Who: Mathilde and Bertrand Thomas, founders of Caudalie
What: Caudalie Massage
Why: Wine aficionados everywhere will be intrigued by this vineyard-centric spa located on the fourth floor of the iconic Plaza Hotel. The spa, managed by luxury skincare brand Caudalie, is the only outpost in the United States and opened in late 2008, joining its counterparts in France and Spain. I got a tour and sampled a treatment last week and loved the experience so much that I brought my guy back to experience one as well.
Upon entering the spa, one immediate notices the openness of the space and soothing color palette. Designed in Caudalie’s signature hues of green and brown, the decor feels friendly and comfortable for both genders. Having spent so much time in luxury spas, I’ve found that most exude a very upscale but feminine feel- sometimes making them difficult to bring a manly man to. This was not the case at the here I observed quite a few men and couples enjoying pampering with a glass of wine on the side. In addition, Caudalie offers a selection of male-oriented treatments, including a half day “Plaza Man Ritual.”
I treated my man to a signature Caudalie Massage, which is a customizable head to toe treatment using Caudalie’s signature massage techniques and oils. After a long work week, he chose to get a relaxing treatment- so relaxing in fact that it put him right to sleep! I, on the other hand, opted for the toning massage, which is highly energetic with bold sweeping strokes and left me feeling more alert and less relaxed during the treatment. The massage also included a face massage- one that my guy loved so much he wanted to learn the technique himself! I, being always paranoid about skincare, was a little worried about having oils being rubbed into my breakout-prone skin, but am happy to report that a week later, no unsightly pimples resulted from the five minute treatment.
The spa also offers a lineup of traditional massages, which I recommend if you know specifically what you are looking for. I was a little caught off guard by the style of my massage, so if you know that you want a deep massage or a Swedish massage, I would recommend directly booking that treatment. If you are a little more adventurous or want something energizing, then I recommend trying their signature massage style.
The waiting area at the Caudalie Spa is actually a real wine lounge. It’s a large, spacious area with tables, couches, walls of wines and presided over by a sommelier who can answer any question one could have about the different bottles housed in the spa (for example, 2005 was a particularly good year for French wines). Caudalie’s other spas are all housed on European vineyards, and the wine lounge brings a bit of that ambiance to the busy city. The wine menu serves reds and whites by the glass or by the bottle and I thought they were priced reasonably., with glasses ranging from $6 to $15. However, unlike most other luxury spas, a glass of wine or champagne is not complimentary here, a service that I thought would’ve been a nice touch. The lounge also includes a food menu, if after a 90 minute body wrap, you happen to feel a little hungry.
The Spa welcomes all their patients as VIP from the moment you arrive. I was greeted by my name before I even checked in with the front desk! In addition, when we stopped by the lounge for a glass of wine, the sommelier also knew who we were despite the fact that we’d never seen each other before. Everything was so behind the scenes and seamless, that it almost felt like that moment in the The Devil Wear’s Prada, where Miranda runs into an unfamiliar face at the party and greeted her by name without missing a beat. I left incredibly impressed by how smoothly the entire visit went, from check in to check out.
I found the Caudalie Spa a wonderful place to bring a man to experience a luxury treatment without having him feel uncomfortable or out of place. Treatment prices are a bit higher than other luxury spas, but the unique experience made it well worth it. The Caudalie Spa is one that you can come with a group of girls or with a significant other- just make sure you have a lot of time to enjoy everything it offers.
Disclosure: The editor’s treatment was comped by the spa, as standard in industry practices. The editor’s guest’s treatment and all incidentals were paid in full with a 10% discount.