Wine has long been used as a relaxation tool after a busy, stressful day. But at the Vinotherapie Spa at L'and Vineyards in the Alentejo region of Portugal, the wine isn't just imbibed; its extracts are used to help decompress and heal the body.
From a barrel bath with exfoliating grape marc to a merlot wrap featuring bentonite clay and oils meant to purify and improve the skin's texture, the Vinotherapie Spa has found a wide range of uses for wine and its ingredients.
The spa's signature body-sculpting massage is the Caudalie Massage, offered as either a relaxing or toning treatment. I started my 50-minute massage by selecting lemon oil to promote relaxation.
The masseuse used elongated strokes across large swaths of my body instead of the more intense, deep, prodding techniques found at some spas.
The movements were rhythmic in nature, which, coupled with the soothing music playing throughout the treatment room, helped ease me into a truly restful state.
Though it was a full-body massage, I was caught a little off guard when the masseuse pulled down the sheet and massaged my chest. This inhibited American wasn't quite prepared for that, though the relaxing oils must have been working properly because I quickly fell back into my state of tranquility, though I took great pains to not fall asleep and forget the experience.
For those looking for a distinctive treatment, consider the Wine Maker's Massage, which re-creates the winemaking process on the entire body, using bare hands. The Pulp Friction Massage With Fresh Grapes exfoliates the skin and adds softness.
The Vinotherapie Spa uses only Caudalie products, a line created by Mathilde Thomas and her husband, Bertrand, in consultation with Joseph Vercauteren, an expert in pharmacognosy, the study of drugs derived from natural sources such as plants. The Caudalie product line uses grapevine and grape polyphenols, which have antioxidant powers.
The first Vinotherapie Spa was opened in Bordeaux, France, and the company has expanded to other locations, such as New York's Plaza Hotel, Toronto's Shangri-La Hotel and Versailles, France.
Marcio Kogan designed the Vinotherapie Spa at L'and Vineyards. Natural stone and wood promote a sense of calm and serenity throughout the spa, which also features an indoor heated pool and sauna.
Following the spa treatments, guests at L'and can retire to one of 22 suites around a formal vine garden or dine at the property's restaurant, which received a one-star Michelin rating.
In addition to offering wine tastings and winemaking classes, L'and Vineyards also coordinates balloon rides above the Alentejo region and parachute jumping.
The Caudalie Massage is about $100 for 50 minutes or $140 for 80 minutes. The 50-minute Wine Maker's Massage and the Pulp Friction Massage With Fresh Grapes, both 50 minutes in length, are each about $100.
L'and Vineyards is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Visit www.slh.com/hotels/l-and-vineyards-resort.