On my brief visit to Paris for the Beyond Beauty Spa Event, I took a day or so to visit a few spas. The last time I was in Paris was 18 years ago when my twin sister, Katrine, and I went to Paris to participate in a cooking school at the Ritz Paris, École Ritz Escoffier. (To this day our husbands remind us that it was the biggest waste of money as they have never seen any improvement in our cooking.) Tee hee… Katrine and I had a lot of fun and while we may not have learned to make a good Coq au Vin, we did improve our shopping skills!
Fast forward to 2009…..the Paris spa scene has greatly improved! (SpaFinder alone has more than 25 partner spas in Paris!) On my whirlwind tour, I visited six spas in 1 ½ days and had treatments at two. Here is my quick summary:
OVERALL: The French have been leaders in thalassotherapy spas, beauty products, and skin care. They have been late to the more modern spa-scene and just recently took up using the term ‘spa.’ Nevertheless, they are now catching up and in true French fashion (pun intended), French spas are excelling in terms of exquisite design. Many have swimming pools that seem to get “center stage” – whether at the Ritz Hotel Paris, Villa Thalgo Paris Trocadéro, Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris or L’Espace Payot Paris – likely because space is at a premium and using it for a pool is, well, expensive.
1. Opening Party at the new Villa Thalgo Paris TrocadéroHighs:
Impressive, large and tastefully designed space. Complete spa feel with hydrotherapy, color therapy, etc. Lovely swimming pool with glass wall for viewing. Having synchronized swimmers dressed in sequined outfits perform periodically during their opening cocktail party was a real hit. Has a point of view – Thalgo products are known for marine and plant origin so the water theme is well executed.Lows
: Seems pricey but possibly worth it. I didn’t have a chance to have a treatment. Shi Shi area of town so unlikely to be a problem.
2. Facial at the Spa at Four Seasons George VHighs
: Spa director is a jewel. Verena Fox Lavisgne has a lovely demeanor. Her warm, embracing hospitality is a model for all spa personnel. She even arranged for a shampoo/blow dry after my facial assuming I would need it. (The celebrity-like stylist had the most amazing shampoo chair.) At this spa, I forgot all about health and wellness – who cares – this was pampering at its best and it was doing me good!Lows
: Having to leave.
3. Aromatherapy Massage at JOЇYA Day SpaHighs
: Owner, Julia Lemigova, a beautiful former model from Russia, who I met at the Beyond Beauty Show has a great story and a cool new skin care line she recently launched named Russie Blanche
(White Russian). It’s a media magnet. Spa services were very reasonably priced!Lows
: Spa is very small and I had to change in the tiny massage room which is very tight. Bathrooms upstairs and treatments were downstairs. My therapist couldn’t speak English so was a bit hard to communicate re issues.
4. Quick tour of L’Espace Payot Paris
Highs: Great location at the heart of the Paris Golden Triangle. Good facilities and very welcoming for both men and women. Fantastic pool. Well known popular Payot products. Liked the healthy juice bar.
Lows: A bit more of a ‘club’ feel – can be a high or a low actually.
5. Christian Dior Institut at Hôtel Plaza Athénée
Highs: Impressive décor. Loved the very large video of the latest Dior fashion show viewed from everywhere including the relaxation lounge, which had windows through to the stunning entry.
Lows: Didn’t feel warm-fuzzies from the staff. Perhaps an off day for them?
6. Strut through Hotel Costes Spa with colleague and friend Anni Hood
Highs: Reflects the “cool vibe” of their stylish designer hotel and chic bar and restaurant. The spa is sexy, even brothel-like. A “scene and be seen” type of crowd with sensual décor as a backdrop.
Lows: In basement, low ceilings, quaint and tight. Major attitude; although in this setting, I would expect nothing less!
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