So, we had a beautiful dinner last night but today has been all about the spa at The Domain de Verchant and looking at skin care ranges. I’ve had two facial treatments; one, BioLuxe, focusses on phototherapy – red light treatment (more about this in a subsequent post), and the other on a skin care range called K’Derm, which despite its very un-sexy name is pretty potent stuff. K’Derm uses a specific molecule, Kappa-Elastin (patented x about a million so nobody else can use it) that has been shown to significantly increase skin elasticity as well as regenerating the skin. 

The spa facilities are immaculate; the staff are delightful and friendly (which to be honest is more than can be said for the hotel staff who are indifferent and a bit eye-rolly if you need anything) and the facial treatment to rehydrate my skin was wonderful – and I don’t say that often about facials! The time passed quickly and my skin looked significantly better for it. Even if the unique molecule and clinical studies didn’t float your boat, the range would still feel like a treat for the complexion.

We’ve moved on to another spa hotel, La Distillerie at Pezenas, about an hour away from Montpellier. It’s a different budget level to La Domain and I’ve got slightly mixed feelings about it. For one, the interior is very dark.. and if it was mine, I’d take a massive can of white paint and get the place lightened up. But, the reason the interior is so ferociously red is all due to historic wine connections. From the front, former wine distillery, La Distillerie, is nothing much to look at, but at the back it is beautiful overlooking vineyards and tall trees, plus a natural looking pool (i.e. not turqouise) and a tiny courtyard garden. The staff are lovely – a total contrast from The Domain – they cannot do enough to be helpful and kind. If you do stay here, you must ask for a room with a balcony. If you bag a balcony room, La Distillerie turns into an absolute find and very good value..but be warned.. there are some ‘quirky’ pieces of art (i.e. not to my taste ;-).

The spa is immaculate – the facilities are less flashy luxury, but pricing is far more reasonable and the huge jacuzzi is a must-do – especially if you have been cycling or walking.. excellent for tired legs because they get a proper pummelling and it keys right into the heritage of this former distillery as it used to be a wine vat! I found the water to be very skin softening.

La Distillerie is an excellent stop-over, boutique hotel I’d be more than happy to stay in for a couple of nights if I was exploring the Languedoc-Roussillon, but I think that’s its USP… you wouldn’t come here for weeks at a time.. it’s a lovely, friendly place to be a part of a wider picture holiday. Just wish they’d brighten it up a bit inside. The Garrigae group in fact restores old buildings to their former glory in the region breathing new life into them so they don’t lie dormant and empty. Knowing the history and soul of the hotel actually helps you to like it more, despite the dodgy art. 

I can’t end the post without mentioning the Garrigae product range; produced from the whole grape rather than extractions (I can’t tell you the number of times this trip I have heard the words, ‘it’s like Caudalie’!) to make a skin softening butter that has to be tried to be believed. It’s used in all Garrigae spa treatments and will soon be ready to go on general sale as well.

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