Health & Grooming | Chronicles of a Spa Junkie

Spa Junkie in… St Tropez

Our covert columnist takes a shine to the Platinum facial

Spa Junkie in… St Tropez

September 20 2011
Spa Junkie

Part: 1 | 2

Spa Junkie is trying out La Prairie’s line of Platinum skin products at Château de la Messardière, the luxury hotel and spa in St Tropez.

Two therapists perform the treatment, which slightly supports the ROI on the experience and goes a small way to justifying the cost. “I will be taking care of your face, and my colleague will take care of your hands and your feet,” says the aesthetician, who focuses on the facial and massages my neck and shoulders while the nail technician soaks, scrubs and swathes my extremities in the lavish products.

It’s a well-rehearsed, four-hand job. It starts with hot cloths on my shoulders and feet, then the usual cleanse, peel, massage and mask on the face. Simultaneously my toes and feet are scrubbed, massaged and moisturised. The innovative use of varied temperatures and ingredients creates an alternate hot and cold, rough and smooth experience. It’s pampering taken to another level. I feel like Cleopatra – cue the grape bearer.

As she applies a generous layer of the cellular cream, the aesthetician explains: “I’m working at the cellular level to repair your skin’s DNA. The platinum is negatively charged so it recharges, moisturises and maintains the electrical balance of the skin. It also brightens and tightens the skin, but its main focus is on decelerating the ageing process. This is done through a unique combination of negatively charged colloidal platinum, collagen stimulating peptides, a herb called Centella asiatica which strengthens the skin, hesperidin, which is a bioflavonoid found in citrus fruits, and resveratrol, which…”

I butt in. “Resveratrol… the powerful antioxidant found in the skin of red grapes!”

Oui – c’est ça. Correct. Bravo.” She cracks a half smile. I explain that I had learned all about it on a recent jaunt to a vinotherapy spa in Umbria.

Post-treatment, I give the results a once-over in the mirror. It looks good; the “I’ve-been-in-the-sun-too-long” wrinkly veneer is now so two hours ago.

Later that afternoon, having had my hair freshly blown out at Bruno’s, I am sitting on the terrace nibbling at some crudités when my friend comes wafting out of the spa as if on a cloud. As she daintily places her behind on the chair and picks up a radish, she emphatically declares: “I’m in heaven – that was amazing. I just had the Sublime Polynesia Cinq Mondes massage. My therapist used her arms and elbows instead of her hands. I loved it.”

“That technique is called lomi lomi, and it originates from Hawaii.” I sound quite smart.

“How was your facial?” she asks. I tell her.


The overall experience was very relaxing – actually, dare I say it, nothing short of divine. The combined treatment/technique and the products have made a noticeable difference to my skin texture – “I look a great deal fresher than when I walked in a few hours ago, don’t you think?”

“Totally, your skin looks great,” she says, running the back of her hand across my cheek.

But I do have to admit, I tell her, that to me (and my wallet), the treatment is probably not worth the expense when you are on a beach holiday. My face will be back in the salty water tomorrow, and despite my big-brimmed hat and sunblock, my skin will become dehydrated again, and a good deal of the benefits will be lost.

My friend shares her counsel: stick to the bog-standard facials that help exfoliate and hydrate your skin during the holidays; leave the fancy stuff for the city.

Very sensible; I am impressed by her frugality. Good call, Batman.

As the salads and rosé arrive, we concur that the first week of September is a great time to come to St Tropez and eke out a sneaky last week of summer. And we agree that this is the only place to stay. The spa and hotel have enough to keep us occupied, and from this point one can calmly dip one’s perfectly pedicured toes in and out of the last remaining beach-bar bits of fun at will.

Spa Junkie pays for all her own travel, treatments and accommodation.