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Sulphur Seduction at Sugar Beach by Maggie O'Sullivan

Posted in HEALTH + WELLBEING By Maggie O' Sullivan

On my first day at St Lucia’s glorious Sugar Beach resort (above), I signed up for a ‘couples’ spa treatment called Sulphur Seduction. I was travelling alone but as Sulphur Seduction apparently involved immersion in a pool that reeked of rotten eggs, being caked in equally whiffy volcanic mud, then showering under a cold waterfall, I guessed it was unlikely to be all that seductive.Another solo guest had obviously had the same thought so together with Joan, a spa therapist, we set off for the nearby sulphur springs, which bubble and hiss from the crater of a dormant volcano (aka ‘the world’s only drive-in volcano’). At the crater’s centre the water is 170C, but a little farther away the springs ‘cool’ to around 40C, and have long been used for therapeutic bathing: sulphur is said to increase metabolism and circulation, help with skin complaints and warm aching muscles and joints. But there are rules: no nudity, no obscene language, no splashing - and no pets.We reached the springs at around 8.30am and joined the handful of locals at the pool’s edge. Gingerly wading into the (extremely) hot water, my fellow guest and I proceeded to poach ourselves for around 15 minutes. Next, Joan slathered us with mineral-rich mud and waited for the sun to bake us to an unattractive elephant grey. Then we returned to the pool to scrub the mud off again. But we weren’t done yet.Wrapped in towels, we got back in the minibus and drove to St Lucia’s Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens where the highlight is a 17m waterfall that hurls itself into a shallow pool. Joan pointed at the pool. The second phase of our treatment was to stand under the waterfall – as my companion-in-sulphur remarked, it was our own Bounty moment. Only colder.Finally we returned to the resort for a massage. The Rainforest Spa, reached by an enchanting wooden walkway lit by lanterns, is made up of seven Arawak-inspired treehouses cut into the rainforest. Its architect, Lane Pettigrew, has described it as one of his proudest achievements – it’s certainly one of the most charming spas I’ve come across and my massage was expertly done.

Sulphur Seduction is a fantastic experience and a great way to combine local sightseeing with a massage. But the treatment definitely needs a new name. I defy anyone to feel alluring when they smell like a box of Swan Vestas.

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