Spas on tap

2013-04-14 06:00

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Taking a break at a hotel with an in-house spa raises relaxation levels to a whole new high.

Wild frontier

Kwa Maritane Bush Lodge, Pilanesberg

My boyfriend was turning 36 and wanted a quiet weekend away.

No loud dinner parties or hours spent on the dance floor for him – apparently 36 is too old for ‘silly behaviour’.

Pilanesberg is only three hours away from Joburg, so we set off for a tranquil weekend at Kwa Maritane.

Pampering was in store for both the birthday boy and myself.

After breakfast on the hotel’s balcony, overlooking a watering hole, we spent a blissful day at the small, intimate spa where we enjoyed head-to-toe treatments.

The spa has two single treatment rooms and a partners’ treatment room, Rasul treatments and a Roman-style heated outdoor plunge pool.

In the late afternoon we went on a game drive where we saw a herd of elephants walk right by our car.

Silence swept over the entire vehicle and everyone watched in awe as the elephants meandered past.

Spa factor: I loved their manicure and pedicure stations, which are positioned so that you have amazing views of the valley while your nails are being done.

Price: From R2 720 per room

Couple’s massage: From R490 per person

Take me away

Velmore Hotel, Erasmia

Just 40 minutes from the hustle and bustle of Sandton is a haven of relaxation and decadence.

The Velmore Hotel in Erasmia stands alone on a large property that seems to be in the middle of nowhere.

Though you’re just down the road from the busy hub, as soon as you enter the property, the city and all its demands seem miles away.

The decor is very modern with a lot of French Provençal influences.

There are various building on the property, including the Velmore Hotel Grande, which is the five-star sister to the four-star Velmore Hotel.

I loved the fact that the rooms epitomised opulence without feeling gaudy – this is modern luxury done right.

The Bakwena Spa is near the hotel; an oasis within an already heavenly setting.

It provides most of the treatments you would expect from a luxury spa – and a little extra for those who are up for it, such as a treatment called Mr Nibble, where fish eat the dead skin off your feet.

I wasn’t quite brave enough for that.

Velmore is a great option if you’re looking for a short break without being too far away from home.

Spa factor: What I loved most is that you can enjoy treatments overlooking exquisite pools on the property, and when you’re in the spa you really have no link to the outside world – not the tooting of a horn or anything that will disrupt your relaxation.

A nice extra is that they give you a Mudlove bracelet at the end of your spa day.

Price: From R1 599 per person

Couple’s massage: From R750 per couple

Chilling in style

Fancourt, George

A typical day at Fancourt: quick cardio workout in the gym, swim in the heated indoor pool, breakfast, round of golf, lunch, session with personal trainer followed by session with golf coach. Whoa, that doesn’t describe my day.

Mine looked like this: wake up, light 10-minute weight session, two gentle laps of the pool in the Roman Baths followed by half an hour lolling in the warm jacuzzi, gazing at the Outeniqua mountain range.

Breakfast of fresh fruit and a lightly poached egg at La Cantina restaurant. Reclined next to the pool for a couple of hours on a sun lounger, reading the latest

Emma van der Vliet novel.

Managed to doze off after a poolside salad despite noisy children frolicking in the water.

Woken up at 3.30pm by hubby summoning me to our partners’ massage at the thankfully child-free spa.

Wafted back to our villa on a haze of aromatherapy oils.

My teens kept themselves occupied with tennis, a workout at the gym and they even managed to persuade me to treat them to back massages at the spa – ‘a reward for all their hard work so far this term’. A good day.

Spa factor: The spa is decorated in serene and on-trend aqua, goldfish laze around in a tank in the foyer while a fountain trickles soothing sounds in the background.

A tranquil environment and a stand-out for me was the water-extracting device for your swimming costume. Whatever next?

Price: From R2 700 per room

Couple’s massage: R920

Heady experience

Le Franschhoek Hotel & Spa, Franschhoek

We visited Le Franschhoek Hotel & Spa in the middle of winter.

Situated beneath the towering Franschhoek mountains and nestled in between ancient oak trees, we immediately felt at home in this beautiful Cape Dutch-style hotel.

The stylish lounges have huge fireplaces, adding a cosy feeling to the comfort and luxury that Le Franschhoek promises.

Our stay there was pure indulgence; from decadent meals at Dish restaurant to enjoying sherry while sitting by the fireplace.

The theme of decadence continues in the rooms.

With heated floors and electric blankets, it was easy to forget that it was a very cold and wet winter in Cape Town.

Spa factor: My husband and I enjoyed the deluxe double treatment suite at the Camelot Spa.

To have a full body massage with my partner enjoying the same treatment next to me changed my view and experience of spas.

Price: From R1 660 per person

Couple’s massage: From R550

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