At BodyHoliday, Wellness Is About Positive Change

NEW YORK—“Everything we do is about life change. What we drill into everybody, every day and in our business is our corporate purpose, which is to change people’s lives one person at a time,” said Andrew Barnard, deputy managing director of Sunswept Resorts, a full-service hotel management company, which manages his family’s two resorts: BodyHoliday and Rendezvous.

Purpose is a common thread woven through all facets of BodyHoliday. For his team, it’s about giving guests the tools and motivation to create meaningful change in their lives.

“We infuse the BodyHoliday experience with surprising moments of joy, calm and inspiration that are designed to provoke a life-changing experience or emotion,” said Barnard.

During a stop in New York City, Barnard talked one-on-one with Hotel Business about what it means to be one of the first overseas destination spas in the world and, as a third-generation wellness leader, how he’s going to take well-being to the next level.

How did it all begin?

My grandfather started us in the hotel business in 1966. They were very traditional hotels; he built 12 cottages next to his house and guests would come up to our house to sit and dine on a communal table all together. My grandfather was a raconteur and a rum maker in the 1960s. In 1981, my dad came on board and started an all-inclusive resort in St. Lucia, the third all-inclusive in the West Indies. In 1988, my father launched BodyHoliday. The idea was to address Baby Boomers’ needs, helping them to relax and rejuvenate, age gracefully and stay fit. I’ve been running it for 10 years and now I’m breaking down travelers’ ideas around wellness and going to the next level.

How do you create a culture around wellness?

We instill joy, fun, laugher and human connection. It’s about putting away the digital devices for a few days and connecting as a human. A lot of the values and the culture of our organization are geared toward making sure that the staff behave in a certain manner and the team welcome our guests with open arms and open hearts. That, in turn, inspires our guests to be open in a certain way with each other so you get a magic atmosphere. It’s beyond wellness, it’s well-being. This vacation is a lot more than a vacation or a resort; it’s a very considered approach toward changing people’s lives for the better.

Who is BodyHoliday for?

When you come there, it’s not white gloves, it’s not formal. It’s totally relaxed, a level playing field. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Wall Street millionaire or a London cab driver who might have saved up for two years to have the holiday of a lifetime. Together, they will talk about what’s driving them emotionally because there’s a common ground; that’s why you come to BodyHoliday. There’s tools for everyone in between.

How do you make the experience personal to the guest?

We’re very used to understanding someone’s profile and needs, as well as how to make it meaningful for them. Guests arrive at the resort with a program in mind and we have on-site BodyHoliday specialists who can tune and tweak the program for you as you go along. There’s flexibility to include whatever may excite the guest. It allows you to set goals. We have more than 40 different activities a day, including multiple yoga, aerobic exercises, dance classes and more. With more than 70 different types of treatments and functional medicine options, by allowing us to help you through the experience, you get a sense of what you like. We have a 50% return rate. As guests come back, they get into it and can tune the journey more and more and find their groove. By their fourth visit, we find the guests are truly loving it and totally immersed in their new lifestyle.