Spa Solace when Gucci meets Gastronomy

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010
The Cote d'Azur built its reputation on being a playground for the rich and famous.

Today, it's no different - and you are just as likely to rub shoulders with an A-list celebrity as you are a WAG, as absorb the sights, sounds and scents of this most lauded stretch of the French Riviera.

With the world's top designers scattered like gold-leafed confetti along Cannes' most famous shopping street, it couldn't be simpler to hop in and out of Prada, Versace, Gucci and Louis Vuitton, in your four-inch heeled Jimmy Choos.

During the annual film festival, you need to be among the seriously rich, however, to even afford cupboard space at the like of the 5-star Majestic-Barriere - and even that would need to be booked a year in advance.

With its luxurious U-Spa, newly-opened in April this year, and its proximity to the Halles des Festivales (the E30,000 per night Penthouse Suite overlooks that famous red carpet) soaking your lap of luxury or easing those aching calf muscles with a sensuous sports massage simply couldn't be easier!

You need to be resident at The Majestic to sample the delights of this magnificent spa, so its exclusivity is guaranteed. However, non-residents are welcome to dine at the famous Fouquet's restaurant - a sister to its Parisienne counterpart on the Champs Elysees - or the equally elegant La Petite Maison, where the food could not fail to impress even the most particular palate.

The Majestic has just signed a three-year partnership with Sisley Cosmetics, which specialises in phyto-cosmetology and aromatherapy and, hardly surprisingly, sports the "Leading Spa" quality label created by Leading Hotels of the World.

With views over the sea and 450 sq metres of sophisticated, contemporary space, this ocean of tranquillity is sheer escapism from all that pavement pounding.

Just a few kilometres along the coast, Nice beckons visitors with a much more diverse range of attractions - and shops, naturellement!

The historic old town with its vibrant street market and spectacular array of fresh flowers, mouth-watering fruit, salad and vegetables, pounds the senses almost as much as does the spa.

Museums - including the famous Matisse Museum - art galleries, casinos and the world-renowned Galleries Lafayettes are all to be found in these uber-clean expansive tree-lined avenues, where even the trams run on neatly-lawned tracks!

The Boscolo Exedra is conveniently situated along the Boulevard Victor Hugo, midway between the old town, the new - and that all-enticing beach. Although Nice sports more than seven miles of golden sands, in much the same way as its English cousin Blackpool, the two appear at least a continent, if not a world, apart!

The cavernous Deep Nature Spa at the Exedra uses Algotherm Marine Cosmetics and treatments - among the most sought-after in the world - and the 30-minute massage is like nothing else on earth: reminiscent of waves rolling gently over the beach, this firming massage reaches hidden depths as your mind floats away on a cloud of eucalyptus, mint and rosemary......

Here, a prestige room offers couples the opportunity to share this magical experience - although the impressive orchid-scattered bath looks like it could accommodate at least four!

If you need to please your man as well as yourself on a spa break to the Cote d'Azur, the Royal Mougins Golf Resort offers the best of both worlds, just a 10-minute drive into the mountains from Cannes.

Set in an outstanding location, the suites at this exclusive hotel offer stunning views across the mountains, along with spacious private balconies and en-suite kitchen facilities, to rustle up your cocktails and canapés, before taking dinner at one of the many hillside restaurants in this bijou village, renowned for its annual Festival of Gastronomy. Each September, an exceptional group of the world's finest chefs give lectures, cooking demonstrations and an insight into the art which is fine food. Magnifique!

If all that wining and dining has been too much for you, the spa at the Royal Mougins boasts an Iyashidome - a Japanese system of eliminating toxins, purifying the body and reducing fat levels using infra-red waves.

Just one painless 30-minute session is the equivalent of walking 20 kilometres and the proof was in this particular ‘pudding', whose weight dropped by 0.1kilos, BMI by 0.1, fat mass by 0.7kg and fat percentage by 1% - in just one session!

A short break on the Cote d'Azur is, sadly, over far too soon.

However, with daily flights to Nice from most London airports, those enticing golden sands are just a tempting two hours away.....

So, with your little piece of plastic clutched firmly in hand, a return visit is quite simply de rigeur - isn't it, darling?!

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