Monte Carlo’s Fairmont Willow Stream Spa for PURE ener.g
I'm pretty much on-record as a fan of Fairmont's Willow Stream spas. I like the soft touches that they have: fluffy blankets, plenty of fruit and citrus-water on offer in the relaxation rooms, excellent facilities in the changing rooms, and I enjoy the well-thought-out spa treatment menus, too. Willow Stream spas often have locally-inspired treatments and I love the chance to try something that's unique to the area.
Along with Aromatherapy Associates, Willow Stream spas also work with Kerstin Florian products. They invited us out to the Fairmont in Monte Carlo, to get a first-chance try of a brand new product line created by Kerstin Florian International: ener.g, and the PURE ener.g therapy.
In pole position for the annual Grand Prix -- and also for lovers of more tranquil pursuits -- the Fairmont in Monte Carlo looks out over the sea and the famous "Fairmont" bend. The heated rooftop pool allows you the rare pleasure (for us in the UK) of swimming in December, face upturned to the azure-blue sky as you lazily swim laps. Take a break from all that activity and you can look out over three countries:Monaco, Italy and France.
The hotel rooms are spacious and comfortable, more traditional in decor than modern. The balcony boasts a lounger and table, ideal for breakfast looking out over the sparkling sea. However, the rather unwelcome guests of seagulls were so daring that they made my Brighton birds look positively well mannered. Do NOT feed the gulls!
But what of the spa? Typically Willow Stream, the changing rooms were squeaky-clean, with plenty of fluffy white towels. The relaxation room had comfy chaises, sofas and glossy magazines; although I couldn't find any English ones, I was happy to flick through the French ones on offer.
PURE ener.g is a 90-minute top-to-toe treatment, starting with an exfoliating footbath, then a full body scrub, ending with a moisturising massage. I had seen one of the treatment rooms which had a huge shower which transformed into a colour-therapy steam room and begged for a chance to try it. I sat on a towel-covered stool, my back against the steamy tiles, and found myself completely zoning out in the darkness as the overhead lightning pulsed from blue, to green, to violet, to red... I stayed there ten minutes but it felt longer and left me pleasantly relaxed.
So, to the start of the treatment proper: my therapist set up the foot bath on the balcony. Wonderful. To be wrapped in a white robe, with the sun on my face in December, felt as good as life could get; until Veronique began scrubbing my feet, then things got even better!
After a scrub and mini-foot massage, Veronique dried me off and pointed towards the couch. She gave me a thorough full-body exfoliation with a "re-mineralising" salt scrub. The ener.g products are a blend of Bergamot, Rose Geranium, Clary Sage and Roman Chamomile - all perfect balancing aromas for women, but not so floral that they would feel "too girly" for men.
Post scrub, it was time for my massage. I was face-down, and my therapist used a series of long, slow, almost hypnotic movements. The combination of the calming, relaxing scent and her firm, expert movements had me like putty in her hands. When it was time to turn over, I have to confess that it was a struggle to stay awake. The rice pillow over my eyes and the hot towel beneath my neck lulled me even deeper into a happily relaxed state of spa-zombie.
After the treatment, I drifted down the corridor towards the relaxation room and curled up on a sofa. I thirstily drank some lemon-water and admired my perfectly polished, deeply moisturised skin.
Getting there: easyJet flies to Nice from Bristol, Edinburgh, Liverpool, London Gatwick, Luton, Newcastle and Stansted. Prices one-way start from £24.99 and include all taxes. Visit www.easyJet.com to book.