JAMAICAN RUBS, numerous Jamaican spas
JAMAICAN RUBS, numerous Jamaican spas
There’s nothing better than a good rub. I’m not talking about the spicy and delicious Jamaican jerk seasoning rub applied to a variety of Jamaican dishes which makes your taste buds rise up and dance. This kind of rub is performed by the hands of skilled therapists at numerous Jamaican spas. For this rub, the sense of taste takes a back seat to the sense of touch – one that cleanses, soothes and revitalizes as the warm breezes of Jamaica’s Caribbean Sea waft over you.
Time doesn’t stand still in Jamaica – it just pauses for relaxation and good times. My mind and body are a constant hurry up and get it done mode. As I shed Canada’s winter wear I also need to shed that philosophy. I’m in Jamaica now. I want to chill but this kind of chillin’ requires no winter clothing. For me it requires a spiked rum punch or Red Stripe beer, a comfy lounge chair, sandy beach, Reggae music and yes a daily massage. Welcome to Jamaican wellness.
Treasure Beach, located on Jamaica’s south coast, is far removed from busier tourist areas. The scenic two-hour drive from Montego Bay passes through many hilltop villages and verdant valleys but can be a bumpy ride at times. It’s worth it though to get to Jakes, an award-winning and eclectically designed boutique resort. The resort’s restaurants, bars, rooms and cottages stand out in a burst of vibrant colours. The tropical palette continues at its Driftwood Spa, with four treatment rooms on two floors built at the sea edge above coral sands. Lying down on the table I can see out to the Caribbean Sea’s warm, gentle waters as the therapist Shelley manipulates my body into a serene state.
Driftwood Spa espouses achieving harmony naturally. For many of the treatments, fresh ingredients are gathered from their own gardens as well as from Jamaica’s own Cerasee Botanicals brand. For those wanting a touch of local ingredients, try their Coffee Mocha Body Wrap with the famous Blue Mountain Coffee mixed with a side of chocolate – you will smell so nice people will want to eat you! Sun can burn and dry out the skin – nourish it with a Coconut Cream Wrap with Jamaican virgin cold pressed coconut oil and rich coconut powder complemented by shea and cocoa butters. Your skin will glisten. Jakes is a bounty for finding mind and body treasures. (www.Jakeshotel.com)
The rub tour continued further north to Negril at the chic, casually elegant and quirky Rockhouse Hotel. Sophisticated, natural and local design elements adorn the rooms and buildings combined with a fun and culture-filled atmosphere. You don’t just stay here but immerse yourself into the music, people, and most importantly the spirit of Jamaica.
This hotel was a pleasure zone for me. Joy my therapist was indeed bringing much joy to my tension filled body. Despite being petite in size, Joy’s skills as a therapist were gargantuan. Rhythmic, smooth and deeply penetrating. There was a choice of three Caribbean Essentials (made completely with Caribbean natural ingredients) aromatherapy oils: Release, Rapture or Restore. I chose the Restore oil made of Caribbean Ginger and one of my favourite ingredients, lemongrass.
I received my deep tissue massage in the temple-like Spa Pavilion. All treatments include a foot soak and mint tea. If I had more time I would have enjoyed a treatment on the rocks cliff-edge spa cabanas overlooking the Caribbean Sea or their new deep dual soaking bathtubs and couples suite. Alas, my partner in passion wasn’t with me on the trip. The range of treatments is extensive from rum wraps, Thai table and herbal poultice massages, Island Mint Tea scrubs and a variety of facials and mani-pedis. (www.rockhouse.com)
HARMONY AT THE CLIFF
Upon arrival at The Cliff hotel in Negril, I immediately felt a sense of harmony. This elegant expansive property with 33 luxurious suites and villas oozes relaxation and romance.
The KiYara spa, though small with two open-air treatment rooms, sits on top of the Negril Cliffs and offers a mesmerizing view of the Caribbean Sea. It was named KiYara which means, “Sacred place of the earth’s spirit," in honour of Jamaica's first inhabitants, the Tainos tribe. My spirit begins to rejoice as Carolyn, the spa and wellness manager, works her magic giving me their signature KiYara Sorrel Sensation Body Ritual treatment incorporating exfoliation, mask, wrap and massage using the fire-red sorrel herb, ginger, coconut oil and grains.
Since the spa cabana room is outdoors (but private and sheltered) I am surrounded by earth’s wondrous elements. I’m definitely not in Toronto anymore! Chatting with Carolyn, her passion for providing holistic services to guests is clearly evident. It’s just not a job for her. Nothing pleases her more than seeing harmony and balance return, if only for a limited time, to all the guests. www.thecliffjamaica.com
LEARNING TO BREATHE AT JACKIE’S ON THE REEF
It’s something I’ve been doing since I was in my mother’s womb – breathing. Back then I was breathing right. But like most people once we go beyond a toddler we forget how to breathe properly which is through the diaphragm. I’m here at Jackie’s On the Reef owned by Jackie Lewis in Negril. Part yoga studio, spa, small guesthouse (5 guest rooms), Jackie’s is well known to locals and spiritual seekers alike. Geared towards those looking to reconnect with spirit, nature or whatever – she welcomes all. Even though she offers traditional spa treatments like massages and scrubs she also offers more esoteric ones like ion cleanses, ear candling, past lives experience and live cell analysis with nutritional counselling.
I took part in a breathing class. Not thinking I would get much out of it, I was amazed after the class what a difference correct breathing can make! Proper breathing also taught me how easy it is to reach a state of calm and feel more energetic and connected. Wellness made simple just by breathing. Thanks Jackie! (www.jackiesonthereef.com)
Sadly my Jamaican rub tour concludes. I am however now equipped with breathing techniques and a relaxed and rejuvenated body. I now have to sustain my passion for the Jamaican spirit and rubs with the next best thing - an order of jerk chicken at a Jamaican restaurant in Toronto. Pass the hot sauce.