Written by Annabelle Hood
Europe’s first Shiseido spa is just a stroll away from Mougins near Cannes, making it the ideal spot for culture and pampering rolled into one
This was my second visit to Mougins, a hilly cobble-stoned village so packed with charm you might wonder if you’ve stepped on to the set of an arty French advertisement. The scent of pine and expensive perfume linger in the air as ladies who lunch saunter past Mougin’s sundecked cafés holding mini pooches under one arm. Artists’ open studios give the place hip and creative panache.
And so it is fitting that Europe’s first Shiseido Spa should be situated at the chicest address in town: Le Mas Candille, a 46-room 18th century farmhouse conversion set in 4hectares of parkland, and offering style and luxury without the airs and graces. Hotel staff are cheerful and helpful and the exquisite food served here is blessed with Serge Gouloumès’ Michelin star that frankly deserves to be augmented to two. This is certainly not where you would kickstart a diet – my trousers were considerably tighter when I checked out three days later!
Despite clement weather, winter admittedly wasn’t the best time for me to try out the hotel’s outdoor pools as only the smallest spa pool was heated. However, as the hotel’s layout isn’t confined to the spa area alone and I delighted in the fact there were plenty of areas to “escape” to, to read my book or snooze after lunch.
The largest and most impressive pool was a gorgeous oval infinity pool curiously flanked by a mirrored meeting room and Pergola restaurant (open in summer), bestowing fine mountainous views over Grasse, with showers and a Jacuzzi a floor below. Further down the hill, The Shiseido Spa itself was a small but perfectly-formed affair, with a bijoux al fresco gym also overlooking the mountains, a traditional rock sauna and my favourite spot: a decked Japanese Spa Garden leading to a small bubbling hydrotherapy pool with jets and bubbles aplenty.
My body treatment at the Shiseido Spa wasn’t earth-moving, but it was certainly relaxing, probably due to the Shiseido ‘Qi Method’, whose aim is to balance body and mind rather than bust knots from weary shoulders. This hotel has it all, particularly for those wishing to escape the madding crowds of Cannes. But those wanting to make full use of its golf and spa facilities would do wisely to visit mid-season.
On the spa menu:
Facials, massages and Qi-based rituals with a zen focus.
New signature treatments include the Ultimate Candille Zen Treatment using a white Provencal sand scrub followed by an energizing jade-stone massage. Also new is the Shiseido Yutaka Ritual facial including a footbath, facial massage and an intensive skin brightening mask.
The chance to mix your own perfume at the Fragonard factory in Grasse. Group bookings in advance.
Classic room (with/without mountain view), Deluxe room (with/without Mountain view), Deluxe suite, Cypres Suite (55m2), Candille Suite (70m2)
Michelin star standard blowout rather than detoxifying diet.
From the upper Cypres suites e.g. 702, which are brand new and well worth upgrading to for extensive space and modernity.
Nice airport is the nearest. Transfer time about 45 minutes.
Tranquility and pricey French chic off the beaten Cannes track.
Le Mas Candille
Tel: +33(0)4 92 28 43 52
Award-winning luxury travel, health and spa Journalist and Editor, Annabelle has written for Vogue, TTG Luxury, Spa Heath & Beauty, Spa Secrets magazine, Brides, The Evening Standard and Handbag.com amongst others. She specialises in city break destinations, luxury hotel, spa and restaurant reviews, and health and beauty features. She is hosting her new website at LuxuryJournalist.com