Saturday,  May 28, 2022  9:50 am

On Location: “It calls you back again and again”: Agents unwind at BodyHoliday, Rendezvous in St. Lucia

On Location: “It calls you back again and again”: Agents unwind at BodyHoliday, Rendezvous in St. Lucia
From left: Lucie Leblanc, Expedia Centre de croisière; Gail Lea, Direct Travel/Founder, FAM de Femmes; Josée Poupart, Espace Voyages Marieville; Kathleen Dumontier, Voyages Chartier; Julie Cousin, Groupe MK Voyages. (Supplied)
Michael Pihach

Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and DailyXtra.ca. Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.

“Give us your body for a week and we will give you back your mind.”

That’s the motto of BodyHoliday, a spa and rejuvenation resort on Cariblue Beach in Castries in northern eastern Saint Lucia, where five Canadian travel advisors recently completed a FAM trip hosted by SunSwept Resorts.

The immersive trip from Jan 5-12, 2022, which included a stay at sister property, Rendezvous, was organized by Gail Lea, an advisor with Direct Travel and founder of the group FAM de Femmes.

Joining Lea was Kathleen Dumontier of Voyages Chartier, Josée Poupart of Espace Voyages Marieville, Julie Cousin of Groupe MK Voyages and Lucie Leblanc of Expedia Centre de croisière – all from Quebec.

BodyHoliday is boutique hotel resort and spa with 155 rooms, offering five categories and four villas. (BodyHoliday)

BodyHoliday is a boutique hotel resort and spa with 155 rooms, offering five categories and four villas.

This property prides itself on four pillars of wellbeing: relaxation, fitness, holistic nutrition (for mind, body and spirit) and restoration.

It offers many activities at its Wellness Centre, which has 33 treatment rooms, a thalassotherapy pool, a dedicated Ayurvedic temple, yoga pavilion, a specialist skin clinic, a BodyScience clinic and several fitness studios.

The luxurious Oasis Villas at BodyHoliday. (BodyHoliday)

Flowing hot oil 

Full body massages are part of the BodyHoliday experience, and Lea made a point of upgrading one of her treatments to the Ayurvedic Centre – Ayurvedic medicine (“Ayurveda” for short) is one of the world’s oldest holistic healing system.

“I never miss an opportunity to add the Shiro Dhara Treatment,” Lea said. “It involves hot oil flowing onto your third eye, [the mind’s eye], which then flows into your hair, proceeded by a soothing scalp massage, which is simply divine.”  The BodyHoliday Ayurvedic Centre. From left, front row: Josée Poupart, Espace Voyages Marieville; Spa Ambassador Jeanine, Gail Lea, Direct Travel/Founder, FAM de Femmes; Back row - Lucie Leblanc, Expedia Centre de croisière; Kathleen Dumontier, Voyages Chartier. (Supplied)

She also upgraded to a Synchronized Abhyanga massage, which consists of two therapists massaging in a four-hand synchronistic full-body massage lasting over 75 minutes. 

“This massage improves circulation, removes toxins, calms the nervous system, and enhances your immune system. Something we all could use during the pandemic,” Lea said.

BodyHoliday is an adults-only property and attracts a mix of singles, groups of friends, couples, families (with children over the age of 16) and seniors.

From left, counter clockwise: Gail Lea, Direct Travel, Founder, FAM de Femmes; Spa ambassador Jeanine; Lucie Leblanc, Expedia Centre de croisière; Josée Poupart, Espace Voyages Marieville; Kathleen Dumontier Voyages Chartier. (Supplied)

Wi-Fi is also limited to rooms or reception areas: “Which made for a very refreshing experience to see people talking to each other instead of glued to their devices,” Lea said.

Agents received their scheduled activities on arrival and in the evening, it was common to meet up at the Piano Bar before supper.

“If you are alone, you can join the singles table and make new friends,” Lea said.

Later in the evening, the group would return to the Piano Bar where Alfred “would play any song you requested.”

“BodyHoliday is a very friendly vibe and you will strike up many conversations with guests throughout your stay,” Lea said.

The property, she said, has a loyal clientele. 

From left: Josée Poupart, Espace Voyages Marieville; Gail Lea, Direct Travel, Founder, FAM de Femmes;  Spa ambassador Jeanine; Kathleen Dumontier, Voyages Chartier; Lucie Leblanc, Expedia Centre de croisière. (Supplied)

“It is not out of the ordinary to hear clients telling you they have been back 10, 15, 20, 25 times over the years,” she said. “I, personally, have returned more than 10 times for a total of 17 weeks."

“It is a place that calls you back again and again.”

Couples reset at Rendezvous

Sister property Rendezvous opened in 1966 initially as a family home with small guest houses to receive family and friends. 

Over the years, it has become a luxurious property consisting of 100 rooms ranging from garden view guest rooms to beachfront suites and cottages. 

Poolside at Rendezvous. (Supplied)

The small size creates “a sense of intimacy and sophistication,” personalized service, Lea said.

The property is set on the soft white sandy beach of Malabar and it also caters to an adults-only luxury clientele.

Rendezvous is couples oriented, ranging from newlyweds to those celebrating their silver or gold jubilee anniversary. 

There are options for a “relationship reset,” be it by planning a “Celebrate Each Other” side-by-side massage at The Spa in the Water Garden, enjoying a “Romance by the Sea” package with live entertainment or a private candlelight dinner in a secluded area just for two.   

Toes in sand dining at Rendezvous Malabar restaurant. Clockwise: Josée Poupart, Espace Voyages Marieville; Gail Lea, Direct Travel/Founder, FAM de Femmes; Kathleen Dumontier, Voyages Chartier; Julie Cousin, Groupe MK Voyages; Lucie Leblanc, Expedia Centre de croisière. (Supplied)

For clients who want a more active vacation, there’s a choice of scuba diving, tennis, golf, windsurfing, and AquaFit, just to name a few options all covered by the all-inclusive rates.

New wellness programs 

Lea believes Saint Lucia has been “proactive” in its approach to COVID-19 health and safety, which can be reviewed here.

At BodyHoliday, new programs were created to address COVID-related wellness issues, such as heightened stress levels, strains on relationships, career uncertainty, as well as compromised health due to illness. 

The new packages focus on everything from general wellbeing to respiratory restoration to immunity strengthening to corporate health. (Click here to learn more).

Help clients understand price & value 

How can travel agents position these two luxurious properties?

“Help your clients understand the price and value aspect,” Lea said. “All too often agents forget they are not spending their budget but that of the clients’.  Do not limit yourself by assuming it is too expensive.  Do your research and really calculate all that is included in the package.”

Tropical views at BodyHoliday. (BodyHoliday)

Lea says she has “yet to see a client complain” about the price.

“Book your client at one of these properties and you will soon find them looking to book again and again,” she said. “You will gain many referrals.”

As far as client booking trends are concerned, Lea said she is seeing a willingness to spend more, try new things and put wellbeing first.

“People are looking for a deeper meaning in their own life and the connections they build with others,” she said. “I feel it is a positive outcome from the pandemic and the endless lockdowns." 

“It’s a chance to go within and find deeper meaning and connection, and these two properties offer exactly that.”


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