London-based spa centre Ella Di Rocco invites its visitors to soak in a combination of wines chosen for their health properties
It’s Iris again, and I’m back on my quest to discover the most unique and extravagant innovations in beauty. On a murky Friday morning, I got the illustrious opportunity of getting drunk on wellness, and by that I truly mean inebriated.
After scouring the World Wide Web for the most eccentric beauty treatments around, I laid eyes upon something many of my friends would call heaven – or a quiet Wednesday night at home for me – that required me to completely submerge myself in a bathtub of wine. I was instantly mystified and had to find out more. I trekked to the Primrose Hill aunties beauty mecca, South Kensington, to discover Ella Di Rocco, a spa centre which boasts the mystifying concept of bathing you in wine, while also drinking wine, naturally.
First opening its doors in 2018, Ella Di Rocco honours Italian tradition mixed with concrete science, thanks to its mother/daughter duo founders: Sonia Milena Brilli and Dr Anna Brilli. As a certified implantologist and maxillofacial surgeon, Sonia has enabled them to create effective and non-invasive treatments such as the wine spa therapy, to rid you of stress, tension, and so much more. Intrigued to find out more, I booked myself a one-way ticket to Wine City and reviewed my vino vanity for your reading pleasure.
Before heading into my wellness haven, I thought I’d give you all a profile of my current physical state and what I was looking to achieve from the treatment. I have very tense muscles, especially in my neck, lower back, and calves, from years of pairing intense exercise with little to no stretching, thanks to hours spent laying in bed watching YouTube marathons of conspiracy theories. Due to this, I find it hard to receive massages as I feel like most just don’t go in hard enough, leaving me feeling unsatisfied and stiff.
I’ve always been a fan of anything where steam and the opening up of my pores are involved, so I hoped the wine and steam would harmoniously come together to somehow cleanse me of all my sins (it’s the blood of Christ so there’s no better way to do that... right?). However, the aspect I was most looking forward to was the wine (for obvious reasons) but also because I firmly believe artificially relaxing your muscles might be the key to more effectively pummeling my calves into a tension-free state.
So, off I went to the spa, swerving the countless French bakeries surrounding it in favour of my Italian utopia. Upon arrival, I was greeted by the wonderful matriarchal founder of the spa: Dr Anna Brilli. As soon as I sat down in the lavish velvet-covered and gold-coloured waiting room, she offered me luxurious Jasmine Seeds tea. After taking a sit and filling out some forms concerning my health history and body type, I was escorted down to their beauty cave.
Reminiscent of a wine cellar, the spa itself boasts two wine tubs. TWO! WINE! TUBS! Before commencing the treatment, I was run through the products used and laid my trotters into a detox bowl filled with salts, lemon, and rose petals. The bath contained beetroot extract – presented in a sack that made it look like a (befittingly spooky) blood bag – yeast, salts, rose petals, and, of course, vino. The wines picked for the tall task of cleansing my sins, were chosen for its health properties and included Sangiovese, Merlot, and Cilegiolo.
“We started off with a Merlot scrub, which used Merlot grape seed oil and sugar to get my skin ready for the hot water ahead. To work the product into my skin, she used a brush which satisfyingly and lightly scratched my skin. By the end of that first part of the treatment, I already felt like a prize pony”
Following the delightful intro, we started off with a Merlot scrub, which used Merlot grape seed oil and sugar to get my skin ready for the hot water ahead. Containing 95 per cent oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC), the oil is said to promote youthful skin and improve elasticity while helping to protect the skin from UV damage. To work the product into my skin and make my muscles wake the fuck up, she used a brush which satisfyingly and lightly scratched my skin. By the end of that first part of the treatment, I already felt like a prize pony.
Then came the magnum opus of the treatment… the bath! I watched the bath while it was run, seeing the woman chug in two entire bottles of wine – all for my viewing and relaxing pleasure. Once the bath was ready, I was handed a glass of wine of my own. Mentioned above the tubs are two placards stating: “Resist the temptation of drinking the tub wine, we’ll give you a proper glass”, which I’m glad was mentioned because I felt pretty inclined to do so beforehand (and definitely did once my masseuse left the room).
I then laid in the wine tub for a good 20 minutes, thinking about how simple yet effective the concept of mixing wine and wellness really is. Why drink ginger shots when self-care is one Oddbins away? The bathing itself leaves you slightly dizzy (as does any other hot bath) but I believe the double whammy of a glass of wine and bathing in wine in the heat on a Friday morning is more likely the reason I was pretty sloshed and ready to be kneaded like a piece of Waitrose sourdough.
Spoiler alert: The massage was definitely improved by how wrecked I was. The masseuse managed to lovingly pummel my muscles, rather than superficially rubbing them, so that I could feel the tension melting away. It hurt, but satisfyingly so, and definitely left me like a content pile of grape jelly.
Once the massage was done, I had to bid adieu to my kind host and make my way back to the real, non-alcohol infused world. Surprisingly, following the kneading, I didn’t feel as inebriated as I did a mere 30 minutes before, and actually felt quite revitalised. In addition to this, my pores and skin felt cleansed and tight, probably a result of the steam and the wine doing their relaxing magic. The biggest surprise I had following my treatment was the fact I did not smell of wine at all, resolving my worries of reeking of alcohol on my way back home via the District line.
The days following the treatment, I definitely felt a degree of relief in my muscles which I hadn't felt before. I also had bragging rights for the whole weekend, and wherever I went invited people to huff me, daring them to try to detect any alcoholic waft exuding from my plump and revitalised body.
All in all, I would definitely recommend Ella Di Rocco and its Wine Spa Therapy treatments, to anyone either looking for a legitimately good full body cleanse and massage, or to the beauty eccentric wishing to try something new. Personally, what I’ve learned from this journey is that against popular belief, wine can actually solve some of your problems, especially if those problems are YouTube marathon induced gout.
Find out more about how you can have your own wine bath here.