Capella Marigot Bay in St Lucia may sit in a secluded corner of the Caribbean — but its lunar-cycle treatments are out of the world.
Almost wrapped in a rainforest, this recently revamped hotel cascades elegantly down the mountainside to the glittering turquoise of the Caribbean. Built in three tiers, the Capella Marigot Bay Resort & Marina overlooks one of the most beautiful natural harbours anywhere.
The harbour is also reputed to be one of the safest of all and almost hurricane-proof, which is one of the reasons it is a honeypot to some of the glitziest, most glamorous yachts on the sea. From their eyrie on high, guests can watch the stylish white-sailed manoeuvrings like an ever-graceful installation.
A nearby beach is accessed by a free water-taxi service, while the harbour and marina beckon afterwards for an early evening stroll and sundowner. Along with its two restaurants and bars, the hotel also sports its own Rum Cave, where the best of the island’s produce is offered alongside those of neighbouring islands; the special tasting sessions are not to be missed. And then of course there is the Auriga Spa: unlike any other in the Caribbean, it uses indigenous plants and age-old traditions, while its programmes are based on the cycles of the moon.
Couples, honeymooners, groups of friends from both Europe and the US, scuba divers, sun-lovers, watersports and sailing enthusiasts (the latter to look and swoon).
High season is from November to March, although the weather is good all year; even when it rains, especially in high summer, the sun is rarely far behind.
Guests are almost spoilt for choice with the plethora of treatments, therapies, programmes and offerings at the spa. Using the traditional language of fwote (massage) and panse (a wrap), you can opt for one of the St Lucian exclusives such as Volcano Energy Therapy, a massage which incorporates not only indigenous ingredients but also sulphurinfused volcanic stones, or after too much sun try a Recovery Cocoon, which uses lavender and aloe to soothe and nourish.
One of the re-moisturising facials such as the Rose Crystal Lymphatic Facial is very good after a long flight, while there is a special Repair Facial for men. There are the signature two- and three-hour treatments based on the four phases of the lunar cycle — new, waxing, full and waning. All use 100 per cent organic products and are only offered when the treatment corresponds with the moon’s particular phase to ensure maximum efficacy for the guest.
Make time to see some of the island’s attractions, highlights and history. Should you want to learn to scuba dive, this is one of the few places where there is a walk-in dive (rather than falling backwards off a boat with an oxygen canister on your back), which is ideal for beginners. After a walk-in scuba dive, how about a drive-in volcano? Only in St Lucia. The sulphur springs at Soufriere are within the caldera of a dormant volcano and are one of the great tourist attractions of the island.
You can smell them long before reaching, but do what the locals do and take to the waters which are warm and reputedly good for aches and pains, and then slather on the local mud before rinsing off and heading back to the opulence of the Auriga Spa.
Spend a morning exploring the island’s capital Castries, or an evening at one of the Caribbean’s noisiest parties, the weekly Jump-up at Gros Islet.
It has to be a signature moon treatment. Each has its own colour (green for the new, amber for the waning); each has its own herb and fragrance (such as jasmine for inspiration while the moon waxes or rose for balance during the full moon).
All these treatments begin with a foot treatment and include a deep cleansing wrap, a full body massage and a facial.