Bordeaux – the world capital of wine but a spa destination? Actually, it's pretty hot on those too. In fact, located opposite one of the city's other most famous things (the Grande Theatre) lies one of the region's most luxurious five-star hotels, which also happens to have its very own Michelin star restaurant and a rooftop spa stocked with goodies from the brilliant French brand Nuxe.
Yep, the Grand Hotel de Bordeaux is a brilliant spot for enjoying three things: drinking wine, fine dining and spa treatments. After an eight-year refurbishment, the hotel re-opened in 2007 (the same year that Bordeaux was placed on UNESCO's World Heritage list) and it's safe to say that interior designer Jacques Garcia didn't forget about opulence and grandeur when he was working his magic on the decor.
However, aside from admiring the view of the theatre from the bedroom balcony, I was there to visit the spa and try out an 'open air' treatment on the roof.
My first treatment was a 30 minute back massage (outdoors) followed by a facial (indoors). After meeting my therapist and trying to remember something useful from A level French, I went up to the roof to find a massage bed. In a tent. Without any kind of door. It was breezy.
However - once I'd got over feeling self conscious about de-robbing outside, I realised there was something strangely relaxing about having a massage with the sun shining on you, rather than being stuck in a pokey treatment room in a dark basement. Oh, and the Nuxe body oils? Amazing.
The facial that followed was brilliant. By this point I'd given up on trying to make conversation in French and consequently, I could completely switch off from everything and everyone around me. The Nuxe rose petal masks were some of the best I've tried and I left with glowing cheeks and clear skin. Not bad for a 40 minute session.
Thanks to the facial, I also felt adequately refreshed for an evening in the hotel's restaurant – Le Pressoir D'Argent – where local treats such as Aquitaine caviar, oysters and passion fruit souffle were served up by head chef Pascal Nibaudeau alongside delicious Bordeaux wine. The perfect way to end a day of pampering? That souffle was hard to beat. In fact, if you're looking for a luxurious French retreat (away from the hustle and bustle of Paris), the Grand Hotel is a good place to start.
For more information, visit the Grand Hotel de Bordeaux & Spa.