Grenada is a Caribbean island known for producing some of the best spices in the world, including cinnamon, nutmeg, saffron, and bay leaves. I had the good fortune to visit the "Spice Island" over Easter, and to experience a number of the luxurious resorts that dot the tropical paradise.
Stunning red heart and purple
heart wood from Venezuela.
I visited the Heaven and Earth Spa at the Calabash Hotel and Villas, a property that a waiter explained has been operating since the 1960s. Walking through the main entryway one is suddenly, and pleasantly met by a sense of Old World charm, attention to detail, and service. Acres of lawn and gently swaying palm trees evoke pre-paparazzi memories of the Santa Barbara Biltmore and the Beverly Hills Hotel at a time when quiet elegance and hushed exuberance set the tone.
The newly completed Heaven and Earth Spa is set against a hillside at the end of L’anse aux Epines Beach and facing Prickly Bay. I am told that the stairs edging up the hillside, designed with an architect’s eye towards modern art, signals something both different and original.
Like a giant tree house perched above Prickly Bay.
Corridor leading to treatment rooms.
At the top I find Sally Dawson, a Scottish woman who exudes maternal pride when showing me the obvious attributes of the Heaven and Earth Spa. I feel like I’m in a magnificent tree house. The wood is a deep, rich reddish purple. The waiting area is open and a soothing Zen-inspired CD softly mingles with waves from the beach.
Two very tranquil looking people are sipping smoothies made with ingredients grown at the Calabash. Looking down at the harbor, with a breeze flowing through the open space, sailboats gently bob against clear blue water. The sky is a slightly deeper hue. Look up or down and you are in a sublime spot.
“What kind of wood is this?” I ask.
“Purple heart and red heart,“ Sally replies.
Heaven and Earth Spa's waiting room is comforting.
Awed by the view, and salty from a day of snorkeling I elect to shower before my massage — or as they say in Grenada — my treatment. Sally, who runs the spa, shows me to a changing room as unique as the spa itself. Again, there is the beautiful, rich wood paneling; in the bathroom shower there is nothing but a wrought iron sculpture between the great outdoors and me.
Tropical indoor shower.
At first I’m a little concerned — can anyone see in? Then I realize that, open as it is, it is completed obscured by the hillside from anyone’s view. And, in fact, the openness — the fresh air, does indeed foster a sense of liberation.
The treatment rooms are a continuation of the open floor plan. Glass encloses the room while looking out one sees Prickly Bay and looking up one sees the blue sky. I begin my back massage face down. Sally, who has been a masseuse for many years, is proficient at spotting old injuries and back problems, and applying the right amount of pressure to eliminate knots and tension. Adding to my relaxation is a bowl of gold fish swimming directly below my face. It almost seems humorous to think of it, but the fish forced me to stop thinking about anything else, and simply relax.
View of the bay from the massage table.
“Would you mind if I open the window?” Sally asks.
“No, not at all.”
Suddenly a crosscurrent of fresh sea air wafts through the room, and with my eyes closed I feel like I’m suspended on a cloud. It is the most liberating setting for a massage that I have ever experienced.
A very "green" bathroom.
There is a curtain separating my room from the next one and I can tell that this would be an ideal setting for a couple’s massage. The name Heaven and Earth, I am told, comes from the ancient Chinese saying that everything should be in balance between heaven and earth.
The changing room.
The spa design includes a view from the Zen garden and treatment rooms. The sound of the waves and water from the fountain along with relaxing music, accompanied by the scent of Grenadian spices and oils, and the expertise of professional therapists cannot help but transport guests to a place of calm.
All things considered, the holistic treatment I received at the Heaven and Earth Spa at the Calabash Hotel stands out as one of the most memorable spa experiences I’ve had anywhere in the world. Well-trained masseurs or masseuses are an expected part of any successful health resort. It is the exceptional setting, and wonderful sensory components that really carry one to heaven and earth.
The Calabash Hotel and grounds.
The spa treatment prices are in line with top American spas, although, tipping is not expected.
For reservations call: 800-482-8202 or go to www.calabashhotel.com
— Feature by Linda Lane, Jetsetters Magazine Spa Editor; photos courtesy of The Calabash Hotel and Villas.