Spa Junkie is staying at the Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat in the South of France.
8am. A light health breakfast on La Véranda again, and then it’s off on a run with the trainer. We trace a 45-minute-long route along the coastline, then do some abdominals and other core exercises.
The spa has created a unique series of detox treatments that together support the elimination of toxins. “We are starting with the Aromasoul Scrub, a dark-brown mixture of rice, coconut, olive seed and mother-of-pearl particles,” explains the therapist.
She gently rubs the coarse, cold concoction all over. There are three different variants, so if you have sensitive skin you should opt for the lighter scrub, as your skin could get quite raw with the coarser ones. After a shower it’s time for the Monticelli wrap. “The mud from Monticelli is famous for its detoxifying qualities – and you will notice it does not have that horrible sulphur smell.” My entire body is covered in the clay and I am then wrapped like a mummy in a special insulating blanket. A cooling head massage is a huge relief as my body heats up in the cocoon.
Do I really need the lymphatic drainage massage? I have to be honest, I find them unpleasant. “Obviously I won’t force you but we strongly recommend that you do,” says the therapist, explaining that the scrub, wrap and massage work in unison. The drainage massage (which is very light, almost a tickle) stimulates the lymph system just under the skin to release the toxins that have been brought to the surface. I capitulate.
I’m back at the Club Dauphin, where there’s a very impressive pool. I’m talking about a two-laps-and-you-are-dead type of training pool. It does not have the rocks and the swings of the Eden Roc but, in my opinion, it’s the best in the South of France.
I have lunch at the pool; the atmosphere is super-relaxed and serene. The waiter arrives flourishing yet another symphony of colours and flavours; this time it’s lobster tails on a bed of green beans, rocket, mangetout and peas served with a vegetable juice. Across the table, I eye two men who have also ordered off-menu, as single chicken breasts and bowls of brown rice are placed in front of them. Clearly, the Cap-Ferrat is, as they say, at your service. Unlike so many French kitchens, here you can amend and embellish the menu as if you were in Southern California.
I spend the afternoon playing an excellent game of tennis with Jean, taking another hatha yoga session at the outdoor cabana, and topping it all off with a Thai massage to end a glorious and truly relaxing three days away from the lollapalooza of Cannes.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The positioning here, I decide over one of my sublime lunches, is five-star all the way. It’s clearly not a medical destination, such as Merano, for instance, as all the Grand-Hôtel du Cap’s medi-spa treatments are administered well off-premises. But what it does offer, which is essentially a top-notch spa experience to match the unassailable hotel one, it does very well. The key elements are the food (I’ve come to call it gastro-detox – you’re slimming without realising it), an incredible setting, and lots of indoor-outdoor spa and fitness activities for him and her (and their kids, if they’ve brought them). It all combines to make for a great break – which is, after all, what I was in the market for, as opposed to a hardcore seven-day programme (though I am completely convinced, given my abbreviated experience, that if weight loss were my aim I’d have certainly achieved it here in the two weeks that Hanneke recommended when I arrived). As it is, I am leaving feeling healthy and genuinely rejuvenated.
The final word: I think if you can afford it, there is nothing to beat this in the South of France. And it’s a palace.
Spa Junkie pays for all her own travel, treatments and accommodation.