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Le Mas Candille Spa

Nicola Mostyn finds inner peace in the South of France

Published on September 28th 2010.


Le Mas Candille Spa

Spa treatments are blissful. But over the years I’ve realised that what surrounds a treatment is almost as important as the procedure itself.

Everything at Le Mas Candille seems pitched at creating an atmosphere of understated relaxation. The location, on a hillside ten minutes walk from Mougins village, gives Le Mas Candille a secluded feel.

It is, just for example, simply a waste of money to receive an aromatherapy massage at the Manchester Buddhist Centre’s Bodywise if, like me, you are then going to emerge delicately scented and deliciously unwound only to find you have to run full pelt for the last tram and subsequently end up looking like an oily, perspiring, slightly disgruntled tomato.

Then there are the other, not-precisely relaxing experiences where the spa is located within a hotel which is so bustling, so pretentious, or so filled with the hassles of the real world, that it’s only when you step down the ubiquitously tea-lit corridor that you can even think about tuning into something more meaningful.

This, relaxation seekers, is where Le Mas Candille is different. Of course, it helps that it is located in the glorious South of France. Nestled in the village of Mougins, 7km from Cannes and a 20 minute drive from Nice airport, Le Mas Candille was, in its former lives, a vineyard, a Napoleonic bivouac and an olive growing farm, before it was transformed into a hotel in the 1960s. In 2001 it was bought by Mark Silver and transformed into the small, friendly, and elegantly tranquil hotel, restaurant and spa that it is today.

Everything at Le Mas Candille seems pitched at creating an atmosphere of understated relaxation. The location, on a hillside ten minutes walk from Mougins village, gives Le Mas Candille a secluded feel.

The service at this five star hotel is warm and discreet and never intimidating. And then there is the layout. There are three ‘living spaces’ in the hotel (Le Mas is the 18th century converted farmhouse, La Bastide is the more modern addition and the recently launched La Villa Candille is the site of spacious suites with high tech equipment and private terraces with mountains views) and they are so artfully designed with privacy in mind that, despite the hotel being almost full to capacity while I was there, it felt, at all times, pleasantly quiet.

Views are a big thing at Le Candille Mas. Guests having pre-dinner drinks can soak up the breathtaking view of the Pre-Alps, over which plays out an amazing, multi-coloured, constantly changing sunset - a fine setting for the Michelin-starred food, courtesy of Chef Serge Gouloumes, that looks like art and tastes like heaven.

A walk from the main building towards the spa and pool involved following a winding path, which afforded a view of the hotel’s tranquil setting – 45,000 square metres of parkland which gives le Mas Candille a slightly untamed, secret garden feel. Sleek statues appear at intervals, offering a well designed mix of the contemporary and the rustic.

Le Mas Candille has three pools – one in the spa, one main pool and pool above the reception especially for kids. Further up the path, close to the La Bastide rooms, I found the large, stunning, adult only main pool. Surrounded by photographs of film icons and situated next to the more informal restaurant, La Pergola, this magnificent pool had an ‘infinity edge’ that made the water seem to constantly overflow and face yet another stunning view, allowing guests to swim towards the mountains. This was almost too much excitement for me to bear, having been rather more used to swimming lengths while staring at the clock at Moss Side Leisure. There is also a Jacuzzi close by, stylish changing rooms with showers, big fluffy towels on the poolside, sun loungers and, of course, the small, relaxing bar to have a drink or food or just soak up the atmosphere.

With every aspect of Le Mas Candille seeming to be geared towards creating a sense of luxurious peace, by the time I sought out the spa for my treatment, I was primed to enjoy it to the full.

Le Candille Mas’ Shiseido Spa is set slightly apart from the hotel, a few yards from La Pergola. Entry was via an elegant reception, after which I was taken through a short corridor, all white walls and wood and pebbles (and lit by tea lights, what else?) and through to the relaxation room, overlooking the spa’s gorgeous private garden featuring Jacuzzi, small pool, sauna, sunbeds and hammock.

The Spa’s Qi method is designed to stimulate mind and body energy and promote deep relaxation. Treatments include 11 face treatments, ten body treatments including body polish and reflexology, Candille treatments including a jade stone massage, beauty care treatments such as waxing, manicure and pedicure, and packages, which include free access to the Jacuzzi, hydrotherapy pool, sauna, fitness and relaxation room.

I chose a Deep Cleansing Care facial that promised to refresh my skin, polishing away dead cells to leave it clear and refined. The treatment included the application of cleansing foam, a scrub, a neck and shoulder massage, a face mask and a head massage while the mask took effect. With lots of lotion applied in between each stages, I felt positively glowing afterwards and gratifyingly, comments were made post-treatment about the good effect on my skin.

Back in the private garden I decided against a wrestle with the hammock (I’ve learned my lesson regarding post-treatment exertions) and opted for a short blast in the sauna followed by a dip in the pool, then back to the Michelin-starred restaurant for some more amazing food, by now utterly relaxed.

Of course, if you want to get messed up again Cannes, Nice and Monaco are all in driving distance. But if you want to extend the calm, then better to visit nearby Grasse, where you can create your own perfume, or take a boat trip to the island of Saint Honorat, where monks make their own wine and where dining al fresco at the fantastic restaurant La Tonelle, or climbing the steps of the old Abbey, offers – yes, you guessed it – more breathtaking views.

The trip did exactly what a spa break should: I felt eight months of stress unravel in two days. The ethos of the hotel infused the whole experience so that it really was something very special

Le Mas Candille, www.lemascandille.com

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