Continuing my sacred quest to find the world’s best chocolate experiences, I paid a visit to Kensington’s own Bentley Hotel. The hotel’s Le Kalon spa offers treatments using the Karin Herzog product range from Switzerland which, as I discovered, contains quite a few chocolate products. I was to receive a chocolate facial treatment.
I must admit I knew nothing about the treatment that awaited, save for the fact that it involved chocolate-containing ingredients. It’d been a while since my initial research and so I didn’t know how long the treatment would be or how many products were to be used.
I was led through the shiny, marbled lobby up to the mezzanine floor and down a private lift to the spa (this is so guests can move around in their spa robes without having to go through the lobby) and, once changed into my robe, into the treatment room.
As I was left on my own to take off my robe and arrange myself on the treatment table, I had a chance to quickly take in the various products arranged on the nearby table. There were quiet a few of them. I wondered which of those would be used. As it turns out, the answer was “just about all of them”.
The treatment starts with a quick back massage. While obviously not as long as a standard massage treatment, this was in no way rushed and didn’t feel “short”. I was pleasantly surprised to discover the oil used for this was chocolate scented, mixed with a range of more floral scents – a warming and beautiful combination that reminded me of the filling inside a floral chocolate truffle.
After the massage, it was time for the facial itself, starting with a chocolate cleanser that smelled very much like a boozy chocolate sauce. This was massaged onto my face followed by a toner and an exfoliating scrub. The scrub itself smelled of cocoa too, although it was a bit more subtle. Apparently the scrub itself (as I found out later) is mixed with cocoa powder to create that effect.
A facial massage followed, with the same lovely oil used on my back. Then it was time for the actual facemask, the Coco², which is the flagship product of this range. Apart from chocolate, this product contains a small concentration of oxygen, which is meant to be good for your skin. It felt somewhat lighter on my skin than the Eminence mask I tried recently.
The mask was painted on, but here came the biggest surprise: Once the mask was on my face and has had a chance to soak in, it was time for round two. This time, actual melted Swiss chocolate was painted onto my face, on top of the mask. I was genuinely being covered with chocolate sauce, the kind you would normally use on chocolate cake!
I was then left to bask in this glorious moment for a while (exactly 8 minutes, as it turns out), before the mask was removed and my face covered in vitamin oil, toned and finished off with a chocolatey moisturiser that was again massaged on.
The experience was topped off with a cup of hot chocolate which, while not the richest one I’ve ever had, was the perfect ending to a gloriously decadent experience.
Apart from the obvious benefits of making me smell like chocolate and feel relaxed, pampered and jolly, this facial made my skin look and feel absolutely amazing. The effects of the Coco² are meant to last for 12 hours, but they seemed to last more like 24 for me. Even days later, I could still feel an improvement in the way my skin looked and felt.
There is apparently a debate in the science and cosmetics industry about whether oxygen creams really work. Some say it’s the new best thing, while others say it’s a con and both sides like to cite research to back up their claims. Go figure.
Be that as it may, I liked the results I got from this treatment. It could be the oxygen, it could be the massage or it could be the cocoa and melted chocolate. Either way, something definitely did something good.
I actually lost track of time during the treatment, but the Karin Herzog chocolate facial lasts for 1.5 hours. That’s quite a lot of pampering and a lot of massage for your face with every application, which is what you want, considering it costs £90.
You can also buy the Karin Herzog products at the spa to use at home, though you’d have to use your own chocolate if you want the full effect.
Le Kalon Spa, Bentley Hotel, Harrington Gardens, London SW7 4JX. 0207 244 5555