Holidaying with Helena Christensen: can a package resort do supermodel glamour?

Package holidays at Negrils new resort come with glamour as part of the package

My first mistake, arriving at Montego Bay airport in Jamaica, is to assume everybody has is aware of the new resort in Negril that Im headed to. Sensatori! I say proudly, to an unimpressed customs agent who replies that theres no such hotel, which attains me panic. Sensativia? I try. Sensationalia? Thank God she waves me through before I accidentally invent a range of sex toys, or yogurt. But Sensatori is indeed the name of a chain of luxury resorts from Thomson, which is now expanding into the long-haul destinations of Jamaica, Mexico and Dominican Republic.

Our taxi driver plays Bob Marley but regales me with narratives of the local rapper Vybz Kartel, currently in prison for assassination, and Alkaline, who has tattooed his own eyeball. I ask if Alkaline has killed anybody. Not yet! So its quite a relief to arrive at the resort and find everyones eyeballs intact, gazing blissfully at the 7 miles of white beach that surround us, the shiny white houses that make up the restaurants, beach bars and hotel rooms, and various swimming pool. Whats more, the supermodel and photographer Helena Christensen is here, promoting the resort for which she has co-designed a range of boyfriend shirts.

As night autumns, I am invited to dine with Christensen and her friends at tables laid out on the sand, beside a live reggae band. A burly granny, covered in tattoos, approaches with her family and tries to sit in our reserved seats. Greedy sod! she responds, cheerily, when I say theyre for somebody else. This resort might be imagination, but its still very much a package vacation mob. Sensatori is not the Mustique sort of holiday where people have their own villas and yachts this place is for British tourists who want to lie on sun loungers until they change colour. But oh, that beach. That sand, that water Ive never felt anything like it. You only walk into the sea until youre horizontal, which I do at 8am the next morning, only to find Christensen beside me in her turquoise bikini, matching the water.

Soak
Soak it up: Half Moon Beach. Photo: Helena Christensen

Relax every muscle in your body, she murmurs, in her Danish accent. Relax every tension. I have never felt so grateful for salt; I am held aloft by it, by the turquoise, by the freshness of the air. She says she went by boat ride to a tiny island with a pirate bar on it yesterday, gazed at a red flowering tree, then stopped at a local marketplace to buy a little tie-dye top with Jamaica written on it in sequins. I always do my nails in different colours in the summer each thumb so Im going to do them the same colourings as the tie dye.

And the fact that this is an all-inclusive resort means a waitress will come along, when youre lying on that beach, offering you free drinks. If you dont fancy room service you can nip into any of the cafs and have a smoothie, or lunch, or champagne, without needing your handbag. In fact, you start to forget about financial exchange altogether, constructing you even more relaxed. Looking back, Im astounded there werent more drunken idiots taking advantage, but at midnight in the cocktail bar the mood was still entirely pleasant. Or perhaps thats how I remember it because I was the drunken idiot. Hard to know for sure.

Christensen urges me to have a massage in the spa, which is as good as she promises. You know in some massages, when they dont go deep enough it was so satisfying to ultimately have someone who could feel it She has also been taking the resorts yoga class, and been running on the beach. I believed, what the hell, I havent run for so long. Bare feet. All the style down the other aim where theres a really interesting exhibition all these weird objects and a guy standing here. Then I looked closer and went, Oh! Most of them are penis. OK, see ya. She laughs. But thats what I like when theres something else going on that gives you a little unexpected thrill.

If penis thrills arent enough, you can also drive to nearby attractions such as the YS Falls, a heavenly jungle waterfall which a guide results us right into in our swimsuits. Somehow, he persuades me to jump 20 ft off a rope swing into the water, which I will never forget perhaps because of the audio of strangers chuckling as I splay through the air with my eyes squeezed shut, screaming.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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