Most of us are familiar with the term, “It’s a jungle out there,” with all of its unsettling implications. Now Maruba, a unique spa and boutique hotel nestled in the lush Belize rain forest, has brought a new and totally upbeat meaning to that old saying. This time the “jungle out there” is the world’s first jungle spa: a quirky but luxurious bit of paradise that was recently named Best Boutique Spa (in the “25 Rooms or Fewer” category) in Spa Finder’s Readers’ Choice Awards.
“We like to say that Maruba was inspired by heaven,” says Franziska Nicholson Dir. of resort design events marketing sales and reservations. “We’ve gone out of our way to create an environment where our guests feel as if everyday problems have melted away from the moment they walk onto the grounds. Many describe it as a sense of peace, even euphoria.”
Make that euphoria with an ethno twist. Not a traditional luxury spa, Maruba offers a one-of-a-kind blend of various Mayan, Creole, and African designs to complement the natural jungle setting, which is enhanced by exotic fauna and flora.
Notwithstanding the primordial jungle surroundings, all rooms and suites at Maruba are fully equipped with private baths, air conditioning, CD/DVD players, and other amenities. Each room boasts a unique design congruent with the hotel’s “neo-primitive” jungle theme. On the property are swimming pools and a Japanese mineral bath, as well as a restaurant, bar, meditation room, chess table, exercise room, and full body spa. Says Franziska, “Our Jungle Falls swimming pool provides cool relief in the daytime, and the Japanese tub will make evening star gazing an unforgettable experience.”
The spa at Maruba offers all-natural treatments derived from ancient techniques, and incorporating natural, sustainable products from the proprietary Maruba Therapy® line and the surrounding jungle environment. “We specialize in a number of mud treatments using our all-natural Mood Muds®,” says Franziska. The products in the Maruba Therapy ® line are also for sale, along with a variety of accessories and gift packages, so visitors can take a little bit of the jungle home with them. Naturally, they can order more online at www.Marubatherapy.com to keep themselves properly jungle-ized all year round.
But Maruba is not only about luxury and pampering in the middle of nowhere. It’s also a place for adventure, and there are a variety of things to do on the property, including horseback riding and Maruba’s special Medicinal Jungle Hike. Off-property tours are also offered, and there’s a little something for everyone, whether it’s exploration of Mayan ruins, a visit to a wildlife sanctuary, a sport fishing trip, a photographic safari, or a jungle riverboat tour or canoe ride. Those who are concerned about the well-being of the rainforest can rest easy, knowing that there’s a larger, earth-friendly agenda at Maruba as well. The proprietors are dedicated to preserving the ecosystem and promoting environmental awareness and appreciation.
Maruba offers several special honeymoon and adventure packages, as well as arrangements for day trips from cruise lines. The staff at Maruba is fluent in English, Spanish, and German. Major credit cards, travelers’ checks, and cash are accepted, and pick-up and drop-off from Belize International Airport is available.
Maruba Resort Jungle Spa has earned a lot of good press, having been featured in New York Magazine, Wellness Travel (in the Netherlands issue), and Maco Destination for the Caribbean and Central America issue. It has been mentioned in several travel books and guides, and is also becoming a popular set location for fashion shoots, commercials, and TV and film productions.
Good press is always welcome, but it’s the guests who are the real authorities, and they’re giving Maruba a thumbs-up as well. One described Maruba as, “More than one could ever expect. An experience of a lifetime with many a kindred spirit! Unparalleled service and hospitality.” Another wrote, “Our first impression of the grounds as we entered was an incredible oasis in the heart of the jungle. Talk about lush landscaping. Can’t wait to go back and see my new friends at Maruba.”
Yet another guest wrote, “This resort is a mix and match of tropical and rustic worlds. Interesting paths to follow to find your room, the hot tubs and various pavilions. The dining area is like that from a movie set: good food, fancy drinks and lovely table decor. One can even lunch in a high rise tree house loft! Probably the best novelty is the resting area near the pools with canopy beds. And I loved the hundreds of hibiscus flowers that are placed daily almost everywhere, even in the bathrooms.”
Those words are music to any spa proprietor’s ears, as is the remark from another guest who said, “You know you’ve found the right vacay spot when you call your room ‘home.'” For some, it’s a “home” they’ll want to return to again and again.