My morning shower was an amazing experience today. The one thing it had in common with my usual routine for the past few weeks was the Caudalie Merlot Friction Scrub ($29), a body exfoliating scrub made with grape seeds and brown sugar. But this morning it was massaged into my body while I lay under a rain of warm water.

The Vichy Shower Massage ($85) is one of Caudalie’s signature treatments. I had it courtesy of Caudalie, the French skincare company that uses grape based ingredients at its very luxurious spa in New York’s The Plaza. The Vichy Shower doesn’t douse you with Vichy water but plain old Chateau Bloomberg.  Nonetheless, this horizontal shower - you lie on a bed - is an unusual but wonderful experience. It lasts about 20 minutes or so with warm water constant from five shower heads, while the esthetician (or vignotherapist in Caudalie speak) used the Merlot Friction Scrub to give an expert massage. Thank you Regine.

It was relaxing and invigorating at the same time. Afterwards, my skin was extremely soft and felt very clean. But if that wasn’t enough, I headed to a second treatment room for a detoxifying body wrap ($95). The oil used for the wrap includes bentonite clay, appropriately since this is Caudalie and bentonite is typically used to clarify wine. After being wrapped in plastic and covered in towels, Regine gave me a cranial massage and then I was left all cocooned in a dark room.

Caudalie’s spa at The Plaza has been kitted out with an amazing attention to detail. The hues are mostly dark giving all the rooms a warm cave like feel. A welcome change from faux clinic or the New Agey theme of many spas these days, Caudalie is luxurious, professional and very unisex. In fact, there were more men than women amongst the clientele when I visited (although they may have been there for post marathon massages). A distinctive feature of the Caudalie spa is the wine lounge, where clients get to hang out and have a glass of wine. Unfortunately, it was a bit early in the day, even for me. But I like the concept of a spa that is hedonistic and even a bit naughty. I should also give a special mention to Angela, the changing room attendant, who saw me struggling with a hairdryer and firmly sat me down and have me a great blow out. Now that’s another spa first.

Ingredients in Merlot Friction Scrub:

Vitis Vinifera (grape) Seed Oil*, Sucrose*, PEG-6 Caprylic/capric Glycerides*, Copernicia Cerifera (carnauba) Wax*, Glyceryl Stearate*, PEG-100 Stearate*, Tripalmitin*, Tristearin*, Caprylyl Glycol, Citrus Medica Limonium (lemon) Peel Oil*, Fragrance*, Mentha Piperita (peppermint) Oil*, Mentha Viridis (spearmint) Leaf Oil*, Tocopherol*, Limonene*.

*Plant Origin