It was a beautiful warm and sunny day. I had just washed my hair and the breeze drying it through sent small shivers up my spine. I quickened my pace away from the Arc de Triomphe to distance myself from the coaches of tourists alighting to snap away at the famous landmark. Nothing was going to spoil my good mood. On my day off I decided to try the five-star Hotel Villa Majestic’s Cinq Mondes spa. I had read that it won first prize for best treatment in France’s Best Spa 2012 awards, which had inspired me to book a treatment. I had been sitting in my small living room contemplating the grim weather outside, despairingly looking at my reflection in the mirror on the wall. My skin looked like it had been drained of its colour, giving me a sickly green glow. The delayed spring weather wasn’t helping either.
A week later I was weaving in and out of tourists at Charles de Gaulle Etoile metro station, racing to get away from the seething masses of flashing cameras. The spring weather cast a ray of cheerful hopefulness over the city, the way sunshine usually does in Europe’s concreted cities.
The Villa Majestic sits discreetly on a small side street in the upmarket 16th district of the French capital. I briefly glanced at the line of highly polished black Mercs parked outside the hotel before darting in, impatient to slip on one of those cosy spa robes and lie down under the therapist’s hands, working away at the stress and the horrid dull colour of my skin.
I had expected the spa to be larger than it was, but this only made it feel more exclusive. There was no one in the spa but me. I was welcomed by a smiling young therapist boasting the bright complexion and glimmer in her eyes that most enlightened spa therapists have. After a brief explanation, I went to the locker room to get changed into my robe. The area is very small, and nothing like the fancy spas I had been to before. I had a quick look around, feeling a little disappointed. I saw two hammam (North African steam rooms) tiled with deep blue mosaics, two saunas and finally, the pièce de résistance, the pool area. The turquoise water was iridescent in the dimly lit room, which revived my hopes of a high standard facial despite the lacking luxury in the surroundings.
On the massage table, I let the therapist work her way through my dead skin cells, hoping for a miracle. The Majestic Spa, or ‘MajClub’, as it is known, is of the renowned Asian and Orient-inspired Cinq Mondes brand. The products smell very different to the usual expensive and overly powerful products most spas tend to use, but these products were subtle, light and smelled refreshing and uplifting. As I listened to the soothing music playing in the background and took in the ‘Eau de Siam’ spray, I could already feel my eyelids getting heavier in the hushed room.
My feet were pressed in hot towels before the ‘Pâte de Fleurs’ deep cleanser was applied to my face, followed by the ‘Graînes de Fleurs’ exfoliating gel and a long deep draining massage using the nourishing ‘Crème confort Intense’. It was somewhere between the intense, deeply relaxing ayurvedic ‘Baume trois huiles’ and the incredibly appeasing massage that the music started getting further and further away as I drifted in and out of sleep. A kaolin clarifying mask and a blend of complexion-boosting ‘Elixir’ essential oils were applied to reenergise my drawn skin, which by this time felt like it was floating right off my cheekbones.
An hour later my Ko Bi Do facial was over and I could hardly stand up when the lady left me alone to put my robe back on. Every muscle in my body yearned to be left alone in the dark room to sleep for days on end. Instead, I made my way to the pool in the hope that it would help to wake me up and better prepare me for the Parisian hustle and bustle that awaited me outside.
Despite lacking the luxurious surroundings that you might find at more exotic locations, the MajClub Cinq Monde spa is a welcome break from routine to revive the mind and remind one of the need to press the ‘standby’ button once in a while to reenergise the senses. The best part of the MajClub is its intimate atmosphere – one will never find a long line of resting bodies waiting for their treatments in a conveyor belt-like atmosphere. It’s just a shame that the MajClub doesn’t have a floating cloud to take you home afterwards – catching the grimy squealing metro is a little less glamorous indeed.
Hotel Villa Majestic, 30 rue de la Pérouse, Paris 75116. Tel: +33 (0)1 45 00 83 70. Website.