Six South African Spas

Spas in South Africa.

Fancy a South African holiday with a touch of spa? Take a quick look at six spa hotels and their signature treatments, which will leave you scrubbed down and creamed up to reveal a soft new you.

Lagoon Life: Arabella Western Cape Hotel & Spa

Why here?

This hotel and spa has an alluring location beside a lagoon near the whale-watching capital of Hermanus. It is the right place to stop if accompanied by someone with whom you want to share an exotic Turkish bath in complete privacy. The Rassoul Chamber is made for two. It begins with a mutual oil and sea salt rub, topped with a layer of slippery white mud. Then it's a slow steam while seated upon mosaic thrones until a fine mist washes your softened skin clean.

What else can I do?
Golfers take to the 18-hole championship course, voted among the world's top 12. Feed me! Out of the four restaurants, The Premièr serves up the most sublime haute cuisine, where the ' less is more' concept never leaves you hungry.

Bushman Land: Bushman's Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Retreat

Where on earth?

Enter a strange world of orange sandstone boulders, scorched by the sun and sculpted by wind into curvaceous shapes. A red sand road snakes into the Cederberg Wilderness, 3 hours north of Cape town, once home to bushmen who left a legacy of rock art on cave walls and overhangs.

What shall I do here?

Embrace the true concept of retreat on your South African holiday in this beautiful wilderness, without giving up any luxury; sumptuous cottages, 5-star cuisine and spa treatments with a difference. Oil from the local cure-all buchu plant - worth ounce for ounce more than gold - is used in the Moyo products lavished on your body. Surrender to a BK Special, combining several techniques from Swedish massage and Shiatsu to deep tissue techniques and reflexology.

Safari Spa: Singita Lebombo Safari Lodge

Inside Kruger National Park. Perched on a hillside deep inside lion country, the cool white, grey and lime-green décor of Singita Lebombo safari lodge would work well in the city or overlooking a palm beach, but here it is looking perfectly at ease in the heart of the African bush.

What animal made that noise? The hippo noises you hear while on the massage table are from the river below and monkeys leap around in the trees outside the spa's picture windows. Unidentifiable animal noises could potentially impede the relaxation process, but the mind cannot resist some therapies. The 'Melting Moment' treatment is one of them. It involves being enveloped in a delicious chocolate body wrap while having foot reflexology, resulting in a release of feel-good endorphins, which can only lead to good things.

City Slick: Saxon Boutique Hotel and Spa

Get rid of city stress. De-stress, De-tox and De-light is the Saxon motto and in the heart of Johannesburg they invoke the powers of the Tibetan gong to help achieve this. Their sound therapy, performed on a heated waterbed with built-in colour to increase effectiveness, opens the chakras, silences the mind and heals from the inside out.

Downstairs in this dual-level spa, weightlessness and underwater music serenades you senseless in the Floatation Pool. Then ease back into reality slowly or quickly in the hot jet pool or cold plunge pool. Unlike other spas, massage and moisturising is considered the last treatment of all. Then its the Juice Bar, where your feet rest on warm pebbles while you sip on a smoothie.

A Royal Treat: Royal Malewane

Royal Malewane is a safari lodge in the Thornybush Game Reserve, and offers luxurious treatments on your South African holiday. Royal Malewane has reached the pinnacle of taste within timeless, classic elegance and has created a spa that goes beyond anything you might have dreamed of.

Royal Malewane have re-defined the concept of safari spa, with a serene courtyard of treatment rooms around a long lap-pool in the heart of the bush. White curtains are drawn during treatments, and they waft gently to let in a warm breeze bringing sounds of African birdlife. It is an environment of opulent peacefulness. Serenely beautiful therapists float about wearing white and each treatment is preceded by their signature foot-washing ceremony. The whole atmosphere exudes harmony and luxury, created in a way that only Royal Malewane knows how.

High Life: Altiraspa, Westin Grand Cape Town Arabella Quays, Cape Town

Such is the influence of the high level AltiraSPA on the 19th floor of the glass fronted Westin Grand Cape Town Arabella Quays that while the city busies itself, you can opt out. The AltiraSPA philosophy is based on a 7-pillar concept; beauty, harmony, vitality, aqua, life balance, nature and nutrition. So put your body into the hands of massage therapists and beauticians, who can knead you, shape and polish you into an improved version of your former self.

Once disrobed and clad in a sumptuously woolly bathrobe, youthful therapists lead you down a quiet corridor to a series of Spa treatment rooms, which have floor to ceiling glass panels that could disconcert the vertiginous. For a watery high, take a dip in the motionless lap pool with sky-high view of Cape Town from the picture windows.

© Copyright Carrie Hampton,

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