Visiting South Africa isn’t just about safaris. Here’s the lowdown on some of the country’s most opulent spas to whet your appetite.
Delaire Graff Lodges and Spa
Delaire Graff sits perched on Helshoogte mountain pass, with sweeping views across vineyards and mountains towards Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. Aside from impressive art, gourmet food and award-winning wines, the estate offers a world-class spa.
Adopting a holistic approach to health and wellbeing, the Delaire Graff spa uses products from Swiss Perfection and Aromatherapy Associates in its four suites. There are hydrotherapy baths and the option of private terraces for alfresco treatments, while both the heated Jacuzzi and 22-metre swimming pool face distant Table Mountain; golden sunsets are not uncommon here.
The Delaire Graff Estate houses a fascinating collection of contemporary art – the personally curated collection and lifelong passion of the estate’s owner, diamond magnate Laurence Graff. The interiors have been designed around some pivotal artworks that reflect South Africa’s diverse heritage, and the indigenous gardens are designed by celebrity horticulturalist Keith Kirsten. Guests can stay in one of ten luxury lodges on the expansive and tranquil property.
The Spa at The Oysterbox
Overlooking an iconic lighthouse on a stretch of beach in Umhlanga, just north of Durban, this spa echoes the historical character of The Oyster Box hotel itself. It reflects the rich Afro-Indian culture of KwaZulu-Natal’s North Coast – it’s here that thousands of indentured labourers arrived in the 1860s to work on the sugarcane plantations; and it’s here that former President Nelson Mandela cast the very first democratic vote on 27 April, 1994.
Former guests speak of the days when tenants lived in rustic bungalows in the property’s back gardens. In their place today are villas that complement the elegant sea-facing colonial hotel. Expect open-air corridors, white balustrades, palms and orchids in courtyards, with waves crashing onto the sandy coastline, and favourable temperatures all year round.
The Oyster Box spa menu incorporates ancient and modern techniques and philosophies, natural therapies, elements of sea and earth, and ingredients native to South Africa. There are six modern treatment rooms, a hydrotherapy bath, a grooming lounge, a plunge pool, a fitness club, an infinity pool with garden views and a post-treatment tranquillity lounge. The pièce de résistance is the authentic, beautifully designed hammam, offering a deep-cleansing and relaxing experience.
Location: On the warm beachfront of Umhlanga village, 20 minutes’ drive north of Durban
Getting there: Durban’s King Shaka international airport is just 15 minutes away
More information: redcarnationhotel.com | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Spa at Cape Grace
Any visit to Cape Town should include the V&A (Victoria & Alfred) Waterfront, with its marina, flagship stores, restaurants and fabulous Cape Grace hotel. The hotel embraces historical influences of the early settlers to the Cape and has a commitment to the few remaining Khoisan people (bushmen), who live further up the west coast of Africa.
The signature treatment at the Spa at Cape Grace stays true to its African setting; the 60-minute Kalahari Rolling Sands Massage uses specific hand and arm movements on the back to symbolise the rolling dunes of the Namib Desert – and creates a deep, relaxing massage at the same time. You’ll be glad to know that no sand is used; instead, you select your favourite of four Kalahari oil blends.
Cape Grace sponsors groups of Khoisan children through a sustainable education programme; a complimentary ostrich bead bracelet made by local communities is presented at the end of the treatment.
The hot spa area consists of a rain shower, steam room and sauna, and while visitors are relaxing there they can take in views of Table Mountain, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa
Situated on Cape Town’s most scenic route, poised above the Atlantic Ocean and flanked by the Twelve Apostles Mountain range, the spa at The Twelve Apostles Hotel features an all-white crystal grotto interior. The aim is to combine ancient wisdom with modern expertise, so that you leave with your senses revitalised and your body and mind realigned.
The Spa welcomes both hotel guests and day spa visitors to choose from a variety of treatments and packages, including a range of nature-inspired “B|Africa” signature treatments. Named in honour of the founder and president of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection South Africa, Bea Tollman, B|Africa products combine indigenous African plant extracts with the natural goodness of the sea.
The hotel’s location in the Table Mountain National Park means that a sunset treatment in one of the romantic outdoor Mountain Gazebos is an unforgettable experience. The spa also has nine treatment rooms with rain showers, for dual and single treatments, a rasul chamber for traditional Arabic cleansing rituals, and a manicure and pedicure salon. Guests can also use the hydro pool, plunge pool and salt-water floatation pool before and after treatments, and relax in the tranquillity lounge.
Location: 15 minutes from the heart of Cape Town on the gorgeous coastal drive along winding Victoria Road
Getting there: 40 minutes by car from Cape Town International Airport
More information: 12apostleshotel.com