Spas can be a little bit awkward can’t they? The etiquette uncertainty, the public nudity, the unexpected and slightly explicit moan you elicit from the massage table (oh – is that just me?) I took awkwardness to a whole new level upon my visit to the startlingly chic, all-white Deep Nature Spa at the Boscolo Exedra in Nice, because I had a blister on my toe. Not just any old blister – a weeping, oozing, bleeding one. How embarrassing.
In the changing rooms I exchanged my clothes for the fluffy robe and slippers in the locker provided. Using a splendid bit of initiative I nursed my injured foot with the eye make up remover pads near the vanity mirror (please don’t tell anyone) and made my way back to reception where my masseuse was waiting. Almost floating through the low-lit corridor lined with white curtains she led me into a treatment room that had a scented candle burning invitingly. Rejecting the paper pants for my own I clambered onto the massage table protectively lined with cling film and proceeded to get stuck. Not batting an eyelid the beautician held the film in place whilst I wriggled into a more comfortable position and then the scrub began. Using balm involving caviar and pearls (I know! Indulgent much!) she scrubbed my skin in circular motions until around 10 years of dirt and dry skin dropped off. After about 45 minutes I was left to rinse off the residue from my invigorated skin. The water in the treatment room shower, and indeed throughout the spa, was infused with aromatherapy oils making even the rinsing procedure a truly indulgent experience.
Back on the table the next part of the session involved a full body massage with soothing oils. I think it was the part where she soothed my head and face that made me elicit the aforementioned moan – the masseuse wasn’t embarrassed so therefore neither was I. I was a little perplexed when she began hitting me with some sort of wooden apparatus but upon reading the brochure afterwards discovered this was part of the ‘Destination Moscow’ themed treatment I was receiving, just one of the many luxurious treatments at this Alogtherm Spa. At the end of the 90 minute session my therapist tip-toed out the room to fetch a cup of tea for the very mellow me who could not move from the table. Eventually I peeled myself off and with a sappy smile made my way down to the moodily-lit, sensual swimming pool and enjoyed some sauna and steam sessions whilst I was there.
Afterwards I couldn’t help but have a closer look at the Boscolo 5 star Hotel where the Spa is based. The hotel has been through a 3 year renovation project which was completed in 2008. The truly spectacular reception is now a vacuous white space with intricate works of art dispersed throughout. Splashes of colour are provided by bright pink flowers on the chairs and billiards table, whilst the glass ceiling floods the area with light. This design continues into the bedrooms which are also airy white spaces with the scientific looking bathroom toiletries providing an injection of colour.
As if 90 minutes of attention from a masseuse wasn’t enough, that afternoon I wandered down to Hotel Splendid who have recently refurbished their Spa area. The main attraction here is a Jacuzzi tub, which lives in the centre of the Spa behind some Thai influenced bamboo blinds. I sipped sweet tea whilst the couple before me finished their soak and moved into the relaxation room. The amiable and efficient staff whizzed around tidying up after them and preparing everything for my enjoyment. After cranking up the temperature of the Jacuzzi for me (I am always cold and had just come in from the rain) they left me to soak amongst the bubbles and hot running water for what felt like hours. I dozed off as the water washed over me and would have stayed longer if there wasn’t a masseuse waiting to treat me to yet another massage. In the silent treatment room she massaged at least 3 knots out of my back with surprising strength for her petite French frame.
My final visit was to the wonderfully quirky Hotel Windsor, which has made brilliant use of its loft space with the addition of gym equipment and a Spa treatment room. After nosing around the hotel which has rooms decorated by over 20 French artists, including Nem whose work I spotted at MAMAC, I was led up a narrow staircase into the attic. It was probably the most unusual place I have ever been massaged and a word of warning for the ladies – the only masseuse on duty that day was the Spa manager who happens to be male. He is a wonderfully talented therapist who checked I was comfortable at every stage and gave me post-care advice, but if you are uncomfortable with treatments from male masseuses I would recommend checking with the hotel before making a booking.
With the charm of the Old Town and the Italian influenced food that I gushed over in my last post, plus a choice of indulgent Spas, Nice is a great option for girly weekends away. This is something I will definitely bear in mind next time the boy mentions the Monaco Grand Prix just 20 minutes down the coast….
A half day pass to the Deep Nature Spa at the Boscolo Exedra costs €50, massage and scrub treatments start from €60 and my super indulgent Destination Moscow: Supreme Gold Massage costs €150. To use the Hammam/Jacuzzi at Spa Splendid costs €15 for 45 minutes and a 1 hour massage is €62. A 30 minute massage at Hotel Windsor costs €39.
Thanks to bmi and the Nice Tourism Board for arranging my visit.