Once a British colony, Barbados, an island located in the Western Atlantic Ocean and east of the Caribbean Sea, is now a popular destination thanks to its luxe hotels, lively nightlife, and welcoming Bajan hospitality. Maintaining a strong British influence, the inviting island is dotted with rum shops and sugarcane fields, which serve as a reminder of its rich history as home to one of the world's largest sugar industries. Today, one of those sugar plantations serves as the spectacular setting for the legendary Sandy Lane.
Ronald Tree, the grandson of Chicago department store magnate Marshall Field, built the five-star Barbadian luxury resort in 1961 after falling in love with the island and its people. It wasn't long before it garnered a devoted following, including such A-listers as Maria Callas, Greta Garbo, Mick Jagger, Aristotle Onassis, Frank Sinatra, and Natalie Wood, to name just a few. The property was later sold in 1967 to the largest hotel company in the world at that time and then again in 1996 to Dermot Desmond, J.P. McManus, and partners. After a multi-million-dollar overhaul and expansion, it was re-opened in March 2001 with the addition of a stunning 47,000-square-foot spa.
The spa's 11 deluxe treatment suites feature either a private garden or a private pool.
Located in a stand-alone Romanesque-style building, The Spa at Sandy Lane invites guests to indulge in traditional cultural therapies from the Caribbean, Europe, and the Far East. With 13 treatment rooms, the spa is able to comfortably accommodate 65 clients a day. The other 11 rooms are deluxe treatment suites, which offer a private shower, a bathroom, changing facilities, and either a private landscaped garden or a hydrotherapy pool. Guests can also avail themselves of the spa's crystal laconium steam room, ice cave, and hydrotherapy pool.
The relaxation room at The Spa at Sandy Lane (Barbados) is a luxurious place in which to retreat both pre- and post-treatment.
In creating the menu, spa director Jo Bullock sought to introduce exciting signature treatments that use indigenous ingredients. "Aromatherapy Associates has worked with Sandy Lane to create a signature range of products that enhance the treatment menu and utilize the skill base of our therapists," says Bullock. Some of the signature treatments offered include the Bajan Head Massage ($150, 30 minutes), the Bajan Sugar Cane Scrub ($110, 25 minutes), and the Bajan Four-Handed Massage ($315, 60 minutes). For guests who can't get enough of Barbados, there is the Bajan Experience at Sandy Lane ($530, 2 hours 45 minutes). It begins with a relaxing Foot Soak and a glass of Mauby, a traditional Bajan drink made with sugar and the bark of a small tree native to the Caribbean and South Florida. Guests are then treated to a Bajan Sugar Cane Scrub, a Sandy Lane Full Body Massage, either a De-Stressing Soother Body Wrap or Rose Hydrating Body Wrap, and a Bajan Head Massage. A light healthy lunch at the Spa Café caps off the perfect Barbadian day.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP RIGHT: Soothing body treatments, playful spa fountains, an inviting freshwater pool, and indulgent alfresco footbaths all beckon guests to the spa.
In addition to Aromatherapy Associates, the spa also carries Dr. Hauschka Skin Care products, which are used in the Euphoria Facial ($180, 60 minutes), the Renewal Facial ($180, 60 minutes), the Rainforest Facial ($180, 60 minutes), and more. The spa also offers a host of treatments for those expecting, as well as new moms. Pregnant spa-goers can opt for the Real Nurturing Experience ($200, 60 minutes), which is a balancing massage designed to soothe the body and nourish the skin. New moms can help get their bodies back in shape thanks to the Rose Hydrating Cocoon ($150, 60 minutes). Specially chosen oils help restore the skin and treat any existing stretch marks. There's even a Before & After Baby package ($350, 2 hours 30 minutes), which includes the Renew Rose Leg and Foot Refresher, the Real Nurturing Experience, and the Renew Rose Radiance Facial.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP RIGHT: A refreshing ice cave, a private therapy pool, and a warm welcome from the spa's reception staff make each spa visit a worthwhile experience.
A beloved destination among golfers, Sandy Lane features three renowned golf courses, the Old Nine, the Country Club, and the Green Monkey. As a result, the resort attracts its fair share of both recreational and more serious golfers. In fact, Tiger Woods chose to tie the knot at the resort in 2004. Capitalizing on the golf tie-in, the spa recently introduced the Golf Tonic ($330, 2 hours 45 minutes) to help prepare muscles for a round of golf and the Golfer's Retreat ($360, 2 hours 30 minutes), to treat aching muscles after a day on the greens.
The Spa at Sandy Lane
A treasured escape for discriminating travelers and savvy spa-goers, Sandy Lane and its tempting spa virtually guarantee a tranquil stay. The resort was closed the month of September to facilitate several refurbishments. During this time, the spa underwent a soft makeover of its specialty treatment rooms with the addition of new Oakworks beds. A new sauna and rhassoul were also added, along with experience showers. "The spa team also received extensive training and retraining in areas including product lines, quality of service, and treatment standardization—all in an effort to boost current practices," says Bullock. With 13 full-time therapists, two part-time therapists, two nail technicians, two fitness instructors, and a pool of on-call therapists trained to Sandy Lane standards and protocols, the staff stands ready to welcome Sandy Lane's discerning clientele. "Most of our therapists are Barbadians, but we also have therapists from other Caribbean islands and India," says Bullock. "All have international qualifications, and extensive training is given as an ongoing process to ensure that the level of service remains consistent." Thanks to the recent improvements, Bullock's greatest challenges —upholding the resort's Five Diamond rating and making certain that every element of the spa exceeds guest expectations—should prove effortless to conquer.