I remember hearing some astonishing stories in childhood about Marilyn Monroe bathing in 350 bottles of champagne, of all things. Whether that had anything to do with reality or just Hollywood publicity stunts, I hadn't a clue.
For that matter, I wasn't really clear what champagne was either - but anything involving Monroe at the time made me look furiously forward to adolescence.
As it turns out, it seems champagne baths have been around for a long time, way before the Marilyn gossip began. There's the famous story of King Edward VII and actress Lillie Langtree having a champagne bath together at the infamous Cadogan Hotel in London. There were other lurid tales about a girl in a champagne glass. And in modern times the rock band U2 sprays the audience in a champagne bath before leaving the stage, not to mention that Formula 1 race car winners do the same.
My friend Miss Helen sips a glass of sparkling wine while soaking in a bubble bath, but whether she actually pours the champagne into the tub has not been disclosed. There's a question about what constitutes a champagne bath in the first place; a full tub like the fabled Monroe stories, or just one bottle or even one glass added to the water? There's even a suggestion that the term bubble bath itself originated from the bubbly spirits of champagne being poured into the tub.
Wine and champagne connoisseurs decry this practice as wasteful, shameful, and decadent of course. But as the super rich grow more numerous across the globe with their endless appetites for new experiences, champagne baths are making a reappearance to draw in their money.
The aforementioned Cadogan Hotel (with it's questionable history of renowned playwright Oscar Wilde being arrested there on moral charges, and King Edward and Langtree having their trysts), this quaint property has been renovated into a boutique hotel for the rich and is now offering champagne baths on a big scale.
The prices are astronomical, but if you're rich and looking for that special gift for someone who has everything, this might be precisely the thing. You'll spend about $6,250 in US dollars to bathe in 120 bottles of inexpensive Luis de Custine Brut, up to $39,000 for a Dom Perignon bath. If you don't believe me, here's a link to the Cadogan's champagne bath menu, prices quoted in British pounds. (Of course, this is in addition to your room rate, restaurant checks and room-service tabs.)
For the rich it's not so much about wasting fine champagne as it is about bragging rights as to how much they spent on a frivolous evening. Who am I to judge that? After all, it was F. Scott Fitzgerald who said "Too much of anything is bad, but too much champagne is just right".
Thanks for dropping in this evening. I hope this adds some unique ideas for your last-minute Christmas shopping. :)