CASTRIES, ST. LUCIA—Seeking to redefine the concept of a luxury wellness retreat is The BodyHoliday Le Sport, a family-owned, all-inclusive resort located here. The resort’s mantra best illustrates its guiding principle: “Give us your body for a week and we’ll give you back your mind.” Led by International Design Concepts, the design team provided its own revitalizing treatment to fully modernize the expansive property to better reflect its longtime role as a calming respite overlooking the Caribbean Sea.
“The Barnard family was really ahead of its time with The BodyHoliday concept as an all-inclusive wellness hotel well over 20 years ago. When the Barnards came up with the beginnings of an all-inclusive in the Caribbean, they added the wellness factor into their program—an extensive wellness center and spa with 35 treatment rooms included in the stay,” said Stephanie Tyler, president, International Design Concepts, based in Miami. “Everyone walks around very happy. There are also specialized practitioners and guests can sign up for all kinds of different evaluations, private training and studies.”
A full-scale renovation for the property began in earnest in 2010 when Tyler’s team updated all of the public spaces and, more recently, the design firm revamped the luxury oceanfront junior suites and garden view rooms. The resort’s multiphase transformation is ongoing with more projects slated for 2017.
“To achieve this kind of renovation in the Caribbean, we have to have a good team on board and do a lot of planning. Materials come from everywhere and we are often bidding out projects. It’s a tough one for hoteliers that don’t want to go out of circulation while guests are in-house, it’s not an easy job. If the property closes at all, it’s a short period of time or we work in areas that don’t affect the guest experience,” Tyler explained.
The resort’s design scheme was influenced by the owners’ creative vision, while also taking its cues from the local landscape to set a scene of serenity for wellness seekers. In its previous iteration, the resort featured dark mahogany moldings and furniture was larger scale, so the designers sought to refine the look enabling guests to embrace the mountain and ocean views. In addition, the color palette was softened and the wood tones appear bleached by the sun like driftwood.
“The rooms are meant to be light and easy, breezy spaces. Previously, they were heavily decorated and had patterned drapes and, now, we’ve stepped back to invite clean, modern interiors. These suites open to bathrooms with custom tubs that appear to float,” she said. “There is a billowy, soft feeling with the new drapes. Influenced by the focus on wellness, there is no TV in the room but they’ve added technology such as Bluetooth for music throughout the space. There’s an iPad to update schedules for massage times and treatments. In that way, the brand influences the movement we’re doing in the guestrooms.”
To indulge the senses and foster relaxation, other in-room amenities include a pillow menu where guests can decide what kind of pillow they’d like and, each evening, a tray is delivered with an Asian-inspired tea, according to Tyler. Much has been done to bring the property into the present, while staying true to what guests love about the resort.
“It really worked the way it was, but it was a traditional feeling. They wanted the brand to be more aligned with the aesthetics,” she said. “It was key to minimize the visuals as less is more, which often works in Caribbean design. You don’t need to overstate everything.”