While I admit to enjoying a glass of chilled Chardonnay occasionally, I never expected to be massaged with it. But at the Fiesta Americana Grand Los Cabos Golf and Spa Resort, that’s just about what happened.
Spa treatments infused with winemaking by-products may sound a bit bizarre but the process, known as vinotherapy, is becoming increasingly popular. The science of cosmetic vinotherapy began in France in 1999 with the introduction of Les Sources de Caudalie Spa in Bordeaux. It is based on the research of pharmacologist Dr. Joseph Vercauteron of the University of Bordeaux. He found that, when applied to the body, grape juice and polyphenol extracts from grape seeds — containing high levels of antioxidants and natural substances derived from the fermentation process — help to prevent and fight the aging of skin. As a Southern California native who’s spent way too much time in the sun, this sounded good to me.
The 5-star Fiesta Americana Grand’s Somma Wine Spa is the only wine spa in Baja and one of the first in Mexico. The spa was inspired by the grapes of Baja’s Valle de Guadalupe, which are grown in an ideal desert climate, cooled by Pacific Ocean breezes.
It was a typically warm and clear late summer afternoon when I pulled up to the Fiesta Americana Grand. I was directed to the spa, where spa manager Evy Romeike greeted me and took me on a quick tour of the facility. The décor is modern, sleek and restful, featuring marble, dark wood, aluminum accents, crystal doors and Venetian tiles. Shades of green and purple echo colors of the grapes from the region, and picture windows look out to the sea.
The spa uses the Olavie Chardonnay line of products, which are infused with Chardonnay grape seed extract, found to be seven times more powerful than Vitamin E. The extraction is done immediately after harvest but before fermentation, preserving the highest level of antioxidants.
In a tranquil lounge area, Annel and Blair greeted me with the first of the amenities, a single red grape stuffed with goat cheese, beautifully presented and perfectly delicious. Romeike then introduced me to my therapist, Irma Sanchez, a highly trained aesthetician and body therapies technician. After I donned a sparkling white terry cloth robe and slippers, we toured some of the treatment rooms.
The Clarete room is named for the process by which Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon are combined to make a signature red wine of the region, El Gran Vino Tinto. Ideal for couples, the room has a private Jacuzzi, steam room and shower. Scattered bright pink bougainvillea petals covered the stairs into the Jacuzzi where couples can luxuriate in the warm water, nibbling on a selection of hors d’oeuvres paired with premium wines of the region. What could be more indulgent?
Fans of the bubbly should head for the Methode Champenoise treatment room, where “Cleopatra’s” milk baths and Champagne bubble baths are enjoyed in a hydro-chromotherapy bathtub, followed by sparkling white wine body treatments.
In the cozy, dimly lit facial treatment rooms, properties from dark red grapes reduce the effects of age and skin stress and enhance the antioxidant effects within the circulation system. And for those who prefer their treatments with an ocean view, there are three beach huts, Sauvignon Blanc, Malbec and Zinfandel.
Sanchez guided me back to the lounge for another amenity — a tiny glass of refreshing Chardonnay sorbet — before leading me to one of the Chardonnay treatment rooms. White wine treatment rooms are bright with ocean views, while red wine treatment rooms are dimly lit without views of the sea. I hopped on the treatment table, ready to be lulled into tranquility with the spa’s signature “Le Vin” massage.
Right off the bat, I liked the choice of music. Never a big fan of the New Age sound so often associated with spa treatments, I was delighted to find that Sanchez favored soothing classical selections. The afternoon sunlight warmed the room, and I closed my eyes and prepared to go into a somewhat altered state.
I’m a real wuss when it comes to massages. I like to have my tight muscles sort of oozed into unwinding rather than pummeled into submission, so I opted for a gentle to medium-strength treatment. Sanchez followed my wishes to the letter. She worked the kinks out slowly and softly, while I became more relaxed, rather than tensing with pain. The Olavie aromatic oils emitted a faintly wine-like aroma, but not so much so that I felt like I might be questioned at a sobriety checkpoint. The melodic music added to my unwinding, until I was well on my way to a deep sleep.
As with all massages, it was over too soon. Sanchez softly told me to take my time reentering the real world. In a semi-somnambulistic state I left the treatment room and was offered the option of spending some time soaking in the Jacuzzi before showering and dressing. I passed on this, fearing I’d get so relaxed I’d fall asleep at dinner. So, squeaky-clean and tranquil, I took my last trip to the lounge. What made this different from most spa experiences was that, though I could have the usual cup of herb tea, I could also opt for a glass of that day’s featured wine. Would you expect less of a wine spa?
Fiesta Americana Grand Los Cabos Golf & Spa Resort
Carretera Transpeninsular, Km. 10.3
Col. Cabo del Sol
Los Cabos, B.C.S. 23410
tel 52 624 145 62 00
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I had just taken off my sandals, stepping onto the white-sand beach for a late-morning walk to a secluded spot I heard about from a front desk clerk, when I glanced down and saw the time on my phone. It had just turned 11 a.m., which meant it was only 7 am back home, the perfect time to call and say good morning to by husband before he left for work. Not quite ready to head back to my room, I decided I’d test the WiFi signal and made the call as I continued walking toward the shoreline.
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