Soak Up Mendoza’s Luxury Spas

argentina_oct13

By Nora Walsh

As the world begins to discover Mendoza, Mendoza begins to discover the art of luxury hospitality. For years, the region has been wooing travelers from around the world with its lush, full-bodied red wines. Today, Mendoza’s finest hotels are blossoming in the realm of relaxation by offering more than just a coveted glass of vino. Two luxury properties, Entre Cielos and Cavas Wine Lodge, offer world-class spa experiences designed to renew and revive.

Entre Cielos is an award-winning boutique hotel built by a group of Swiss friends on a picturesque plot of land in Vistabla, a scenic town thirty minutes outside Mendoza’s city center. Vistalba was originally populated by wealthy Mendocinos who owned weekend homes in the area, which they used to escape the city for some fresh country air.  However, the rural environs is gradually transforming into a more permanent residential community.  Spanning 20-acres, Entre Cielos is a modern 16-room hotel, free-standing spa, open-air grill, wine bar and eight-acre vineyard overlooking the snowcapped peaks of the Andes mountain range. When the owners originally developed the concept for Entre Cielos, a destination spa was a fundamental part of the design.  Drawing from a popular spa trend in their native Switzerland, the owners built an authentic Hamam + Spa, the first of its kind in Latin America. The hamam consists of a six-stage treatment circuit that uses heat and water to rid the body of accumulated toxins.  This bathing ritual originated in the Orient over a thousand years ago, where it evolved over time to become an integral part of societal life in Arabic, Greek, Roman, and Turkish cultures.

Entre Cielos is an award-winning boutique hotel built by a group of Swiss friends on a picturesque plot of land in Vistabla, a scenic town thirty minutes outside Mendoza’s city center. Vistalba was originally populated by wealthy Mendocinos who owned weekend homes in the area, which they used to escape the city for some fresh country air.  However, the rural environs is gradually transforming into a more permanent residential community.  Spanning 20-acres, Entre Cielos is a modern 16-room hotel, free-standing spa, open-air grill, wine bar and eight-acre vineyard overlooking the snowcapped peaks of the Andes mountain range. When the owners originally developed the concept for Entre Cielos, a destination spa was a fundamental part of the design.  Drawing from a popular spa trend in their native Switzerland, the owners built an authentic Hamam + Spa, the first of its kind in Latin America. The hamam consists of a six-stage treatment circuit that uses heat and water to rid the body of accumulated toxins.  This bathing ritual originated in the Orient over a thousand years ago, where it evolved over time to become an integral part of societal life in Arabic, Greek, Roman, and Turkish cultures.

An attractive horizontal edifice, Entre Cielos’ Hamam + Spa is a contemporary concrete structure tucked into the folds of the land so as not to disturb the clear view of the majestic Andes backdrop. Designed as an experience for couples, the hamam offers private treatment rooms along the six-step circuit, which follows the traditional 10-minute time rhythm. Bathers begin with a warm shower and wrap themselves in a Turkish pestemal, or body towel. An Entre Cielos spa attendant gently guides guests through two steam baths set at different temperatures, two exfoliation rooms, a temperature controlled swimming-pool, a hot stone relaxation rock, and an elective natural clay body mask to end the treatment circuit.

The Hamam + Spa is a striking space of slate floors and artfully cast exposed concrete illuminated by candles and rays of sunlight streaming through small geometric patterns in the walls. The spa’s partially buried construction and austere interior create the feeling of a sacred grotto designed to perform ancient monastic-like rituals, which cleanse the body and purify the mind. The process of repeatedly scrubbing and rinsing oneself with water from a fountain evokes the sensation of washing away the old and creating space for the new. The steam rooms evaporate stress and quiet the body into a deep state of relaxation. At the center of the spa lies the communal bathing pool and round heated rock designed to encourage reflection. The last step in the circuit is optional, but definitely worth experiencing. The Rhassoul treatment involves smothering your body from head to toe in volcanic ash clay and letting it penetrate the skin through the gradual introduction of steam. It is akin to a mini Dead Sea experience. The full Hamam circuit concludes in the Relaxation Room with a delicious buffet of ice water flavored with lemon, herbal tea, freshly squeezed pineapple juice, olive tapenade, oriental tapas, nuts, and dried fruit served under a colorful array of Arabic lanterns. The Hamam is Entre Cielos’ signature experience, but guests can turn the circuit into a full day endeavor by pairing it with additional spa therapies including the Cleopatra aromatic oil massage, a Sultan deep-soaking bath, or a menu of wine treatments.

Mendoza is commonly referred to as “The Land of Sun and Good Wine,” and Cavas Wine Lodge is the quintessential retreat to enjoy both. Located on a secluded vineyard in the heart of Mendoza’s wine country, Cavas Wine Lodge is the region’s most exclusive hotel. It is a peaceful sanctuary of 17 very private villas, which appear to have organically grown among the grapes in the five-acre vineyard. When walking through the hotel entrance, your heart leaps at the sight of such pictorial views, it is invigorated by air as fresh as a glacier spring and overwhelmed by a sense of complete freedom elicited by the stretching blue sky.

The Spa at Cavas Wine Lodge is a holistic refuge renowned for its therapeutic use of vine and grape seed extracts in its therapies. Like Entre Cielos, The Spa at Cavas Wine Lodge has an Arabic influence that manifests itself in the architecture rather than the spa treatments. At the entrance of The Spa lies an outdoor relaxation terrace with a rectangular plunge pool overlooking the stunning panoramic of lush vineyards that give rise to towering mountains. Inside the 2,000-square foot oasis is an open-air courtyard with fresh breezes and a bubbling fountain bordered by comfortable chaise lounges.  Two oversized whirlpools and a cedar sauna beckon relaxation, while three treatment rooms offer a range of healing body therapies. The Spa has a menu of organic wine treatments using Bonarda grapes harvested from Cavas’ own vineyard. The grape extracts are used for restorative and anti-aging therapies because they are rich in polyphenol, which acts as an antioxidant to protect cells against damage caused by free radicals.

Each treatment room at The Spa was thoughtfully designed to offer a couples experience. This includes the wine bath room, which has two deep soaking tubs sitting side by side under glowing candles and lanterns. Here guests can enjoy the ultimate oenophile’s dream and Cavas Wine Lodge’s signature spa treatment—a Bonarda Soaking Bath.  This rejuvenating red wine treatment is a 45-minute steaming bath enriched with vine extracts and organic essential oils designed to stimulate the body’s circulatory system. It is truly a distinctive wine country experience, and just the kind of tidbit that makes for a great postcard home.

Cavas Wine Lodge recently introduced an indulgent Spa Day experience, which highlights a sampling of The Spa’s recommended treatments.  The Spa Day begins with a 30-minute deep cleansing Malbec scrub that uses organic grape seeds and essential oils to revitalize the body’s epidermis. Following is a 45-minute thermal mud body treatment utilizing mineral salts, which helps to eliminate excess oil, stimulate circulation and moisturize, polish and soothe the skin. The next therapy is a 30-minute moisturizing massage using Uvaterapia Torrontes Hydrating Cream, which neutralizes the skin’s pH, preventing peeling and also delaying the aging process. While drenched in this white wine lotion, a therapist swaddles you into a warm cocoon with a heated blanket to perform a 30-minute Express Facial. This is the point in the Spa Day where your body begins to melt with relaxation as the therapist cleanses your facial pores and massages away residue accumulating on the skin.  The final treatment is a 90-minute deep tissue massage that is long enough to leave you in a trance of bliss, while each knot and muscle contraction is methodically kneaded into submission. The Spa Day culminates with a satisfying three-course lunch on the spa terrace or in the restaurant.

There is no greater way to enhance a relaxing getaway to wine country than luxuriating in Mendoza’s award-winning spas. Especially when bathing in red wine and a full-circuit hamam are on the menu. Mendoza may still be a very young destination, but each season the city matures and attracts a host of new travelers and luxury hoteliers to enjoy the fruits of its harvest. •

Entre Cielos
1998, Guardia Vieja
Vistalba – 5509, Luján de Cuyo, Argentina
+54.261.498.3377
entrecielos.com

Cavas Wine Lodge
Costaflores S/N
Alto Agrelo M 5507, Mendoza Argentina
+54.261.410.6927
cavaswinelodge.com

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