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Sunday 17 December 2017
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Tobago’s ‘Best Kept Secret’ Finds New Life

Tobago’s ‘Best Kept Secret’ Finds New Life

The house of the One Love Spa in Runnemede, Moriah

Even from a slight distance, standing at the bend in the road, one can feel it. Up an incline, nestled amidst colourful crotons and flanked by tall trees, the rustic wooden cottage has a welcoming energy emanating from it—an energy that pulls gently but consistently, promising total release from the noise and bustle of ‘civilization’ which becomes a faint memory upon arrival at this spot.

To get to the cottage, one must walk down a shaded, grassy incline, wade through a babbling river that winds through the forested mountain and climb a few solid, ancient-looking stone steps. The experience, as simple as it is, feels like something from another world, another time, when cars didn’t exist, man lived in complete harmony with Nature and life was easy.

The only sounds, other than river water running over the rocks, are the rustle of leaves and the serenade of birds gathered in the tall trees.

“We plan on building a wooden bridge over the river,” Sheron Chambers, owner of the property, says when I ask how they manage to cross to the house when it rains heavily and the river swells.

The property, formerly known as the Original Boboshanti Herbal Spa, is located in Runnemede, Moriah, down the winding, well-paved road that leads to Cuffie River. The Spa, founded by Sheron Chambers and her late husband, the Boboshanti priest, Honourable Levi Joseph (Rudolph Chambers), used to be referred to as ‘Tobago’s best kept secret’.

For many years, Honourable Levi Joseph, known as ‘the Grandmaster of Herbal Remedies’, operated his herbal steam baths on Castara Beach. His bush teas and herbal concoctions were widely known to cure the ailments of hundreds of locals and foreigners—satisfied customers who further spread the word of his ‘miracles’.

This wealth of herbal knowledge was carried to the property in Runnemede, where the priest and his wife created their healing haven from scratch.

The steam bath, a cozy rustic room with a transparent front wall (enabling a relaxing view of the verdant outdoors) is set a short way off from the cottage. Here, in this private room, guests would sit for about an hour while a magical blend of thirteen herbs gathered from the forest would “clear your body of toxins and infections to create peace, vitality and a wonderful feeling of personal rebirth and well being.”

After the tragic death of ‘the Grandmaster’ in 2012, operations at the Spa ground to an understandable halt as the widowed Sheron embarked upon the process of healing in the aftermath of grief.

Unbeknownst to Sheron, a certified massage therapist, Hazel Ann Jaffier, had heard of her and had been searching for her, without success, for four years. As Fate would have it, the two met one day on the winding road that leads to the Spa. To call this meeting ‘chance’ or ‘coincidence’ would be to trivialize what was clearly a divinely-directed encounter—one which would lead to the new partnership that is the driving force behind the refurbishing and rebranding of the herbal spa, now to be known as One Love Spa.

With nine years as a massage therapist under her belt and experience as the manager of French Secrets Day Spa, Hazel Ann brings a strong healing energy and renewing sense of purpose and clarity to the visions for the Spa.

Sheron laughingly (but seriously) refers to Hazel Ann as her ‘juice’—a potent spirit and inspiring energy, which she welcomed as the catalyst for the Spa’s rebirth.

The women’s vision is to offer both foreigners and locals the opportunity to experience an as-close-to-Nature-as-possible lifestyle, with some modern benefits: rustic rental cottages (plans include the construction of four on the forested crest near the main cottage), herbal steam room experiences, indoor and outdoor massages and body scrubs (near or even in the river), body scrubs, bird watching, hikes (forest and nearby waterfall), camping, wellness retreats (group, couples and solo), a range of workshops and outdoor cooking and dining with the firecracker and dirt oven grill.

The neatly constructed dirt oven sits under a shed surrounded by trees, its mouth open, awaiting the next ‘meal’. With her laid back smile, Sheron describes the mouthwatering process of wrapping bread in leaves with herbs, pushing the ‘package’ into the dirt oven and, within minutes, removing tasty bread which guests can enjoy at leisure. That kind of bread is a far cry from the sticky, processed, plastic-packaged product that is sold as ‘bread’ in our local supermarkets.

With plans to develop and maximize the agricultural potential of the rich soil, Sheron points out already terraced areas on the hillside that will soon be lush with food. Guests to the property will have the experience of harvesting and eating from the land, nourishing their bodies with healing goodness.

Hazel chats animatedly about three rescue pups that are due to come and live on the property in a few days’ time. The dogs will love the location of their new ‘forever home’—acres of land to explore, lizards to chase, rivers to splash in, open grassy spots for lazing in the sun with stomachs upturned and legs in the air, children (Hazel’s children and Sheron’s nieces and nephews) who will love and play with them, and sumptuous home-cooked dog food prepared by Sheron in the outdoor kitchen . . .

Sheron quietly picks some oranges, peels and halves them with a small blade and offers them to us, her guests.

One Love Spa is and will be a heaven on earth for people and animals alike. It is clear why it can be referred to as Tobago’s ‘best kept secret’— one that will, in time, become known to all who wish to experience healing intimacy with Nature in a safe and welcoming environment.

Sheron Chambers and Hazell Ann Jaffier welcome interested investors to join with them in the development and unlimited success of One Love Spa as a multi-purpose Tourism opportunity. For more information, please contact Sheron at 753-0710 or Hazel Ann at 730-8820. Email: oneloveretreats3@gmail.com

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