hut on a private sundeck, where guests hear little but the sound of waves crashing into the rocky outcroppings below.
Jakes is arguably Jamaica’s first boutique hotel, with 84 cottages, rooms, and villas set along secluded Treasure Beach. Hippy-chic guests rooms without phones, TVs, or Wi-Fi and open-air spa treatment areas perched right next to the sea are designed to help guests unplug completely. Above the spa's main adobe-style building sits an open-air yoga studio displaying 180-degree sea views.