Love – and chocolate – have powers well beyond Valentine’s Day. And a great new trend, if for nothing but the aroma, is using chocolate in spa treatments. The French, Indonesians and the choco-fans visiting Hershey, Pennsylvania, all swear by its skin-softening and anti-aging properties.
I know that putting chocolate in my mouth makes me feel better, so putting it on my skin ought to do the same, right?
At the CGH Group hotel properties (www.cgh-residences.com) in the French Rhone-Alps, chocolate is used in the spas for body wraps and masques said to soften skin, improve blood circulation and reduce stress. Sandrine Daviere’s Spas & Beaute Montagne uses 95 percent pure cocoa butter in three different treatments: body exfoliation, body wrap and an anti-wrinkle masque.
The most indulgent “cure�? offered through CGH spas is a three-day, chocolate-infused, 750 Euro splurge called the Avalanche de Douceurs – the avalanche of softness. The first day includes an orange blossom Jacuzzi soak, massage and reflexology. Day two brings a facial, eye contour treatment, body wrap, massage and another round of reflexology. The third and final day includes another Jacuzzi soak, body wrap, facial massage, hot stone body massage and a final reflexology session.
In Jakarta, the Dharmawangsa Hotel spa offers several chocolate treatments including a scrub/massage with ground cocoa beans mixed with essential oils. A second scrub using more finely ground beans follows, with each scrub lasting an hour. The Jacuzzi swirls with a mix of hot water, chocolate soap and chocolate skin-softening cream, which sounds a lot like soaking in a cup of hot cocoa.
Chocolate spa treatments can be found throughout Jakarta. A good list of spa locations and options can be found at Jakarta Java Kini Magazine (www.jakartajavakini.com).
Closer to home, the town that chocolate built, Hershey, now offers its own Chocolate Spa at the Hotel Hershey (www.hersheypa.com). For $165, guests are pampered with a 75-minute facial that makes use of chocolate’s anti-oxidant, anti-aging properties. The M&Ms in the bowl on my desk now look a lot more healthful.