We all know that chocolate is a heavenly thing to put in our mouths, but did you know it can be equally heavenly to put on our bodies?

Over the past eight years, I’ve been immersed in the world of fine chocolate. This quest has taken me to 16 countries (and counting!) where I have interviewed hundreds of chocolatiers and chocolate makers and visited numerous chocolate events and attractions.

I’ve also stayed at many chocolate resorts – where I was first introduced to the concept of a chocolate spa treatment.

Cacoa oil lotions, ready for your massage; cacao is the purest form of chocolate (Credit: Hotel Chocolat Boucan)

My first chocolate body wraps

There probably is no exotic destination more dedicated to the world of chocolate decadence than the island of St. Lucia in the West Indies. I experienced my first two chocolate body wraps there at Hotel Chocolat Boucan and Jade Mountain.

Waiting room at the Hotel Chocolat Boucan spa in St. Lucia with magnificent view of the Grand Piton

Waiting room at the Hotel Chocolat Boucan spa in St. Lucia with magnificent view of the Grand Piton

In each case, my body was exfoliated with ground cocoa nibs, then slathered in a creamy, cocoa-based mixture. I was then full-body wrapped in plastic, layered with banana leaves and covered with blankets to bring my body temperature up, and my stress level down.

It is a well-known fact that eating chocolate produces serotonin in our bodies to increase our overall feeling of well-being.

Chocolate also releases endorphins in the body, our brain’s nature-made anti-depressant. So we know that eating chocolate makes us feel good.

But I can assure you that having pure chocolate slathered all over your body will have the same effect, as the cocoa is absorbed into the body via the pores, and you end up feeling like you’ve died and gone to heaven!

Jade Mountain: Each guest sanctuary comes with its own infinity pool w/views like this!

At Jade Mountain, each guest sanctuary comes with its own infinity pool with views like this!

Some people say, “I’d rather just eat the chocolate.” I agree. There’s nothing better than an exquisite piece of chocolate.

But picture yourself lying on a comfortable spa bed, and slowly being massaged with a heavenly concoction that sends your nasal passages through the roof with the aroma of pure chocolate. Then, imagine your skin being softer than it’s been in years, and your spirit swinging from the rafters with joy.

You’ve now had your first virtual chocolate body wrap.

The “Jungle Chocolate Facial” experience (Credit: Pure Jungle Spa)

Not all chocolate spa treatments are the same

How do you know a fantastic chocolate spa treatment from one that misses the mark? Ask about the ingredients.

I’ve had chocolate body rubs and wraps in which cocoa is just one of many ingredients, and when you open the jar or tub in which the brown concoction is stored … you can’t even smell the cocoa. Not so good.

Cocoa should be listed as one of the primary ingredients, not the 10th in a list of 20 that sounds more like a chemical compound, versus a pure and natural chocolate sensation.

I’ve had chocolate spa experiences during which the aroma from the treatment was so pure and intense, you’d swear you were eating the chocolate. Those are the best, and the most memorable one I’ve experienced to date is the Chocolate Decadence Treatment at the Pure Jungle Spa in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica.

The author entering the jungle shower to wash pure cocoa mixture off her body at Pure Jungle Spa

This three-step, 90-minute process began with a lemongrass scrub, followed by a coconut oil massage.

The final step blew my mind, as every part of my body was coated with a warm molten chocolate paste before I was covered with banana leaves.

I was giggling like a schoolgirl through the entire process, as my senses were tingling and my spirit was soaring. After cooking in the warmth of the chocolate for an hour, I was led out back into the jungle garden, where I had the pleasure of scrubbing off the dried chocolate and thought how much fun it might have been if I wasn’t alone! The Pure Jungle Spa does do couple’s treatments. Can you imagine?

What’s in a name?

But don’t let the name of the treatment or ingredient list turn you off in the event that you encounter something far different.

One of my other favorite chocolate spa treatments was at the Holtz Spa in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

The author enjoying the effects of the White Chocolate Truffle Body Wrap at the Holtz Spa.

The author enjoying the effects of the “White Chocolate Truffle Body Wrap” at the Holtz Spa.

The White Chocolate Truffle Body Wrap doesn’t actually contain cocoa powder, but it does contain cocoa butter combined with fragrant white chocolate truffle oil to make your skin incredibly soft and fragrant.

What puts this treatment over the top is that after the elixir is applied to your body, you’re covered in a special heat-absorbing fleece and lowered onto a soft-pac flotation bed made by Hausler of Germany.

I truly left the spa on Cloud Nine! 


What’s appealing to the over-50 luxury traveler?

  • The decadent aroma
  • The way chocolate spa treatments make you feel on the inside and out
  • The overall feeling of wellness and indulgence

Take note

  • Body wraps are not for people with claustrophobia. Your hands and arms are wrapped inside a cocoon-like format for 30-60 minutes. If the idea of that bothers you, this may not be for you.

IF YOU GO

  • Holtz Spa is located in downtown Ottawa, Canada. Inquire about the “White Chocolate Truffle Wrap.”
  • Pure Jungle Spa of Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica, is definitely worth the trip.
  • Jade Mountain is one of St. Lucia’s finest resorts. Ask about the “Chocolate Delight” treatment at their Kai En Ciel Spa.

*All photo credits: Doreen Pendergracs (except lead photo and where noted)


Disclosure:

The author’s treatments were hosted by the spas mentioned in the article.


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