Who does not know Vichy, has not idea about the « chic and shock feeling » that someone has for a spa town.
Indeed, the place is beautiful in more than one respect, with rich architecture, very well maintained green spaces in which it is good to stop, luxury shopping surprisingly affordable, a charming little train that shows the most beautiful places of the area.
Where do the Vichy people come from ?
A tasty mix of ancient people, the Arverni, the Aedui (two Gallic tribes) and Boii (a Celtic tribe)
A little history
The baths are old, probably more than two thousand years. The mineral water has a unique composition lithium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese and potassium for the main minerals. Water flows under the earth and comes out at a temperature close to 40 or even up to 75 ° C.
At the same time, another activity is highly developed pottery
Sixteenth century: Vichy falls into the French kings’hands following the reunification of Bourbonnais. Later, the Marquise de Sevigne, Louis XV’daughters and Napoleon’s mother came « to take » the waters, as the expression went in French.
Since 1853, the Compagnie de Vichy (private company) administers the city as a whole ie sources Chomel, Lucas Hospital, hotels, spa and all their derivatives and that, under the leadership of the Emperor Napoleon III who stayed there four times between 1861 and 1866
Jerome Phelipeau is the current president general manager of the Compagnie de Vichy (ex Fermière company) which comprises three hotels: Ibis, Mercure (formerly Novotel) and Celestine Vichy Spa Hotel (former Sofitel) with a personal of about 300 to 350 people, all services togheter, spas, hotels and heritage management
But let us talk about Celestine Vichy Spa Hotel *****
The name was kept to access to an international rank, so far,contacts have been made with Brazil, Qatar and Morocco.
Its managerr Bernard Sitreux
His career speaks for him. After Jean Drouant hotel school in Paris, he worked ten years for the Accor Group, and twenty years for Sodexho, Peugeot and Bouygues. He then managed the Mercure Vichy before being propelled to Celestine.
It is a practical man, knowing what to do when faced with a shortage of staff. He, then, is completely to the customer service, but in a specificity that initially is not really his! He puts on, if necessary, « the waiter suit » to provide drinks on the terrace. Surprising, but very effective for customer contact and what an example for the staff !
Upon entering, the tone is given, sobriety of good quality, a lot of beautiful compositions of white orchids and anthuriums and neutral colors for furniture, no doubt, this is luxury, but without ostentation.
Outside, a huge terrace for three restaurants, « Le Bistro » for a light meal, « N3 », a Natural Nutrition and Quality cooking, much more elaborate and dedicated to the slimness (each proposed dish is followed by its number of calories, which is very clever as customers are hoping to lose weight)! finally « a open rattan sitting-room ‘ where to enjoy a drink « after spa » , a plate of salmon or a mixed salad. All this is on the edge of Napoleon III ‘s park, an oasis of freshness and beauty, in front of Lake Allier.
Four buffets, there are fresh fruit salads, fruit juices, various and varied breads, yogurts, cheese, various ham and fresh salmon and finally all kinds of eggs with sausages and bacon, a great choice indeed.
The food has nothing to do with a restrictive meal, the chef offers an entree, original main dishes (swordfish, bluefin tuna) with vegetables and even some pasta and a dessert worthy of a famous restaurant.
The 131 rooms and Presidential Suite
The room either overlooks the park or the spa side with a beautiful surface, a pretty decoration, a real comfortable bed, a huge TV, a lounge filled with fresh roses, a bathroom with bath, walk-in shower , basin and corner dedicated to drying hair . In the hallway to the bedroom, large closets with a safe deposit box.
The room is done in the morning. In the evening, the maids prepare the bed and make sure that everything is in order . Vichy candies are arranged on the bed, noblesse oblige !
A wireless connection allows the use of internet .
The location of the hotel and the environment are really beautiful.
The terrace is large and very nice for a drink or a meal.
Another terrace on the fifth floor with a pool where to relax.
The tastefully decorated rooms
Direct access to the Spa
International customers ( the Russians and Chinese are latecomers )
The large French clientele among which some famous lawyers who shall remain nameless for the sake of discretion !
The fifth « star » won last year (contrary to popular belief , it does not grant depending on the restoration, but the size of the rooms or the number of lifts to name just a few points)
If you spend holidays in the hotel in summer and are a spa guest , you will probably be invited either on July 14th ((French Nationa Day) or August 15th to watch, from the terrace, a fabulous fireworks offered by the city of Vichy. The hotel will not be left behind as you will be offered canapés and champagne to embellish your evening.
At 359 km from Paris by road
A few critics may be :
Refresh « some » rooms remained fairly kitsch !
Lighting for bathrooms is a little too strong
The price of breakfast
Talking about Spa
Its esthetic and Balneotherapy manager, Adeline Pelage
Mrs. Pelage heads firmly, expertise with intelligence a team of young women supposed to provide impeccable service to spa guest, it is not always easy depending on the characteristics of each other , yet quality care is provided by that qualified personnel : collagen facials and body treatments : peeling, hydromassage bath with essential oils, mud wrap ( Kaolin ) , jet shower, massage in thermal water , tea with water Vichy Celestin , herbal slimming digestive or draining , aquasport in thermal pool , hammam, sauna and cardiotraining
A health center includes specialists such as nutritionist… just to name one.
A complete panel for spa-users in an elegant building on three floors with elevator
Interesting the fact that the time and rendez-vous can be changed according to the possibilities .
Its communications internet manager Mrs. Florence Rochelois
which handles relations with the press (on vacation during my stay ) .
You probably understood that Vichy is a lovely town, so I urge you to stay at the hotel and spa which are both worth a visit , and even say you are coming after reading my article, no doubt you will be received in the best possible conditions .
If you’ll be there in summer 2014 , we might, probably, meet !
My best thanks
to Mr Bernard Sitreux , the Hotel Manager who answered my questions with real availability, great kindness and made my stay very pleasant.
Mrs Aline Coat, the esthetics and Balneotherapy manager for her listening and advice.
The maids on the 5th floor, so nice and so devoted .
The spa staff and especially Murielle for the quality of her work and courtesy .
The staff of the various restaurants including Max who so well understood the psychology of the customer ! .
Olivier, at the reception, for his professionalism .
and Stephen, the friendly porter, always ready to help.