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The Spa at Terre Blanche - Review

Peace and Pampering Among the Olive Trees

by Irvina Lew

A serene pool surrounded by columns at Terre Blanche
A serene indoor swimming pool surrounded by columns

Luminescence lured Matisse, Picasso, Renoir and a host of other artists to the French Riviera, the beau monde followed, and so have many lucky American travelers like us. Sean Connery purchased his "Domaine" overlooking an ancient village in the non-developed eastern part of Provence, called the arrière pays (backcountry) and also known as the Pays de Fayence.

In recent years, that land has been developed into the ultra-hospitable Terre Blanche, which sprawls amidst a vast oak, cypress and Mediterranean pine-studded hillside less than an hour from the Nice/Cote d’Azur airport (making it a perfect pre- or postlude to a cruise from Nice or a meeting in Cannes).

Since the first time we visited (when the spa was in a villa that housed two luxe hotel suites), a 34,446 square-foot stand-alone spa facility has been built overlooking the resort’s golf course.

When we entered the lobby — in full view of the 79-foot indoor lap pool topped by a cathedral-like vaulted ceiling — the curator was installing a sculpture, one of many at the art-filled hotel. Surrounded by terraces and gardens, the stunning facility includes a state-of-the-art gym, a Zen studio where fitness classes and private sessions are held, ice fountains, an indoor dry-heat room known as a Laconeum and a steam room, referred to by its traditional Turkish name, hammam.

Lounging beside sculpture Sculpture adorns the spa's interior
Lounging beside a work of art
Sculpture adorns the spa's interior

Of the fourteen treatment rooms — all equipped with showers, hydraulic beds and heated blankets — there are two VIP or couples suites, which feature double whirlpool baths, steam showers and private terraces with outdoor cabanas (for services in temperate weather).  In France, where beauty is paramount, skin care is a cherished tradition; accordingly, guests enjoy a vast menu of skin care services and three marvelous brand choices: ESPA, TERRAKE and Sodashi. Of course, there’s a hair salon and mani-pedi suite for the finishing touches.

Beyond the sheer beauty of the resort — with its olive groves, vineyard and views — one of the best amenities is the restaurant, Faventia, where chef Philippe Jourdin has received rave reviews. Jourdin’s Mediterranean-inspired menu features the fresh, locally grown, authentic and healthful Provençal bounty for which the region is so admired; he expertly transforms these herbs, produce and fish into an array of delightful dishes. (We had formerly dined on his food while he was part of the acclaimed Le Moulin de Mougins restaurant.) Dinners are superb, but so are the salads and grilled foods at the luncheon buffets. In the spa restaurant, Infusion, Jourdin creates true cuisine minceur, an alternative light fare that enhances any wellness program.

Spa at Terre Blanche
Domaine de Terre Blanche
83440 Tourrettes, France
33 (0)4 94 39 90 00

(Updated: 09/03/13 CT)

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