Bliss & Release at Irie Baths and Spa

Under The Dryer

Bliss & Release at Irie Baths and Spa

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

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In the 14th century a curative, thermal spring was discovered in a Belgian town call Spa. Yes, you guessed it! That's where the word originated. Well, etymologists would argue that the word spa was derived from the Walloon (a Romance language spoken in the Wallonia region of Belgium), “espa” meaning fountain. Whatever side of the debate you land on, the fact remains that the ancient Belgians were onto something. So too is Irie Baths and Spa at the tony S Hotel in Montego Bay.

Upon arrival, Tuesday Style Under the Dryer was greeted by spa manager Tamieka Frazer-Lewis, who gave a tour of the space.

The Irie Baths and Spa, according to the brochure, embraces Jamaican heritage and a holistic approach to wellness, whilst acknowledging the influence of the legendary Bath fountain in St Thomas. The spa boasts treatment rooms for couples and singles, a dry sauna, and aesthetic services using locally made products along with a number from Sothy's, the well-respected French skincare brand that has graced the faces and bodies of Oprah Winfrey, JLo, Naomi Campbell, Jada Pinkett Smith, and others.

The baths are three subterranean plunge pools with varying temperatures — from cold to hot — reminiscent of ancient baths in Greece and Rome. Greek doctors believed in the healing powers of hydrotherapy (immersion of the body in thermal water for therapeutic purposes) and balneotherapy (medicinal use of thermal water). The irie tubs — Trepidarium, Caldarium, and Frigidarium — are tiled marble pools with water temperatures ranging from 11C to 39C. Hot water is very relaxing and draws the body's circulation outwards, opening up the pores and capillaries. Warm water stimulates the digestive organs, and cold water constricts the blood vessels, stimulates circulation, and boosts metabolism.

The first treatment was the Blue Mountain Body Brasian — a full and invigorating body scrub made with ground Blue Mountain coffee. In addition to removing dead skin cells, coffee scrubs are touted to reduce inflammation, puffiness, the appearance of cellulite while improving blood circulation and the appearance of youthful, radiant skin.

A 50-minute Rub Mi Dung massage was next, followed by a 50-minute European facial.

After the treatments, it was time for the baths and what a fantastic way to end a spa day. The warm pool was soothing and perfect to follow the soothing massage. The hot water is ideal for lower back pain (BTW, unless you're in your early 20s or blessed with the musculoskeletal system of a Marvel superhero, you've experienced back pain), and the cold water was a refreshing jolt.

According to the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), wellness tourism is projected to grow at an average annual rate of 7.5% through 2022. GWI, too, maintains that “secondary wellness travellers,” (travellers for whom wellness/spa treatments are not the primary focus of the trip) account for nearly 89% of total wellness tourism trips. The world's best luxury hotels have spas that are a dedicated attraction. The Ritz-Carlton Toronto boasts Spa My Blend by Clarins; the LVMH-owned Belmond Cap Jaluca in Anguilla has the Arawak Spa that has over 40 treatment options, and The Four Seasons New York has the L RAPHAEL Beauty Spa that has redefined anti-aging skincare. The experience at the Irie Baths and Spa at the S Hotel in Montego Bay is right up there with the best in the world.

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