Anthea Gerrie discovers a new concept in special interest breaks
For the couple who have everything — except, perhaps, a much-wanted child of their own — US hotels and spas are offering breaks which take special interest holidays where they have never gone before.
Welcome to the procreation vacation — a holiday seriously aimed at helping wannabe parents conceive with all the assistance that pampering, folk medicine and the right psychological frame of mind can offer.
A romantic setting is what you would expect from any top-flight resort, but the Westin chain has taken things several steps further in three of their Caribbean outposts — at Grand Bahama, Vieques and St John in the Virgin Islands.
Parlaying an overheard conversation among two old housekeepers into a solid marketing proposition, they have harnessed the power of sea moss, rated locally as a natural Viagra, and pumpkin, which is said to have fertility benefits for women.
Those who have consumed the sea moss elixir as prepared by Westin, insist it tastes like a vanilla smoothie. It is delivered twice daily to the wouldbe father and extra servings are available at no extra charge, while vitamin A-rich pumpkin soup is served to the woman, who can have as many bowls as she can eat.
Rather more appealing elements of the package are an aromatherapy message for the woman to help regulate her fertility cycle, and a reflexology session for the man, to stimulate the zones on his foot relating to reproduction.
Hotels and spas on the US mainland offer variations on the procreation vacation, too. At the Miraval Spa in Tucson, Arizona, sex specialists Lana Holstein and David Taylor remind couples to practise intimacy and take their ovulation schedules seriously while the exercise menu at its monthly “Couples Retreats” include items like “Soul Gazing” and “Energising the Sexual Connection” which could also be fun for those celebrating a silver wedding.
At the Five Gables on Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay, it is back to the alchemy of ingredients. Its two-night “Birds and Bees” package includes oysters (considered an aphrodisiac but not for the observant), wine, a pair of heart-print boxer shorts and a Barry White CD!
For what it’s worth, Chesapeake Bay — close to Washington DC and the handsome town of Annapolis — is a glorious spot for a weekend, while the Tucson desert offers wonderful air and winter sun, neither of which could be bad as an aid to conception. But given the choice of venues for the Westin vacations, choose Vieques, a tiny island off Puerto Rico which is a truly unspoiled Caribbean dream, rather than Grand Bahama or St John, both overrun with day-tripping cruisers in search of duty-frees.
Couples can get cosy under a cabanna-for-two at the Westin Resort, Vieques