“Can you can overdose on spa treatments?” my husband asks.
It’s not a facetious query; it’s a reasonable question. Because I already have four spa treatments booked — with four more scheduled for tomorrow — and it’s not as if I’m any more stressed than the average person.
The reason for my spa smorgasbord? I’m finding out what it’s like to stay in an Oasis Spa Villa, a new room category at Couples Tower Isle in Jamaica. The beachfront cloister near Ocho Rios was the playground of stars such as Lena Horne, Walt Disney and Joan Crawford in its 1950s heyday. In the late ’70s it became Jamaica’s first all-inclusive resort.
And in 2016, the couples-only classic debuted eight villas that come with the usual all-you-can-everything perks, plus unlimited daily spa treatments for both people for the length of their stay. Want a massage at in the morning, a facial at midday and a body wrap at 4 p.m.? No problem; even gratuities are included.
So after touching down in Montego Bay, the husband and I are whisked via private car (also included in the rate) to the resort, where we’re led to our villa to check in. Spa receptionist Lasonya swings open the gate to our weekend home, leading us past the plunge pool and into the white-on-white villa, redolent with the scent of peppermint and lemongrass. Let the spa binge begin.
The first order of business is to schedule my treatments, and spa manager Denise walks me through the choices, a cavalcade of comforts far more comprehensive than I’d anticipated. There are eight massages and as many facials and couples treatments to choose from, as well as all the usual hair and nail services. But any stress I feel at having to decide (most guests book their treatments in advance online) is mitigated by the refreshing absence of prices next to each description. I feel relaxed already.
Eventually I finalize my schedule: four treatments per day for the next two days. Denise encourages me to choose more (hardcore spa goers book as many as six per day, she tells me) but since my husband would rather stick pins in his eyeballs than be touched by a stranger, in the interest of marital harmony I demur. No, darling, I don’t know if you can overdose on spa treatments… but I’m about to find out.
After a green smoothie (banana, papaya, lychee, and bok choy), I pad along a palm-fringed pathway in my robe and slippers to the spa. The centerpiece of the sanctuary is a sapphire pool with a stone Buddha fountain, flanked by eight treatment rooms. My therapist, Sharon, shows me to Room 5, where for the next 55 minutes I’ll be enjoying the Vita Cura Five-Phase Firming Facial. As a Bob Marley classic plays faintly in the background, she mists, massages and manipulates my skin with a series of serums, peels, masks and moisturizers. I lose track of time and before I know it the facial is over, my skin feels soft and dewy, and it’s on to treatment two, the Signature Body Polish.
In long sweeping strokes, Sharon applies a honey-and-almond scrub to my entire body, wraps me first in a cotton sheet, then plastic wrap, then a Mylar blanket and then towels. I feel oddly (but pleasantly) like a burrito wrapped around a churro, covered in sweet sticky grains. When I shower off, my body feels velvety soft, and when I hop back onto the table so Sharon can finish with a scalp-to-sole application of a seaweed-based cream, even she remarks on its smoothness.
By now it’s lunchtime, so I stumble, slightly bleary, from the spa to meet my husband at the oceanview buffet. There are Jamaican specialties such as jerk chicken and curry goat on the line, but I limit myself to half a Tastee patty; full tummies and spa treatments don’t mix.
The afternoon brings more back-to-back indulgence: First, a seaweed-peppermint body wrap that makes me feel simultaneously uncomfortably hot and deliciously tingly but also makes my skin more buttery than I ever thought possible. And then an 85-minute aromatherapy massage that leaves my limbs looking like polished mahogany and smelling of sweet oranges. As hubby and I sit down to dinner at the water’s-edge restaurant that night he tells me how relaxed and content I seem. Truth is I feel blissfully intoxicated, happily riding a Jamaican high that’s languorous — and legal.
I wake up before the alarm and feel unusually calm, a feeling confirmed by my Fitbit, which shows my resting heart rate at an all-time low of 52 beats per minute. Back at the spa for my Lava Shell Massage (a treatment available exclusively to Oasis Spa Villa guests), I feel like a pro at this spa thing. I head straight to “my” locker to drop off my phone and sunnies, and when Marie offers to leave the room so I can undress, I tell her not to bother, slipping out of my robe and under the sheet without even a shred of self-consciousness.
Marie firmly kneads my arms, legs and back with the heated shells, and I can feel the running-induced knots in my quads dissolve with her touch. Clover finishes the job with an hour of reflexology, a pressure point massage of my soles with a peppermint-scented lotion. Never have my feet felt so soft and minty fresh.
Later that evening, with my final two treatments (yet another body scrub and a painstaking mani-pedi) complete and our departure the next morning looming on the horizon, we sip rum punches under the canopy of a poolside almond tree wrapped in fairy lights. And my husband asks me again, “So, can you overdose on spa treatments?” I pause for a moment to consider. “I don’t know yet,” I say. “Give me two more days here and I’ll get back to you.”