Places to Go: Santé Wellness Center and Spa

I don’t like the idea of a stranger touching me. It makes me uncomfortable in a twitchy sort of way.

Taking that into account, is it any surprise that the idea of getting a professional massage has always freaked me out? I mean, that is some pretty intimate touching.

I can handle a hug. A pat on the back.

But a massage? By someone I don’t know? The very idea of it always gave me the hibbe-jeebees.

Until the magical day I stumbled across the Santé Wellness Center and Spa.

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Santé Wellness Center and Spa - the main house

I had been preparing for an upcoming Western Caribbean Cruise by researching each of the ports we would be visiting. It was when I started reading about our final port – Roatan, Honduras – that I first heard about Santé. It seemed like no matter where I looked (cruisecritic.com, tripadvisor, or random internet searches) I kept reading about Santé.

So I checked it out. I was intrigued by the idea of a spa visit, but that whole massage angle kept bothering me. Yet I kept reading. And when I started having issues with my back and shoulders, I read some more. Deep tissue massage. Scary. Aztec Stone Massage. Cool but still scary. Swedish massage. Sounded painful.

I was such a scaredy-cat. Me? Get a massage? By a stranger? The thought of it almost made me break out in hives.

Then I read these words: “Caribbean Cooler Tropical Herbal Wrap with Grape Seed Massage Oil.”

The description was – in a word – heavenly:

“A two hour treatment perfumed amidst lush tropical gardens with the soft sound of the sea surrounding your senses.  Includes: Coconut Milk Body Wash after an invigorating Body Brushing, Banana Smoothie Body Scrub, Relaxing Therapeutic Massage with warmed grape seed oil, Warm Herbal Body Wrap with Lavender, Facial Masque with Cucumber, Melon, and Ginseng, Cucumber Eye Soother, Peppermint Lotion Water after treatment body spritz, Herbal Pedicure Foot Bath with Tea Tree Oil, and a cup of herbal tea and biscuits.”

All for $135 plus tax.

Wow. I felt relaxed just READING that. So what did I do? I emailed the link to my (now ex) boyfriend to see what his thoughts were, as he too had never had a professional massage before. I was sure he’d think the idea was silly and suggest scuba diving or something adventurous instead. I was wrong – he decided he’d like a massage as well.

Well OK then!

With that settled, I contacted the lovely Angela Missaggia to setup our treatments. Angela and her husband Leon had left the San Francisco Bay area in 2000 and moved to Roatan. They had visited the island before and fallen in love with its beauty, culture, and people. Angela is a licensed nurse practitioner and aesthetician and began offering spa services shortly after they moved to Roatan because they were – at that time – unavailable on the island. The two of them realized that they could offer something special and Santé was born.

In its current form, Santé is located on a small, private peninsula on Roatan’s southern coast.

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A view of the Caribbean and across the peninsula from Santé's private beach

Angela worked with me prior to our cruise to ensure that our treatments were set-up properly. She provided detailed instructions on what we should do upon our arrival in Roatan to ensure we make the most of our visit to Santé. She answered all of my silly questions and calmed my fears about getting a massage.

Finally the day arrived and our ship, the Carnival Legend, docked at Mahogany Bay. As Angela had instructed, we took a taxi to the 200-acre Parrot Tree Plantation. The Parrot Tree Plantation is one of Roatan’s gems. It’s a beautiful high-end resort community surrounded by the turquoise waters of the Caribbean. It is also the portal to Santé.

Upon our arrival at the Parrot Tree we found Angela’s husband Leon waiting for us on the dock, just as promised. From there he whisked us by boat across the bay to the beautiful home he shares with Angela. This is what makes Santé so special – it isn’t just a business to the Missaggia’s – it is their home.

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Heading to Santé from the Parrot Bay Plantation!


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Arriving at the Santé Wellness Center and Spa - dock area. Main House visible in the background.

Angela greeted us at the door with a welcoming smile and gave us a tour of the house (it’s more of a villa, actually). This particular day we were the only spa customers. A gentleman was staying on the grounds as a customer of the bed-and-breakfast (I would love to come back as a bed-and-breakfast customer one day!), but save for a brief glimpse of him in the kitchen, we had the whole place to ourselves. Angela showed us the pool, jacuzzi and private beach area – all of which were available for our use. We couldn’t wait to get to our treatments!

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The welcoming pool at Santé.

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This little guy was hanging out on the balcony

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A view of the dock from the balcony.

Angela began working on my treatments on the main floor while her assistant took care of my boyfriend on the floor above me. Since we were the only two spa customers that morning we were able to enjoy a “couples massage” experience, although each of us got lost in the treatments. I closed my eyes while Angela worked on me and focused on the sounds around me. Soft tropical chimes blowing in the warm tropical breezes. The ebb and flow of the Caribbean. The relaxing music. It was sheer perfection.

I feel asleep.

Me. The woman who broke out in hives at the thought of a stranger touching her. The woman who swore she’d never get a professional massage. Yes, me. I was so relaxed I fell asleep.

My two plus hour treatment was pure heaven. My skin felt absolutely invigorated after the body brushing/wash and scrub. The banana smoothie scrub not only smelled fabulous (I could have eaten it), but it refreshed my skin. The wrap was like a warm cocoon and I think it was the lavender scent that led to my falling asleep. The facial masque and pedicure were both top-notch.

And the massage: Oh. My. God.

Angela has magic hands. That is the only thing I can say. The massage was one of the loveliest experiences of my life. She managed to loosen every knot in my body until I felt like a pile of mush (in a great way). I don’t recall ever feeling as relaxed as I did that day, and it was a PERFECT ending to the cruise.

Even my after-treatment shower was heavenly. Angela had requested that we keep our showers brief because they collect, store and use rainwater on the grounds. Although the shower was brief, it was one of the best experiences I have ever had. I will never forget the purity of that water and the lush surroundings.

My boyfriend had opted for a shorter massage, so while I was relaxing/napping/showering he explored the grounds and ended up snorkeling at the nearby coral reef. When he returned he could not stop raving about the reef and how wonderful his snorkeling experience had been. The waves had been a bit rough, but he said that the experience far surpassed the time we had spent in Grand Cayman and even Cozumel. It turns out that Roatan’s reef is a part of the second-largest barrier reef in the world – the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. We decided to go out again together and he was right – it was a phenomenal snorkeling experience!

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See that gorgeous turquoise colored water? Some great snorkeling to be had right there.

We spent the rest of our time at Santé exploring together.

We became friendly with the beautiful scarlet macaw who lives on the property. He greets you with “hello” and “hola” amongst other things!

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Isn't he gorgeous? And he loves having his photo taken!

We explored every nook and cranny we could find.

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I wish this was MY front yard!

We walked down to the beach.

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Look at how clear that water is!

We relaxed and looked out at the Caribbean, all the while wishing our time did not have to come to an end.

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It doesn't get much better than sitting in a palapa and gazing out at the sea.


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This hammock was a close second though!

But alas, soon it was time to return to Mahogany Bay and say goodbye to the haven that is the Santé Wellness Center and Spa.
If you ever have the opportunity to visit Roatan I highly encourage you to visit the Santé Wellness Center and Spa. If you do, you will have a wonderfully relaxing experience at a retreat you will never forget. My only regret is leaving!

Goodbye beautiful Roatan – I’ll never forget you!

 

Please note: this review and all the content within are the writer’s own personal thoughts and opinions. It is not a paid advertisement or any such nonsense.

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  • Mike May 23, 2013, 3:01 PM

    the website is in japanese…is there a way to view it in english?

    Reply