Henry and other memories
September 11th 2001 holds two unforgettable memories for me. The first is obvious and shared by millions. On that never to be forgotten day, I was in a taxi on 5th Avenue driving south to a sales appointment with one of the BodyHoliday’s important suppliers – “Spafinder”. I was accompanied by the General Manager of LaSource, our sister hotel in Grenada and Andrew Barnard, whose family own and manage The BodyHoliday. Spafinder’s address back then was on 5th between 14th and 15th streets, close to Union Square and thus when the planes hit, we were uncomfortably close by. We alighted from the taxi, surrounded by confusion and mayhem and needless to say, we never made our appointment.
Later, after a long walk back to midtown and the Kimberly Hotel, our usual basecamp in the city, we found the morning post had been delivered and an envelope for our team contained the very first drafts of the BodyHoliday’s new brand image. It was for us the start of a new era for the resort. It was the beginning of “Henry”*, We were trapped in Manhattan for a few extra days and we took the time to reflect, not only on that terrible day, but also on the future. We’d taken the name “LeSPORT-THE BODYHOLIDAY” and flipped it to read the BodyHoliday-LeSPORT.
So amidst the turmoil of that day, we managed to take a step forward and the reason was because the BodyHoliday was no longer a beach resort with an excellent spa, including one or two treatments per day; it was a respected pillar of the wellness industry. Still a beach vacation, but with cares and therapies to rank with the best centres of wellbeing anywhere.
When I think of the development of the offering to the guests over the 20 years I have known the BodyHoliday, it is extremely hard to describe in a few sentences, what exactly is different between then and now. One thing that stands out a mile is the Ayurvedic Temple “Pavitra” Not only is it the only authentic centre of Ayurvedic practices in the Caribbean, the range of treatments and therapies offered is extraordinary and there are many top retreats in the Americas, that just don’t compare.
The ‘holiday experience’ was originally designed using a structure of the four pillars of well-being and over the past twenty years the real changes have been in taking each one of these pillars: exercise, diet, relaxation and restorative beauty and refining each one. Under the exercise heading, for example, well known and highly successful Olympic athletes have attended the BodyHoliday throughout the year, starting 8-9 years ago with Daley Thompson, possibly one of the greatest British Olympic star of all time and others; Donna Fraser, Sharon Davies, Steve Williams, Danny Crates, Jamie Baulch, Steve Cram, Keri Ann Payne, David Carry and Leon Taylor plus an endless stream of specialist practitioners in the worlds of Yoga, Pilates, Lifestyle coaching and Meditation continue to lift the levels of expertise at the resort.
The resort has also completed several massive remodelling projects over the years and to see the current clubhouse with its carefully designed moods alternating between night and day and the wonderful boardwalk stretching all along the front of the resort, gives me great pleasure to see how far it’s come.
The BodyHoliday has never stood still and is always looking to either keep up with important and relevant trends or perhaps pioneer something completely new. It’s this approach of never letting the grass grow under your feet, that keeps it alive and vibrant and bringing like minded people back over and over again.
In the words of the new generation, led by Andrew Barnard, the BodyHoliday is changing people’s lives – one person at a time.
Michael was the General Manager of the BodyHoliday between 1995 and 1999 and Director of Marketing for Sunswept Resorts 2000-2008. He is currently a marketing consultant and still retains some involvement with the BodyHoliday today.
* Henry refers to the iconic photograph, that became the symbol of the brand in 2001 and is still used to this day. The name came about because during a discussion about the image, the design team were in the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, which houses the largest collection of sculptures by Henry Moore in the world. The resemblance of the pose in the image to one of these works, gave birth to the ‘in house’ nickname.