October was a month dedicated to refocusing and recharging all aspects of my life. On somewhat of a whim I escaped to Tobago for a solo retreat with a relaxed itinerary meant to ensure I had the energy required to wrap up the year on a high note. Among the few mandatory items on my agenda: spa day. Because I truly believe a little pampering goes a long way in getting our minds back on track.
The criteria seemed simple enough: find an ideal spot that offers everything so I wouldn’t have to do anything. But, on an island with only a handful of resorts, such all-in-one options are limited.
So, when I was invited to spend a day at Le Grand Courlan Spa Resort, I happily accepted. Having already done my research, I knew their offerings were on par with what I was looking for. A European-style spa offering an impressive range of massages and body treatments? A pool with a tres cool swim-up bar? And a beachfront restaurant with a deck that seems to have been built specifically for taking in mesmerizing sunset views? Yes, yes and yes, please!
What followed was a full day of pampering that left me feeling so rejuvenated I’ve decided to use it as a blueprint for every spa day in the future.
And here it is…my idea of the perfect spa day (at Le Grand Courlan Spa Resort).
Step 1: Unwind in the Sauna
A day at the spa should always begin with a sauna (in my humble opinion). Thirty minutes spent detoxifying your body, with just your thoughts for company, serves as a great cleanse – physically and mentally. At Le Grand, the wood-paneled walls created a rustic scene that allowed my mind to wander back to the serenity of cozy cabin days in Norway. Enveloped by the therapeutic heat, I felt the stress and tightness escape my limbs, leaving me drenched in sweat and totally content.
Step 2: Melt away with a Swedish Massage
With your muscles loosened up, your body will be primed and ready for a massage – I opted for Swedish. As the soft, smooth, lyric-less music filled the warmly lit room, my masseuse got to work. Within a few minutes, she completely transformed my already relaxed limbs into a blissful pile of mush. Between the calming, minty scent of the oils and her surprisingly intuitive fingertips, I was rendered almost incoherent. Imagine your mind being so detached from your body, that when the time comes for you to turn over, you can barely fathom the request, far-less actually comply. After one hour of expert handling, I felt like a whole new person in a bright and shiny new world.
Step 3: Enjoy a delicious lunch (at Caribbean Bistro)
Once your motor skills return after the massage, lunch should be next on your agenda. At Le Grand, I had the pleasure of dining at Caribbean Bistro. One of the hotel’s three restaurants, the Bistro offers relaxed, open-air dining with pool and ocean views. While I’m not a fan of fish (yes, I’m a bad Island Girl), I took a chance on the seafood chowder. Best! Decision!! Ever!!! As far as calculated risks go this one paid off with a delicious broth chocked full of generous chunks of tasty shrimp and fish, which I “nyammed down” (devoured) in record time. That was followed by a delicious pasta alla funghi that was so good my tiny stomach somehow managed to finish the entire serving despite having already consumed a whole bowl of chowder. Finally, my feasting ended with the only dessert a girl could ever need – cheesecake! To say I enjoyed my meal is an understatement – I can still conjure up the taste of that chowder on cue.
Step 4: Chillax with drinks by the Pool
Who doesn’t love sipping cute garnished drinks poolside? Even die-hard beach bums like me don’t mind cheating on the salty goodness of the sea every now and then. Especially when said pool comes with a cool swim-up bar, like Ripples. The resort promises that you can “taste the Caribbean in our delicious drinks” and they weren’t kidding. When I asked the easy-going bartender for “pretty drinks” he rustled up two beverages that oozed the colors and flavors of the Caribbean. First up was a turquoise concoction that was the exact shade of blue as the ocean. And it was followed by a fruity fuschia cocktail that matched the vibrant bougainvillea found blooming throughout the property. Both smooth, neither of them too sweet. They were the perfect precursor to a relaxing nap in my lounge chair before heading back to the spa.
Step 5: Rejuvenate your skin with a Full Body Scrub
Having sufficiently soaked up the sun’s rays (and the pool’s chlorine), you should consider indulging in one more treatment…a full body scrub. A blend of aromatic sea salts, mineral salts, and essential oils, Le Grand Courlan’s salt body glow works wonders in rejuvenating your skin. Admittedly, the application isn’t the most soothing process, as the coarse scrub needs to be thoroughly massaged into your skin in order to “remove impurities, dead skin cells and stimulate circulation”. However, that part of the treatment is brief. For the rest of the hour, you simply lie down in peace and quiet, basking in a pleasant tingling sensation. The end result? Skin so soft I literally didn’t want to come into contact with anything else for the rest of the day.
Step 6: Drinks and Sunset Views (at Waves)
With all your treatments complete, there is only one thing left to do: Drinks at Waves Restaurant & Bar! I admit that I’m obsessed with Waves, but there are several very good reasons for that. One is the food; another is the drinks, and finally, those gorgeous sunset views! Mix them all together and it’s the perfect way to wrap up a day all about mental and physical revitalization. A blended fruit drink and a seat facing the water was more than enough to put a smile on my face. However, throw in a slice of their cheesecake with passion fruit topping and we’ve achieved previously unheard-of levels of perfection. With an expansive, uninterrupted view of Grafton Beach, I watched the sun dip below the horizon, closing the curtain on the perfect spa day at Le Grand Courlan.
Fact: I don’t pamper myself often, but when I do, I like to ensure it’s done just right. And, I have to say, Le Grand Courlan Spa got it very right! From a massage that almost melted my bones to a meal that actually converted me to seafood, I couldn’t have asked for a better day. Tobago may not have many options when it comes to an all-in-one package comprising divine spa treatments, scrumptious food, and gorgeous views but Le Grand is one spot that delivers on all of the above. So, if your itinerary includes a leisurely mental-health day, you might want to check out their day-passes for US $150 or TT $950.
Do you indulge in spa days when you travel? If so, what are some of your favorite treatments? Feel free to share in the comments!
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