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The crane resort in Barbados

THE RETREAT

A jaunt south to the Crane remains my favourite midseason salve. Gilded, infamous guests have long escaped to this jewel on the rugged east coast of Barbados; American cowboy Wild Bill Hickok even logged downtime here, laying down his gold chain as payment. These days, shaded celebs and posh types take to a myriad of private pools with aplomb.

I can't help but notice the average BMI is significantly lower here than the more bloated, buffet-fixated demo on the sedentary west coast. Annual guests welcome the resorts' new Serenity Spa with glee, the perfect retreat after a day of play in the foam and fizzle of wild surf below.

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Here, the prescription for chapped and chafing skin is the Crane Refresher, the premiere restorative facial. Kennifer Marius, my aesthetician and former Miss Barbados, imparts savvy tips as she starts off with a frangipani cleansing milk to maintain the physiological balance of skin tissue. Next, she infuses my skin with a veil of collagen, cellular complexes and natural oils to brighten, plump and minimize the appearance of fine lines. The soufflé texture of the mango butter cream and her fluttering fingertips send me sweet, weepy shivers. Yes, achingly good.

THE BENEFITS

The effects of St. Barth's premium plant-based skin care is intensified by Serenity Spa's use of freshly prepared fruits. The complexion emerges visibly clearer, fresher and more balanced.

THE SPA

Fancy Zagat-rated sashimi, handmade stone oven pizza and specialty gelato as part of a spa stay? The Crane's town square is the answer. As a residential resort, the Crane is designed to cater to long-stay guests, offering more amenities relevant to daily happiness than any other resort on the island. The spa is housed in the most historic building on the grounds, giving treatment suites a sense of timeless grandeur. Established in 1887, this reigning anchor of Barbados holds the distinction of being the oldest continuously operating hotel in the Caribbean. The growth of the resort, now Canadian-owned, in the past decade has only added contemporary value. Like a blockbuster film, the Crane initially earns its stars on sultry looks alone. But the service takes centre stage as you begin to see personal preferences honoured without having to say a word. Attentive staff dote on guests; it's all about you.

THE BASICS

The Crane Resort in St. Philip, Barbados; 246-423-6220; thecrane.com; 60 minutes for $100.

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