Relaxing in Nature

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Through The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort’s Spa Without Walls program, guests are treated to signature spa indulgences set amid Puerto Rico’s endless natural beauty.

By Gwyn Herbein

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For many Puerto Rico visitors, a trip to the spa is an integral part of the overall relaxation experience. The perfect escape from the stresses of daily life, a spa treatment is a definitive way to mark the beginning of an island stay.

Nowhere is this truer than The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, where the 10,000-square-foot Remède Spa offers everything from personalized massages to body, hair and nail treatments, as well as a sauna and fitness facility. While the staff has done an excellent job of creating a spa environment that combines the finest services and amenities Puerto Rico has to offer, they are never complacent when it comes to the level of service offered to guests. The resort’s newest initiative, the Spa Without Walls program, takes relaxation to a new level by allowing guests the freedom to experience their treatments in unique settings around the property.

According to Mark Bodnar, spa director at The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, the idea for Spa Without Walls came from the resort’s general manager during the summer of 2013. Perfect for guests who do not want their time at the spa to interfere with anything else the resort has to offer, the Spa Without Walls provides the best of both worlds.

“It is a wonderful opportunity to be pampered while showcasing our beautiful resort,” Bodnar says. Because the spa itself strives to create a relationship between its patrons and the indigenous Puerto Rican culture and environment, it was an easy transition to move some of the signature treatments to other parts of the resort, including the customized massages and manicures/pedicures.

Taking treatments outside of the spa facility turned out to be not as much of a logistical challenge as some might think. “The first step was to determine three or four perfect locations around the property to receive the treatments,” Bodnar explains. “After we identified the locations, the rest of the implementation process was seamless.”

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Even though the treatments take place outside the spa, guests can rest assured they will receive the same level of attention, service and bespoke service as those who step into the marble sanctuary of Remède Spa. For example, massage treatments are personalized according to guests’ needs and blend a variety of techniques, like Swedish, deep tissue, reiki, acupressure, reflexology, shiatsu or sports massage, along with additions like warm paraffin and aromatherapy blends. To ensure that the resort is always exceeding guests’ expectations, Bodnar notes that taking feedback into account was an important aspect of the Spa Without Walls planning process.

“By far, the most popular treatment amongst our guests is our 60-minute customized massage, so it was the perfect fit for this promotion,” he says.

Once the menu for the Spa Without Walls program was decided, it was time to let guests choose where they wanted to receive their bespoke treatments. Bodnar notes that, so far, the most popular spots are the pool and the beach cabanas, where cozy chairs and private cabanas allow guests to fully immerse themselves in the rejuvenating experience.

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“Most guests who visit our resort are interested in relaxing and experiencing the indigenous beauty that is Puerto Rico and our El Yunque [National] Forest,” Bodnar says.

Now that the program is up and running, The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort has received overwhelmingly positive reactions from visitors. Bodnar quotes guests who described the Spa Without Walls program as “amazing,” “fantastic,” “a great experience” and “the perfect way to enjoy the property.” He attributes its success so far to the unique environments available.

“Without a doubt, the biggest reason for the success of the program is our rain forest setting,” he says. After all, a massage is more relaxing when accompanied by the sounds of nature—the chirping of indigenous birds and the gentle crashing of the ocean waves onto the shore.

Going forward, Bodnar says, the resort will grow and expand Spa Without Walls, always taking feedback and suggestions from both guests and the spa’s therapists into account.

He notes there are already plans for expanding the menu of services available outside the spa itself, so guests can continue to look forward to experiencing their treatments in perfect harmony with Puerto Rico’s endless natural beauty. Bodnar adds, “That is the creative nature of the spa … no limits.”