June 4, 2008
Pampering in the City of Light, 5 Paris Spas
SPA NUXE 32
Stepping into this chic retreat housed in a former wine and spirit storehouse in the heart of Paris is like walking into a shoot for an interior decor magazine. Intimate candlelight and elegant drapes hung from 17th-century beams create an amorous ambience.
Two couples’ packages are available in a spacious two-bedded treatment room with its own whirlpool bath illuminated by precious mosaics. The Sweetheart Escape combines a frothy bath with an hour-long relaxing massage together, while the Tandem Escape involves a two-hour facial and massage using carefully selected French lotions and potions. Spa Nuxe 32
Take one 18th-century grande dame, whisk in some Philippe Starck contemporary flourishes, wrap it in elegant excess and you have a recipe for sumptuous decadence that has attracted kings, presidents, A-listers and artists for a 100 years or so And excess is the word.
In its delicious spa, femmes fatales have long given in to seductive treatments that promise to hold back the years. Intensive facials from Swiss skincare specialist Valmont, combined with the latest high-tech wizardry, aim to leave you wrinkle-free and radiant. Indulge yourself. You are worth it.
The 90-minute Meurice Vitamin C intensive brightening facial costs an eye-watering (£157, $307); the brave can try the cold cryogenic body wrap (£65, $127) to tone legs and improve circulation. Brrrrr. Le Meurice
HOTEL LE BRISTOL
Just around the corner from the Champs Elysees, in the Parisian version of Mayfair, the Hotel Le Bristol is seductive, sexy and intimate.
The Anne Sémonin Spa opened in July 2007 in a building next door to Le Bristol. It’s small with three treatment rooms and classically designed with modern, beige tones. There’s a waterfall in the reception area and each treatment bed is covered with a cashmere blanket. The mother-of-pearl accessory boxes are a nice touch.
A Haute-Couture 3-day getaway costs £960, $187 and includes a personal trainer and lots of pampering. Other massages on offer include: 100 per cent Active De-Crease Facial, Deep Release Massage with hot stones and the 3 hour Face and Body Detox Therapy. Hotel Le Bristol
GEORGE V SPA
An underground spa, not far from the Bastille with a small swimming pool and Jacuzzi illuminated by a special light which replicates the daylight outside – it rises in the east and sets in the west. The overall look is Palace of Versailles. Toile de jouy fabric covers every wall, carriage clocks are on every mantelpiece. In the relaxation room there are three four-poster day beds, swathed in muslin, covered in velvet bolsters and large scatter cushions.
Disappointingly the sauna and steam room are in the women’s changing rooms. This meant there was no sense of a spa "journey" where you can move from water to hot rooms to slowly unwind before your treatment. Instead it felt like a beautifully decorated health club, where the treatment rooms were very separate from the water areas.
The website doesn’t give any prices for the treatments, but my massage cost €140 (£105, $205). You can only use the pool and Jacuzzi if you are a guest at the hotel, but anyone can book a treatment. The cheapest "George V" massage is €125, $193 and the most expensive, the "four hands" massage is €200, $309. Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris
GUERLAIN INSTITUT DE BEAUTE
You can shop, sightsee then spa at this architectural landmark on the Champs Elysses, where the French dames finish off a session with a bespoke perfume.
The Institut de Beaute is essentially just that. There is no gym, sauna or whirlpool bath. Food: None to speak of, bar an array of delicious herbal teas.
A Transforming Day Experience of 8hr 15min costs €720 (about £500, $1113). Less expensive Day Experiences include the seven-hour Bridal Glow (€650, $1004), the three-hour Take A Break (€250, $386); a relaxing Imperiale Massage for 60min costs €90,$139 and a bikini wax €22, $34. Guerlain Institute de Beaute
View Spas of France