Life Magazines (London editions) September 2018

Page 208


THE UK’S FIRST WINE SPA Here’s what it’s like to bathe in Merlot. WORDS: KATIE WRIGHT


t’s well known that drinking wine has health benefits (as long as it’s in moderation), but is bathing in plonk good for your skin? That’s what I aimed to find out when I paid a visit to London’s luxurious Ella Di Rocco Medispa to try the UK’s first wine spa treatment. ‘Winetherapy’ began in Bordeaux, France. The theory is that a substance called polyphenol - which red wine is rich in - helps to tone and exfoliate your skin, while antioxidants fight damage caused by nasty free radicals. “It’s not the alcohol that’s good for you, it’s the grapes,” explains my friendly therapist Catherine Oswiecinska as I dangle my feet in a warm foot bath scattered with rose petals. To begin the 90-minute treatment, which takes place in a serene green-walled room, I lie down on a massage bed and Oswiecinska uses a pair of dry brushes to sweep away dead skin all over my body, working on one area at a time so I stay nice and warm beneath my towels. It’s quite alarming how much dust is created, proving that I really needed this thorough exfoliation, and it’s said to improve circulation and banish cellulite, too, which is a bonus. The brushing is followed up with a Goretti natural body scrub made with cornflour, red vine leaves and red wine to open up my pores in preparation for the main event. The deep bath, which is filled with warm water, two bottles of sangiovese and merlot wine plus virgin grape juice (for added antioxidants) is ready for me to hop into, the dark purple waters steaming and fragrant. I’m given a glass of merlot to sip (better quality than what’s tipped in the tub, I’m told) and left to

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soak for around 20 minutes as the wine gets to work on my skin and I feel all the tension in my muscles melt away. After a quick rinse under the shower (the spa offers disposable underwear, so I swap into a fresh pair), I’m back on the bed for an amazingly relaxing and gentle massage using grape seed oil to replenish my skin with moisture after the scrub and hot soak. My limbs feel unbelievably soft after but it’s the stress-busting effects of the experience that I can feel most - and not just because of that glass of wine. Like many people, I struggle to find time to have even a quick dip in the bath at home, so this excuse to indulge in an hour and a half of me time is heavenly. A boozy bath that rejuvenates both body and mind? I’ll drink to that. A 90-minute wine treatment at Ella Di Rocco costs £245. www.elladirocco.c208

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