I love travelling – the discovery of new places, new tastes, exploring different cultures – and I love hotels… with a passion. Just why I love hotels is an article in itself, but one of the reasons is because of the new lotions and potions, beauty products, candles and creams I find in them.
In cold and very grey January, I went to review the Hôtel de Crillon, a Rosewood hotel, in Paris. Reopened recently after a four-year transformation, this majestic 18th-century palace has been beautifully restored and brought bang up to date through contemporary art, advanced technology and the impossible-to-attribute “21st-century coolness” that a hotel just has or hasn’t. The biggest addition to the new-era Crillon is that of a spa. Deep within interiors of marble and mirrors, aquas and celadons, lay the promise to transform me.
Before me lay a range of products that I had never heard of, all brimming with French chic and sophisticated aromas. Rosewood has clearly gone to some trouble to track down products that match the history of the Crillon. In my private bathroom I had found soap, shampoo and body lotion by the delicious Buly, founded in 1803, but here in the spa I found Maison Caulières, whose candles were scenting the room. Its roots lie in a farm owned by the de Caulières family for almost 300 years; the products came about because current owner of the estate Eric Desforges de Caulières noticed that when he was cold-pressing rapeseed, linseed and sunflower oils, his hands became softer and smoother. From that was born the range of creams and oils featuring those three extra-virgin, nutrient-rich substances.
Products are divided by the seasons, emphasising their rural origins – white packaging has the family crest in different colours to match: blue lettering for winter, green for spring, orange for summer and pink for autumn. I began my treatment with an exfoliating cream – Richesse des Sous-Bois (€13 for 20ml). A rich cream mixed with ground apricot kernels, it was full of fruity notes and did a wonderful job of sloughing off the dead cells. Then I was massaged with Cuvée d’Or (€20 for 30ml), a dry, gourmet oil that’s a mix of sunflower, rape bark and linseed oils and honey. It left my skin soft for days – even in the Parisian chill.
Such were the results that I went back to buy a bottle of the Cuvée d’Or to get me through the winter – and I couldn’t resist a candle (€50), which came from the spring range and had a scent of fresh mint, early-morning dew and flowerbuds. Called A l’Aube des Sens (At the Dawn of the Senses), it would be perfect for morning meditation (when not doing the school run or the dog walking). When I looked online, I also saw that Maison Caulières has a travel collection in its range, which brought me full circle.