ANGUILLA: SPA AT CAP JULUCA
by Roberta Sotonoff
The Spa: Cap Juluca is a prime destination, designed for those who prefer relaxation to revelry.
The Location: The posh hotel sits on Maundays Bay, the southeast side of the British West Indies island of Anguilla, a flat, eel-shaped strip of land just east of St. Martin. It is a sophisticated destination that attracts celebrities and those seeking privacy and solitude.
The Environment: Blazing white against the water, the multi-domed, Moorish-styled Cap Juluca borders a crescent-shaped, pristine beach where the sand is white powder, the waters like crystal and soft breezes brush the shore. It is low-keyed and elegant. Plans are underway to build a larger spa facility but until then, it's just three treatment rooms located just beyond delightful, lush greenery and a brightly colored garden.
The Distinction: The spa offers a varied menu but it specializes in unique wellness treatments. For example, the Javanese Lurlur Juluca Ritual is performed by a Balinese masseuse who uses jasmine, rice and tamarind to create an exfoliate body mask.
The Experience: While waiting for a treatment to begin, one is surrounded by a soft breeze, an almost deserted beach on which to gaze and the fragrances of a blooming garden. It is a pleasant prelude of what is to come. Ayu, the masseuse for the Javanese Lurlur Juluca Ritual, takes me around the garden to a treatment room with a shower, a tub strewn with crimson blooms. The two hour therapy begins with the application of a Balinese scrub. The grainy concoction is applied with long, gentle Jamu strokes. (Jamu is a Balinese therapy which includes both massage and herbs and was inspired by Asian and European influences.) For a cooling effect, yogurt is applied over the body mask. It makes me wonder if it is the frozen variety because it sends chills through my being. The saving grace is the warm shower and the immersion into the flower-laden bath. The soak is so relaxing. A 60 minute deep tissue massage follows. I feel about as tense as a cooked noodle.
Accommodations: Cap Juluca is one of those places that is always garnishing some sort of reward. Each is well deserved. With architecture that conjures images of Morocco, the 58 rooms and suites plus 18 two-story villas exude intimacy and luxury. Continental breakfast is included.
What to eat: Who wants to do anything except curl up and go to sleep after such a treatment? If hunger pangs are a driving force, George’s, one of the hotel’s restaurants, offers lighter fare – burgers, grilled panini, salads and pasta.
The Cost: At the time of our visit the 120-minute treatment was $225 U.S. Be sure to check prices with the spa before you go.
Beyond the Spa: There is always the beach. There are over 30 of them on the island, each more pristine and dazzling than the other. Water fitness activities such as kayaking and windsurfing abound and snorkling is good as there are lots of underwater creatures hanging out around the cove at Cap Juluca’s beach. If you are really ambitious, you can take the 30-minute ferry ride and spend the day in St. Martin. Anguilla is mostly a place to chill.
What I liked best: The application of the exfoliate mask was heaven. The graininess felt like someone was tending any and all of my itches and simultaneously massaging my being. Soaking in the tub further lulled me into a state of relaxation. When I alight from it, I was covered with flower pedals.
Words to the wise: Anguilla is laid back, lovely and populated with friendly people but if you're looking for shopping and nightlife, look somewhere else. Also, since almost everything on the island is imported and most accommodations are upscale, this is not an inexpensive destination.
For more information: www.capjuluca.com