Nadia Payot is my new hero. Many years ahead of her time, French native Nadia was one of the first female doctors in her country. During a trip to New York in 1917 she met famous Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, and was struck by the difference between the youthful appearance of the dancer’s body and the signs of ageing on her face.
You may be wondering where I’m going with this history lesson. Well, Nadia Payot went on to open a beauty institute in Paris, where she developed her famous 42-movement facial massage and the Payot skincare brand - both of which I had the privilege of experiencing in Sirana Spa at the Sheraton Athlone Hotel last week!
With no prior knowledge of the brand, I was looking forward to an afternoon of relaxation at the Sheraton - afternoon tea, followed by the ‘Fresh Start’ Payot experience.
Afternoon tea, Sheraton-style, consists of a mouth-watering assortment of mini sandwiches, freshly baked scones with homemade jam, and an assiette of desserts, all served with a choice of tea or freshly brewed coffee. The highlights for me were the spicy chicken croissant and a light-as-air lemon cheesecake. Of course you can always add a glass of house wine or prosecco, and make a girly afternoon of it!
My tastebuds happily satisfied, it was off to the spa for my date with Payot. Cocooned deep within the hotel, Sirana Spa is inspired by the sand, heat and colours of the Sahara Desert, and the relaxation starts as soon as you’re in the door and slip into a fluffy robe and slippers.
The treatment began with a quick consultation about any skin issues I was concerned about; with plenty of tension built up in my neck and shoulders, all I wanted was to fast forward to the massage part of the treatment. ‘Fresh Start’ is a head to toe treatment that begins with a dry skin brush and a full body exfoliation, to get the circulation going and prepare the skin for the loveliness to follow.
The next step was a back, neck and shoulder massage. There is nothing better than lying back and letting an expert gently massage out the tension from one’s back. There’s a fine line between the necessary pain of working out those stubborn knots and still managing to have a relaxing experience - one which my therapist managed to carefully tread, leaving me feeling completely rested and zen-like.
I was then cocooned top to toe in the luxurious Payot enriching body elixir, which, in addition to smelling amazing, feels unbelievably soft and silky smooth on the skin. While the magical elixir got to work, I was treated to an opulent radiance facial. The Payot facial products were just as luxurious and sweet smelling, but the real treat here was the 42-movement massage method which has come down directly from the pioneering Nadia Payot.
Inspired by the art of dance in various tempos, the fingers of the therapist dance on the skin. It’s a carefully choreographed sequence, designed to activate the muscular, respiratory and lymphatic systems, and of course leave your skin looking and feeling radiant.
Topped off with a scalp massage, I had literally been pampered from head to toe and the new me was ready to face the world - after lounging around for a while in the tranquil relaxation suite, of course! ‘Fresh Start’ is the perfect name for this experience. By the end of it I felt as though I had a brand new silky layer of skin, a knot-free back, neck and shoulders, and felt thoroughly relaxed and refreshed.
To book a luxurious Payot experience in Sirana Spa or afternoon tea at the Sheraton Athlone Hotel, call (090 ) 6451058. For more information see www.sheratonathlonehotel.com