Living the Good Life
Four transcendent Caribbean eco-resorts show us how to expand our horizons whilst shrinking our carbon footprints.
Words by Lucy Ranyell.
Secret Bay, Dominica
Integrating mind, body and spirit comes easily at this luxury, eco-hotel comprising two villas and two bungalows. Minimising harm to the local area was pivotal in the planning for Secret Bay, with no cutting of trees or site excavation. Built by hand from Guyanese Greenheart hardwood and designed to maximise the natural beauty of the area, the properties are generously positioned across four-acres to ensure privacy and seclusion, offering glorious views over the Caribbean Sea and rainforest-covered mountains.
Where jungle meets beach, Secret Bay’s two microclimates boast two beaches, a river and an intriguing sea cave to stimulate the senses and engage the imagination. The emphasis is on exclusivity: here, you will find no front desk, restaurant or common swimming pool. Instead, each guest is treated to a pre-stocked fridge, with meals prepared and served in the privacy of your villa. All leisure needs, from yoga and massage to a private, for-your-eyes-only one-man jazz concert can easily be arranged and there is a concierge on hand to plan all activities and tours. With service and settings like these, Secret Bay is a hush hush green destination worth keeping.
Sandals Grande Riviera, Jamaica
Tucked amidst the tranquil St. Ann Mountains, luscious foliage, babbling brooks and powder white beaches, you will discover the private haven of Sandals Grande Riviera Villas & Great House. Sheltered under dreamy tree canopies and perfumed by aromatic night blooming jasmine, you become part of a hidden world where your only visitors will be the passing butterflies. Ever appreciative and mindful of the earth’s natural resources, Sandals’ progressive Earth Guard environmental management programme encourages reduced energy and water consumption, improved solid waste and wastewater disposal, air pollution prevention, protection of marine life and the fostering of strong bonds with local communities. Additionally, socially responsible efforts include tree planting and nature tours to encourage wildlife and flora preservation.
Sandals Grande Riviera Beach & Villa Golf Resort has been recognised for its environmental efforts by EarthCheck, a leading certification and benchmarking organisation, which has awarded the resort platinum level certification. Located on the Caribbean Riviera, the resort prides itself on caring for the local environment. A recent initiative has been the Sandals Foundation Marine Sanctuaries Project, which created a protected marine area near the resort to educate local school children and fishermen about the value of marine life, preservation and sustainability. Holiday-makers at this popular all-inclusive retreat can sleep easy knowing that this resort looks after its habitat, ensuring that all land and water activities can peacefully co-exist with conservation efforts.
Cooper Island Beach Club, BVI
Existing in harmony with the tropical surroundings is exemplified by life at Cooper Island Beach Club in the British Virgin Islands. Here you will find no busy streets, nightclubs or shopping malls, instead an escape to barefoot luxury that is truly nature’s little secret.
Cottages nestle amongst lush tropical landscaping and offer panoramic views from the balconies of The Sir Francis Drake Channel and islands. Open plan room’s feature recycled teak furniture in driftwood tones; louvered windows and vaulted ceilings that invite in balmy seas breezes. Coral stone bathrooms allow you to indulge in guilt free bathing with rainwater harvested from the heavens and heated by the warm tropical sun. Completing this environmental cycle, 70 percent of power is provided by a solar panel system, wastewater irrigates the gardens and all palm fronds, garden waste and vegetable peelings are turned into compost and mulch.
Be at one with nature as you share the island with a variety of wildlife from hermit crabs, Anole lizards, diving pelicans, hummingbirds to sea stars, turtles and passing humpback whales – all living testaments to the success of this pro-earth paradise. Re-energise your body with the simple pleasures of kayaking, swimming, snorkelling and scuba-diving or soothe your soul with a call-out spa treatment featuring only au natural marine and botanical products. Sip a cocktail at The Bar, reclining on furnishings fashioned from recycled fishing boats or melt into the blissful oblivion of the sensual surroundings. Cooper Island Beach Club certainly checks all the boxes when it comes to nurturing the mind, body and environmental spirit.
The BodyHoliday, St Lucia
Many of us would give our right arms to hear The BodyHoliday promise just once in a lifetime: “Give us your body for a week,” they pledge, “and we’ll give you back your mind.” Embodying the concept of a holistic vacation for mind, body and spirit, the resort offers relaxation, restorative beauty, exercise and a healthful diet. Situated on a private cove on the northwest tip of St. Lucia, The BodyHoliday provides a luxurious, all-inclusive experience on Cariblue’s dreamy crescent beach. Surrounded by 42-acres of lush tropical gardens, its recent $20 million renovation means it can now boast not only an infinity swimming pool and boardwalk, but an expanded watersports centre.
Blending function and design, the resort’s ambience echoes in every aspect the qualities of health and mindfulness sought out in the guest experience. This dynamic and positive state of wellbeing is reflected in an array of nourishing menu options served in each of the resort’s five food and beverage venues - nurturing guests, quite literally, from the inside out.
For those seeking the ultimate in privacy, The Penthouse Suite is designed specifically for total mind, body and spirit relaxation. Its open plan, airy layout includes both wet-bar and a 360-degree, rotating flat-screen television for viewing on either side of the suite. Better yet, for a unique in-room spa experience, the bathtub with views out over the endless blue seas cannot be missed. Indulge in the private Turkish-style marble hammam, whose heated massage bed and mosaic walls are complemented by a steam room with a rain-head shower guaranteed to wash away all your cares. One thing is for sure: honouring yourself and the environment has never felt so good.
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