FranCk Provost, Mumbai
This paper gave the people at Franck Provost something to work with. My noon appointment at Bandra’s French day spa was preceded by torrential showers, resulting in mucky feet. To their credit, they didn’t blink. After a cheery, “Bonjour, madame,” I was ushered in to try their new range of treatments. My therapist Sameera was thrilled with her in-need-of-cleansing specimen. Over a cup of cardamom tea, she went over what I needed—steam, a scrub, a massage and, finally, the Moroccan Rassoul mud wrap. I didn’t think my epidermis was that much of a lost cause, but try arguing with someone who digs elbows into people’s backs for a living. Besides, it’s a chain reaction—the steam softens you for the scrub, which helps the skin absorb the massage oil and wrap.
The good stuff
All steamed out, Sameera scrubbed away with a gritty mix. When I thought there was not a scrap of dry skin left, she brought on the loofah gloves. Using a loofah over freshly-exfoliated skin can be unpleasant. It felt like a rub-down with a kitchen grater. I kept quiet for: (a) the greater good of my skin, (b) because I’m a wuss (I once got a Swedish massage so vigorous that my muscles were sore for a week).
Frank Provost, Mumbai
When Sameera asked if she could start the massage without rinsing off the scrub, I grew a spine, yelped “no”, ran to the shower and did some examining in the cold blast—no scratch marks, and my skin felt as smooth as vinyl. The “short” massage was a vigorous half-hour rub with rose oil. No complaints there; I actually enjoy stiff massages (barring that long-ago katastrof).
Next, I was encased in the warm Rassoul mud, and wrapped in a sheet of silver foil. “Gift-wrapped like a present,” giggled Sameera. The magnesium, iron and potassium-rich mud was given 15 minutes to do its job of replenishing and smoothening, and relieving fatigue. The result was buttery, rose oil-scented skin.
The two-hour long bubble was burst by seven missed calls, four text messages and more puddles.
The new treatments at Franck Provost start at Rs2,500, plus tax, and the Moroccan Rassoul wrap with the scrub and massage costs Rs4,500, plus tax. Forgo Campari cocktails and pricey shoes.
Fitplaza , Gurgaon
I do not have the makings of a spa junkie but the idea of trying out an authentic Turkish hammam tempted me to travel to Center Plaza in Gurgaon where Fitplaza, a new wellness centre by the Holland-based company, Vadain Group, has opened recently. Fitplaza aims to be a one-stop rejuvenation destination which offers a spa with hammam, a techno-gym and a beauty salon.
The good stuff
As of now, the view of the undeveloped Gurgaon landscape from Fitplaza’s state-of-the-art workout centre is so great that even a sluggish gym-goer will be tempted to make the most of his time. The spa treatments offer the regular fare (hot stone therapy, aromatherapy) and of course, the hammam.
An hour-and-a-half in the hammam is a relaxing experience and the complete treatment left me feeling squeaky clean after I sweated out most of the body toxins, courtesy the hot steam that misted the room. The dry body brush, the olive oil massage and the Rassoul mud wrap added to the rejuvenating experience.
While Fitplaza is a boon for Gurgaonites, a two-hour ride to and fro from New Delhi to experience this luxury is really way too taxing.
While hammam treatment will leave your pocket lighter by Rs7,000, treatments like the 45-minute Balinese massage cost Rs2,500.
Seema Chowdhry Sharma