Instead of eating Mexican mole sauce – a flavourful combination of chillies, nuts and chocolate – imagine covering your body with it in a luxurious spa treatment that smells like chocolate and leaves you as limp as a tissue caught in a rainstorm.
At the Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit’s Se Spa the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants of mole ingredients are released onto your skin during an 80-minute treatment created to celebrate Mexico’s Independence Day.
Mole is a staple in many Mexican dishes. Some recipes use tomatoes for the base (red mole) or pumpkin seeds (green mole), but the dark-brown mole or mole poblano with chocolate and chillies is perhaps best known. Classified as Mexico’s national dish, it is usually served with meat and rice or stuffed into tamales, but at this spa, mole gets new life as an exfoliation treatment.
Created for September guests, you can request the treatment at any time with advance notice. Grand Velas spa staff like to incorporate Mexican culture and cuisine into spa treatments, so travellers experience something new and authentically Latin. (Last fall they offered a Four-hand Tequila and Nopal massage that included an energy purification ritual and ancestral stretching techniques.)
At Se Spa getting covered in chocolate and chillies start with an early arrival (an hour is best) at the spa’s hydrotherapy centre. Put on your bathing suit and rotate through the sauna, shower, steam room, and plunge pool in a hot-cold-repeat cycle.
Muscles relaxed, you enter a softly lit spa treatment room and crush mole fixings of chocolate, peanuts, almonds, and sesame seeds on a stone mortar. You can grab a small piece of chocolate to taste before the crushed ingredients are blended with olive oil and more crushed chocolate to create the final mole sauce.
You’re given a paper bikini to don before settling onto a massage table and turning yourself into a nut and chocolate-covered lump of drooling relaxedness. The rough edges of the crushed nuts are surprisingly soothing as they are rubbed over your limbs and the chocolate smell dancing past your nostrils swiftly pus you towards tropical dreamland.
A masque of mole and cocoa is applied as a facial and then mole is worked through your hair. You can be forgiven if you feel like a chocolate in a Pot of Gold box by the time all the sauce has been applied.
The next step is to wash off the mole with a cool shower before getting back onto the massage table. A rub down with moisturising lotion leaves your skin feeling baby-bottom soft.
If you want even more pampering, consider booking a wellness suite for your stay. Each suite has a roof-top private deck with hot tub and massage table, a vitamin C shower with fruit in the showerhead, a personal trainer that makes house calls, and an exercise bike next to the bed (no excuses for not exercising here), aromatherapy, detox breakfast smoothies, and a YouTube channel of soothing bedtime tunes. There’s even a wellness concierge to help coordinate it all.
Regardless of where you stay, the mole treatment will have your body and your skin singing olé when you leave this resort.
The author travelled to Mexico in August 2019. She was a guest of Grand Velas Resort and Riviera Nayarit, but these organisations did not review or approve this article.