Feeling the effects of the night before? Forget the saturated-fat fix and head to the spa. In Montego Bay, Jamaica, I signed up for the Spa at Round Hill's Signature Hangover Massage. For a feel-good pick-me-up, the spa uses Jamaican sweet basil to stimulate the immune system and initiate toxin elimination. At check-in, I beg my therapist to go easy on my neck – an area where I typically enjoy masterful throttling – in hopes of staving off dizzy disorientation. She lets out a laugh and whispers, "No worry. I got your back." And just like that, we're in it together, on the road to recovery via rubdown. She invites me to inhale the essential oil from her palm and the waves in my stomach subside enough to lie on my belly. She rocks the heels of her hands on my hips, releasing the tension.
A hangover is caused by the ethanol in alcohol, which severely dehydrates the body. The usual hangover cures – coffee, a fatty fry-up and Aspirin – have nothing on a soothing, decompressing massage.
Round Hill is all about relaxed good taste of a bygone era. Guests swan on the beach and pitter patter by the pool, exerting as little effort as possible. The hotel was first opened by a socially connected Jamaican entrepreneur, John Pringle, who invited socialites, literati and artists to build private cottages on the property. Archival photos of such past shareholders as Noël Coward and Oscar Hammerstein attest to its old-school glamour. The celebrity clientele dates back to its beginning in 1953, hosting the likes of Princess Grace of Monaco, John F. Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman. Ralph Lauren, who owns a villa on the property, designed the resort's famous bar and Caribbean-chic hotel rooms. The spa is set in an 18th-century plantation house poised at the end of a scenic walking path along a stretch of rocky shoreline, and is an ideal place to take a yoga class, savour lunch, sprawl in a hammock, or go for a dip in the sea. The atmosphere alone makes it one of the standout spas in Jamaica.
Round Hill Hotel and Villas at John Pringle Drive, Montego Bay, Jamaica, West Indies; 1-800-972-2159; roundhill.com; $165 for 80 minutes.