What better way to buck up in the face of a milestone birthday than toning up at Carlisle Bay, Antigua? The resort, situated between soft sand and a flourishing rain forest, offers a plethora of heart rate-boosting opportunities, including windsurfing, beach circuit training, tennis and hiking. Best of all, the Blue Spa caps it off with a treatments designed to pamper sporty types: fortifying deep tissue sessions, physiotherapy and hot-stone work.
The spa's Lomi Juma Massage Ritual fuses healing techniques from the Pacific and the Mediterranean to release tension and bring circulation to stagnant tissue. It is not for the faint of heart: Michelle Plummer, the senior therapist, lays into my hamstrings with the throttle of a linebacker. The best muscular release massages are a struggle – a plucky push and pull – and this one is near perfect.
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, checked in for some downtime along with her son, prior to her Caribbean tour with Prince Charles. Oprah Winfrey, John Travolta and Giorgio Armani also pop by regularly.
Carlisle Bay, voted best Caribbean spa in Condé Nast Traveller's 2012 Readers' Choice Awards, goes above and beyond to ensure serenity in its six oversized treatment rooms. Open to cross breezes, the 17,000-square-foot space feels airy and light. Separate saunas and plunge pools for men and women offer relaxation pre- or post-treatment after a session at the spa's state of the art gym.
Carlisle Bay's new well-being Escape Week packages include daily spa treatments, personal training and three additional activities or clinics a day (daily rates start at $735 for two people).
Carlisle Bay at Old Road, Saint Mary's, Antigua, West Indies; campbellgrayhotels.com; 1-268-484-0000; $180 for 90 minutes of massage.