Barbados Vacations: Why The O2 Beach Club and Spa Is Worth Saving For

Even on Barbados’ affluent west coast, there aren’t many spas — though glitzy Sandy Lane bucks that trend.

But, now, on the south coast – not far from the airport – a brand new one has just opened at the refurbished O2 Beach Club.

Construction began before the pandemic, doubling the size of the all-inclusive hotel and raising the standard as well.

Caribbean pick-me-up: Pictured above is the newly opened O2 Beach Club on the south coast of Barbados

Building on the O2 Beach Club (pictured) began before the pandemic, doubling the size of the all-inclusive hotel

Building on the O2 Beach Club (pictured) began before the pandemic, doubling the size of the all-inclusive hotel

Kate enjoys a signature meditative vagus nerve massage at the O2 Beach Club spa (pictured)

Kate enjoys a signature meditative vagus nerve massage at the O2 Beach Club spa (pictured)

Treatments galore: The spa, which is all white and bright, has 10 treatment rooms (file image)

Treatments galore: The spa, which is all white and bright, has 10 treatment rooms (file image)

The 9th floor is reserved for the “fine cuisine”, the one below is the spa – with the only hammam on the island – and below are luxurious rooms with giant beds and balconies (ask for a view of the ocean) and a free mini bar stocked with daily newspapers.

I’m waiting for the signature meditative massage of the vagus nerve – a bundle of fibers I’ve never heard of.

As I discovered, it’s the longest cranial nerve in the body, running from the brain to the gut, and it helps regulate stress, rest, and digestion.

The spa is all white and bright, with 10 treatment rooms.

My 80-minute treatment will apparently induce a sense of calm via aromatic compresses, massage, cranial holds, essential oils, and pulsation and pressure on various nerve points.

This will create a “meditative state of consciousness”.

I’ve never tried meditation, but it’s so intensely enjoyable that I lose track of time (and fall asleep at some point) and in the end I feel completely soothed, energized, and surprisingly moved.

“There are a few small pools and a pleasantly stern sign telling guests not to reserve sunbeds,” Kate writes. Above is the adult-only swim-up bar, located next to one of these pools

Elsewhere at this resort, which has a 1,000-foot beach, there are a few small pools and a pleasantly stern sign telling guests not to reserve lounge chairs.

There are also two great rooftop bars and restaurants and a recently extended white-sand beach.

The sea on this stretch can be good for boogie boarding as well as swimming, while the nearby bay is calmer, easily accessible and a good excuse to stop at a roadside shack for a lightly roasted chicken. curry in a folded crepe. The new building dwarfs its neighbors and is painted in neutral tones rather than yellows and pinks, so not everyone is happy.

Kate says resort rooms are 'luxurious' with 'giant beds' and balconies

Kate says resort rooms are ‘luxurious’ with ‘giant beds’ and balconies

The rooftop pool deck of the O2 Beach Club.  A local artist tells Kate that

The rooftop pool deck of the O2 Beach Club. Local artist tells Kate the resort’s ‘charm and elegance’ enhances the coast

Some locals were upset that a popular bar had to be demolished to make way for it, while others felt protective of their low-key, relaxed neighborhood and didn’t think it would fit in.

Some people were concerned that the public beach was off limits, although there are no private beaches in Barbados and it is still easily accessible to everyone.

The property has also commissioned local artists to provide it with artwork. In the shade of the trees on the beach, we have a painting class with a single speaker, the ultra-hot livewire Yasmin Vizcarrondo.

The whole group takes it surprisingly seriously, each of us eager for its encouraging comments, although my own ‘play’ remains strictly for viewing by appointment.

When choosing where to wine and dine, guests can choose between the resort's two large rooftop bars and restaurants.  Pictured is the Bluefin grill

When choosing where to wine and dine, guests can choose between the resort’s two large rooftop bars and restaurants. Pictured is the Bluefin grill

The pool suites at the O2 Beach Club.

The pool suites at the O2 Beach Club. “For those who love the Caribbean sun but also can’t live without a spa offering a range of wacky treatments, it’s worth saving up,” says Kate

Another contributing artist, Sian Pampellonne, tells me the new hotel is a “wonderful addition” to the South Coast.

She adds: ‘It’s luxurious without the pretentious feeling that many locals have about the West Coast. Its charm and elegance beautifully highlight this coast.” The O2 certainly brought a taste of more affordable luxury – even if it still isn’t cheap.

And for those who love the Caribbean sun but also can’t live without a spa offering a range of wacky treatments, it’s worth saving up.

TRAVEL INFORMATION

Seven nights at the five-star all-inclusive O2 Beach Club & Spa cost from £2,672 pp, based on two adults sharing a Deluxe Ocean View Junior Suite. The price includes return flights with Virgin Atlantic to Heathrow. Visit o2beachclubbarbados.com for more information.

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