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  • World-Class Spa and World-Class Diving?
    Only at Harbour Village, Bonaire
    by Bill Gleason

    If your vacation thoughts run to exercise, massages, steamrooms and all the various health services of a full line spa, there are any number of world-class resorts that will cater to your needs. If you want a spa vacation with world-class diving, however, there is only one top notch alternative;Harbour Village, on Bonaire.

    Bonaire offers lush, dense reefs and diving 365 days a year (the island is south of the Hurricane Belt and receives little rainfall). These same conditions have allowed life on the reefs to proliferate. Bonaire is often characterized as having some of easiest diving in the world. Nearly all of the sites are on the western, leeside of the island, thus calm water prevails. The drop-offs ring the island, just a four minute swim from shore. Bonaire is not only the shore diving capital of the diving world, it's the macro capital.

    Harbour Village's dive operation offers visits to top notch sites daily on roomy, well laid out boats. There is gear storage right next to the dock and a full complement of basic certification, advanced and specialty programs. But, there are at least eight operations I could name (Harbour Village among them) that can deliver a first class diving experience on Bonaire;that's not unusual. For accommodations and amenities, however, Harbour Village stands alone. From phones in your rooms to restaurants and retail stores, it's a first class act;and then there's the Spa!

    The Spa is not a room turned into a gym (like so many 'health centers' found in hotels these days). Don't, however, expect to find your breakfast partners wearing facial masks while dining on 110 calorie 'nutritious' breakfasts, it's not that kind of place, either. But, you can get a full workout in the Spa's fitness rooms, take classes in the aerobic room and dine on spa-type food if you like!

    The Spa is just one of the many integrated services you'll find at Harbour Village and it blends nicely and unobtrusively into the hotel's environment. Its staff is knowledgeable about all aspects of health, from exercise to skin care to just plain pampering. There are both dry and steam saunas, along with several hottubs and small pools, tucked away in beautiful surroundings. On our last visit, we sampled the workout and aerobic rooms on a daily basis. We found air-conditioned workouts easily beat trying to run or bicycle outdoor in the Caribbean during the day! The Spa services (massages for both of us and a facial and yoga class for my traveling friend) were first class. And, since Harbour Village runs all of the services (dining, diving, spa, stores, etc.), just charge the amenities to your room and get back to a night dive, relax on the beach or figure out what kind of massage you'll want next!

    Harbour Village is one of the larger properties (physically) in Bonaire, yet it has only 70 guestrooms. Although guests are pampered with all the amenities and luxuries, they never have to stand in a line. This property was designed with luxury in mind but on a scale commensurate and in tune with the friendly style of Bonaire.

    Strangely enough, while Harbour Village is not cheap by any means, it is reasonably competitive (within 10 to 15 percent) with other hotels on the island. Given the services it provides, we found it a tremendous value for a vacation. If exercise, spa services and diving are all on your next vacation wish list, just book at Harbour Village. You won't find this combination elsewhere in the diving world! To check out Harbour Village packages, call (800) 868-7477, (305) 567-0349 or fax (305) 567-9659. You can e-mail to harbourvil@aol.com, the Internet address is http://www.harbourvillage.com.