A spa that blends modern technology with artistic influences, Spa Diane Barriere in Paris offers Hydrojets, Cyrotherapy and other contemporary trappings, along with traditional therapies, for a fresh spa experience
By: Soumya Jain Agarwal
Posted on: December 20, 2019
LF Says: ★★★★
Technology has pervaded almost every sector of our life. There are kitchen robots available to make five-star quality food at home. Sleek machines can decant your wine in minutes, reducing the hours long process of waiting for your wine. And there are cars that can, incredibly, fly.
There is a machine for almost everything now which you thought would never be possible. Tasks which you thought would always be human-centric, are easily being swapped by metallic brains. Spa therapies is one of them.
What can beat the warmth of two hands that stroke, knead and ease out all the knots in your body, using aromatic oils and warm towels – all done by trained therapists? Turns out, machines can emulate this need too. And I was introduced to one such miracle machine at Spa Diane Barriere at Hotel Barriere Le Fouquet’s Paris.
The Spa in its Glory
But before we delve into technicalities, let’s cover the basics.
Entering into spa, you will feel almost like entering into an art gallery, as the alley walls are covered with Impressionist- and Renaissance-style paintings. Even then, considering the style of hotel it is built in, which is also a part of The Leading Hotels of the World, I had expected a slightly grander entry (think chandeliers, wider hall). The double door which opened into the spa was more of an industrial style, instead of the usual glass facades you are more used to in luxury spas.
Soon you’ll get your first view of that expansive, gorgeous pool which is somehow turquoise-green in colour. Wooden arches complement grey, art-enriched walls. An Aqua Circuit, with hot water Jacuzzi, jets and bubbles, is graced by Greco-Roman statues watching over you as you relax in your regal surroundings.
While the outfitting and the furniture of the spa give you the outlook of a modern space, the fusion of historic-style art presents a surreal world where you feel like you are standing in the middle of a transformative era, which imitates the current status of France as well – where the preservation of culture, history and art is not overlapped by modern strappings, but rather converged in a subtle, coherent way.
Constituting five treatment rooms (with a personal shower and changing room inside each room), a resting lounge, sauna and steam rooms, a fitness centre, and products from Kors Paris, Spa Diane Barriere is immaculately presented with mellow lighting inside, lulling you into a stupor as soon as you step inside. But again, I was hoping for more luxurious influences in the decor.
What came next was entirely new for me – a Hydrojet. I was whisked into a room where a space pod-style machine awaited me. I was given the choice of keeping my clothes on or removing the thicker layers. I opted to keep my clothes on because I was quite apprehensive about the machine, what with its buttons and machinations in full display. My spa guide gently explained to me the nuances of the machine and what it will do. As I lied down inside and the pod lid was closed over me (thankfully the lid doesn't cover you completely, just the upper torso), she described all the buttons I could see and the options I could use to customize my treatment.
I have to confess. Lying down flat on your back, in pregnancy, felt extremely good! A strict no-no during the second and third trimesters, the Hydrojet scored on that point in the first go. Possessing a wobbly surface to lie down on, as compared to a hard surface of a treatment bed, it is safe to lie down on your back in the Hydrojet during pregnancy.
Under the Hydrojet bed, warm, powerful streams of water are projected to work on your body. You don’t feel the water, just the pressure of the stream. Again, where hot water tubs and Jacuzzis are impossible to be used by pregnant women, this dry water-based massage is the ideal solution for those painful six months you haven’t been able to get a decent sleep at night!
To begin the massage, you can first define the duration of the treatment, the level of pressure ideal for you and parts of the body where you want the machine to focus. I went ahead with 30 minutes, medium-level pressure for a full body massage.
Going Through With It
As my spa guide started the machine and exited the room, I stared at the lid over my face. After a couple of seconds, I punched over a few buttons to release a floral aroma, activate the chromotherapy setting (colored light therapy to harmonise your body and mind via specific vibrations), and decrease the volume of the music slightly. The aroma was intense and heavenly, instantly transporting me to a different zone! There was a collagen (anti-ageing) setting too, which I ignored, and hope to continue ignoring for the next 15 years at least.
While doing all this, the water jets had already begun their work. I could feel them dancing around in swirls and circles as they went from my legs to back to shoulder and then back again. The rhythm, pattern, speed and pressure, however, were different in each cycle. Soon it reached a crescendo where all the elements felt just right. I was downright light-headed and soon fell into a calm. I could feel all the tension from my body melting away with the water jets.
Another factor that helped me into this palliative stage was the absence of another soul in the room. How many times have you felt compelled to converse with your therapist during a spa treatment? Or how many times have you been woken up from snooze because someone suddenly moved a towel or touched you with a cold hand. In the absence of all this, I slept peacefully, undisturbed, as the water jets continued swirling and kneading around.
My 30 minutes elapsed quicker than I had anticipated. And while the water jets stopped, thankfully it didn't go all-dark suddenly. The music, aroma and chromotherapy continued as I dozed off for another 10-15 minutes. I finally hauled myself from Hydrojet and went out to lounge in the very conveniently located relaxation area.
So here’s why the Hydrojet worked for me: the pressure level was simply perfect; there was no room for disturbances or human error; there was no elaborate preparation or changing required to do this massage; the high level of relaxation I experienced here is unsurpassed – something which I never had to opportunity to gloat about before; and lastly, it is ideal for pregnant women, helping us soothe our aches and pains effectively.
I am not sure if the Hydrojet can completely eradicate the human interface. I believe therapists can execute many more varieties of spa therapies which machines cannot (not just yet). But still, I hope to install this machine in my home one day. Until then, I’ll just have to make more trips to Paris for this Hydrojet machine.
LF Says: ★★★★
Coordinates: 46 Avenue George V, Paris, France