Antigua's Hermitage Bay is an eco-chic hideaway with the sort of wellness programme that puts the emphasis on soothing your soul rather than pampering your body. Certainly, the secluded setting of this 30-suite hotel is conducive to reconnecting with nature, its beach blissfully ‘private’ and its nearest neighbours too far away to bother about.
The hotel’s much-loved and charmingly intimate Garden Spa, secreted away on the lower slopes of a panoramic hillside, echoes the zen-like vibe of the rest of the hotel. It’s all rattan, seagrass and polished timber here, the relaxation terraces boasting blissful vistas of olive-green trees, pink-studded bougainvillaea shrubs and, of course, the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea.
Yet the Asian influences are hard to miss too. The hand-carved, paint-chipped doorway looks like it once belonged to an ancient Indonesian monastery. And although the product line might sound Italian, Dorissima is based upon complementary eastern medicine and the healing power of chakras.
There’s an interesting story behind Dorissima too. It was developed by Doris Brugger, a high-powered PR consultant who worked closely with the late Gianni Versace. Upset by his untimely death, she decided to travel the world and eventually found herself in Sri Lanka. Here she met a lady who introduced her to the benefits of using natural aromatic oils in beauty products. Totally hooked, she began to look at the benefits of complementary medicine. She took up yoga and meditation and became an expert on Ayurvedic practices. Her first scented body oil Aphrodite was launched in 2002 and now her line consists of seven natural body oils in 7 colours, each one referring to a different chakra colour; red for empowerment, orange for enlivening, yellow for confidence, green for harmonising, blue for clearing, indigo for inspiring and violet for spirit.
The Dorissima treatments at Hermitage Bay are carried out by expertly-trained therapists in three serene suites. Herbal teas aid in the relaxation process and soft music is played whilst the rooms are bathed in gentle coloured lights. The 2-hour ‘Colour Rituals’ begin with refreshing foot baths combining Himalayan salts, selected fruits or flowers and specially-blended essential oils like ylang-ylang, orange and lemongrass.
Treatments feature everything from hot stone massages to all-over body exfoliation, the holistic facials including cleanses, peels and soft pressure beauty massages. Complimentary Pilates, yoga and meditation classes are also held on alternate mornings on the Spa Deck, the Fitness Suite nearby if you fancy an aerobic workout too.
Dorissima Signature Treatments from US$240 per person.
For further information and room rates see www.hermitagebay.com