Les Sources de Caudalie

I ♥ NY! Spa Relaxation

My Valentine’s gift this year… a visit to Caudalie Vinothérapieâ„¢ Spa, the New York City outpost of my dream spa and wine destination, Les Sources de Caudalie in Bordeaux, France. You can find this paradise on the fourth floor of The Plaza Hotel combining blissful spa treatments AND a luxurious wine lounge. Opened in 2008, this is a must visit for any spa and wine lover as Caudalie combines the best of what it makes from the grape… wine and its skin healing products.

Your greeted at the spa by the wonderful scents of Caudalie’s signature products and surrounded throughout by materials of a French Château like warm woods, stone, vines, fabulous grape photography. The spa offers a full range of treatments including many of their signatures. I enjoyed the Wine Maker’s Massage with Doug. It “recreates the timeless ritualistic steps of the wine-making process: Bare-hand massage techniques alternate with a rolling massage using a wine maker’s stick over the body, and gentle finger-tip pressure applications along the body’s vital energy paths. This massage, like fine wine, offers balance and brilliance.” 50 heavenly minutes!

Doug then escorted me to the lovely “French Paradox” Wine Lounge featuring the only Spa Sommelier in the world! Clifford Rames, the Caudalie Sommelier, is the best! (As is all of the staff!) He’s very approachable and will tell you all about the wines he pours. Relax for as long as you want (we were there for several hours) in the burgundy Bordeaux leather chairs and sofas surrounded by bottles of wine and French music playing in the background. Poured during our afternoon, Cliff served us glasses of Smith Haut Lafitte‘s Les Hauts De Smith White (95% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Sauvignon Gris) and Red (55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 105% Cabernet Franc), part of Les Sources de Caudalie in Bordeaux. Both wines are delicious!

It was the perfect Valentine’s afternoon!

For more details on Caudalie, the original Vinothérapie Spa and Château Smith Haut Lafitte Winery, check out posts on our Bordeaux visit.

Les Sources de Caudalie: THE Dream Wine & Spa Destination, part 3

The Hotel

In ’99 to share this beautiful property and all its offerings with the world the family opened the hotel, Les Source de Caudalie. Run by the Cathiard’s other daughter Alice Tourbier, it has 40 rooms and 9 suites built around a picturesque lake.  The rooms and hotel are rustic charming with lots of wood and French country character.  Our room was homey and spacious with headboards made from wine crates, a huge bathroom with tub & shower (with Caudalie products) and a cute little balcony for enjoying wine in the sun.

The hotel has 2 great restaurants. The upscale La Grand’Vigne run by Chef Nicolas Masse, an ’07 Michelin Star, looks out over the lake and offers a ‘new adventure in cooking.’ Our Easter dinner was delicious from start to finish with the type of incredible service you dream of having every time you’re out.  Le Table du Lavoir is the country inn offering lighter fare and a splendid ambiance looking out on the Chateaux and vineyards.  They also have The Cave, their 16,000 bottle wine cellar, and Le French Paradox bar for drinks and snacks.  All staff were amazing beginning with Emmanuelle there to greet us on arrival.

If you aren’t heading to Bordeaux but are in Paris you can visit Alice and her husband Jerome’s new hotel Les Etangs de Corot, 15 from the city near Versailles. They also have plans for more.

Now you can see why… from Chateaux & Wine to Spa & Skincare to Hotel…Les Sources de Caudalie is worth the splurge!

See more photos in the gallery.

*source Les Sources de Caudalie Magazine

Les Sources de Caudalie: THE Dream Wine & Spa Destination, part 2

THE Spa & the Skincare

It all started with the grape seed discovery. While at the vineyard in ’93, Bordeaux University of Pharmacy Professor, Joseph Vercauteren, mentioned to the Cathiard’s daughter, Mathilde Cathiard-Thomas, as he saw grape seeds being thrown out that they were throwing away ‘veritable treasures.’ Professor Vercauteren had just been the first to discover a fatty acid to stabilize the polyphenols found in grape seeds.  These polyphenols fight free radicals, which are responsible for 80% of skin aging, 10,000 times more powerfully than Vitamin E & A.  Mathilde signed a research partnership with the Department and founded the first wine-based skincare company, Caudalie (a caudalie is the amount of time a wine stays on the palate after swallowing, i.e. a young red is 5-6 caudalies and a dessert wine 20-22).  Their first products launched in ’95.  I started using several of the regimens, including VINEXPERT & Energizing, after trying them at the hotel & spa and I love them!  They’re not animal tested, use no animal based ingredients, no mineral oils and no coloring. After years of using my old regimen, I can really see an amazing positive difference in my skin!

Also on the property it was discovered that a patch of vines was producing inferior grapes.  As vineyards in Bordeaux are not allowed to use irrigation, they discovered 540 metres underground a water source rich in minerals and naturally hot causing the inferior grape.  But this would be perfect fr a spa. And thus the first Vinotherapie® Spa was born on the grounds in ’99.

The spa offers unique treatments combining the virtues of the spring water with those of the vine and grapes using all Caudalie products. An incredible experience, we spent a full day at the spa during our stay … soaking up the tranquility of the light airy space full of water features and smooth light woods. Whether you’re relaxing in the quiet rooms, the pools or outdoor decks or having a treatment in one of the 19 cabanas, the grapes surround you.  We tried several of their exclusive treatments…

  • Barrel Bath: immersed in a giant barrel-like tub, you’re surrounded by water fullof essential oils, grape & red vine extracts to help drain your system of impurities and activate circulation.
  • Wine Maker’s Massage: this sculpting massage is Caudalie’s signature and recreates the ritualistic steps of the wine-making process on the body, alternating techniques using bare hands and pressure on the energy paths as it activates blood circulation and muscle tone.
  • Pulp Friction: this sculpting massage remineralizes and gently exfoliates using the fresh grapes and essential oils, it gives your skin lasting softness and moisture.
  • Vinosource Facial: this nourishing treatment with fresh grapes was specially designed to restore comfort, radiance and softness to dry skin.

You can also enjoy Caudalie & Vinotherapie in your home via their product line, at Les Etangs de Corot hotel & spa 15 minutes outside Paris (also run by the Cathiard family), Marques de Riscal in the Rioja Region of Spain, and now in the U.S. at the Plaza Fairmont in New York City (spa with a Sommelier and wine lounge, French Paradox).

Coming tomorrow part 3, the Hotel.  Also see part 1, The Chateaux & the Wine and photos of the whole Bordeaux tour.

* source Les Sources de Caudalie Magazine

Les Sources de Caudalie: THE Dream Wine & Spa Destination, part 1

Les Sources de Caudalie has been on my ‘must visit’ list for years and I finally made the pilgrimage in April for a 4 day weekend to Bordeaux, France. Not only is Les Sources a 4 star Small Luxury Hotels of the World location on a top Châteaux, Smith Haut Lafitte, in Bordeaux with spa, but not just any spa…THE spa focused on the wine and vine.

The Châteaux & The Wine
Located south of Bordeaux in the Graves region and town of Martillac, the story of Les Sources de Caudalie starts with the Châteaux. In Bordeaux the châteaux is the heart of the quality system consisting of a vineyard and a building, it symbolizes the tradition and philosophy of the wine quality. Grapes started growing in this soil in 1365, it was given its current name Smith Haut Lafitte in the 18th century by a Scotsman and was even once owned by the Mayor of Bordeaux in 1842.

But in 1990 Florence and Daniel Cathiard fell in love with the Châteaux and purchased it. They undertook a 2 year massive renovation reclaiming the two underground cellars, re-adopting traditional vinegrowing methods, stopping use of chemical weed killers, began hand harvesting the grapes and employed their own artisan barrelmaker who makes 400 of the 800 new barrels used each year. The results…55 acres of vines producing 2 red wines and 2 white wines, their ’98 production was named one of the top ten red wines in the world by Wine Spectator.

Our tour of the Châteaux gave us a behind the scenes look at this beautiful property and their wine making facilities. The care given to the grapes and the wine focuses on quality not quantity thus producing some of the best wine possible. We saw the barrel making shed (only 4 Châteaux in Bordeaux make their own) and after tasting the wines in the tasting room enjoyed a sneak peak of the private cellar (the floor literally opens up to let you in) which houses Smith Haut Lafitte wines from 1878 to 1989. Check out the photos from the tour.

A wine worth trying and a Châteaux to visit.

Coming tomorrow part 2, The Spa.