When you live on an island, surrounded by the life-giving, soul-nourishing sea, people tend to think your whole life is a spa retreat. That's not exactly the case—since even island people are subject to that human tendency to take things for granted. But it is true that our sea breezes, cool waters, and tropical sun are all naturally occurring, rejuvenating therapies; in fact, they have been considered as such since the very first tourists (convalescing North Americans) started visiting our shores.
Since then, the islands have combined their natural sun, sand and sea cures with modern spa facilities. At the best Bahamian spas, hot and cold therapies are applied in plunge pools, tension-releasing techniques like body massages and facials are administered, and relaxing aromatherapy is used to soothe the senses while exotic herbs and minerals serve as healing balm. Most of the spas on the list below are located within luxury hotels, but there are a few notable exceptions.
Baha Retreat Anti-Aging Spa
One of the few Bahamian-owned spas in Nassau, the Baha Retreat, is a full-service facility set in a clapboard colonial estate house. Although the wood on the outdoor staircase may creak under your feet, inside you’ll find a thoroughly modern, aromatic spa treatment area. Skilled professionals here are trained in the ancient arts of Egyptian body sugaring and Indian eyebrow threading, two of the spa’s signature treatments.
Located at the Grand Isle Resort and Spa in Great Exuma. this spa is an ideal place to relax with an organic facial or a warming hot lava shell massage. If you love hot stone massage, this variation, using heated clam shells may be your new favorite; the shells never leave your therapist’s hands or lose contact with your body, and remain hot for the full length of your treatment. You will fast learn that shells have “knuckles,” and your therapist will use them to penetrate deeply.
Island-hop to the southern Bahamas and you will find San Salvador Resort and Spa, a beach cottage resort that because of its remoteness cannot help but deliver peacefulness. The Tranquility Spa at this quiet enclave offering body scrubs with sugar and sea-salt, along with mud wraps and hot stone massages. Once you unwind at the spa there are few distractions on the small island of San Salvador to get you wound back up: enjoy yourself, the beach and the sea.
As you lay face down over the glass window floor at overwater sanctuary, you’ll be soothed by the music of lapping waves below. Set at the end of a wooden pier, the spa at this private island resort has an open design incorporating many windows, so you’ll be fully aware of the sea all around you. The treatments here all use organic skincare products, made with fruits and herbs whose healing properties are infused into your skin.
Mandara Spa is a rejuvenating sanctuary inside the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island. Soothing massages, refreshing body wraps and cleansing scrubs are all on the menu at this 30,000-square-foot facility with fresh and salt-water pools, waterfalls and lagoons. Indigenous fruits and minerals are combined with natural spices to administer ancient spa therapies from Europe and Asia.