Beyond relaxation – the spa with a difference.


I have been to a fair few spa’s in my time. It is my special treat, even more so now that I have two little ones. My neck and shoulders seem permanently stiff from carrying and lifting children! However, it is rare to find a spa that is actually focussed on making you better, not just ensuring relaxation. Where the focus is healing you.

Santé Wellness Retreat and Spa in Paarl just blew my mind. It is set in the most tranquil surroundings that instantly draws you into a peaceful state. Santé is well-known for treating people using a holistic approach. The very helpful and knowledgeable spa manager, Mimmie Lancaster, explained that people often come to Santé to recover following serious illness, or to unwind from chronic debilitating stress. In addition to being a day-spa, Santé is also a retreat where you can stay for up to three weeks. Tailor-made meal plans are worked out and treatments in both the day-spa as well as the Bio-Energy centre are scheduled in accordance with the health assessment formulated upon arrival.

I was also incredibly impressed with the restaurant. We enjoyed the most delicious meal, which was organic, freshly harvested (in accordance with their policy the food has to be on the plate within four hours of harvesting), gluten and dairy free.

The restaurant/café is surrounded by glass allowing plenty of natural light and endless views of the verdant green lawn and simmering mountains in the background. There are outdoor pools as well as a stunning indoor pool, which actually reminded me of the roman baths in the city of Bath in England. The sauna and jacuzzi round this relaxing and natural-light-filled space off nicely.

For our treatment, we opted for the detox half-day treatment package. It started with a dry body brush exfoliation to remove the dead skin cells and improve circulation. This was followed by a thermal mud wrap, drawing impurities out of the body and finally, a detox massage including a rebalancing foot zone massage. I can hand on heart say it was the best massage I have ever had. The masseuse was so incredibly skilled at targeting exactly the right areas, knowing how to isolate certain muscles to achieve optimum effect under pressure. Given how well I felt afterwards, it was clear the therapist knew how to stimulate lymphatic drainage in the correct way.  My body often responds negatively to lotions and creams used in spa’s but on this occasion, I not only had no negative reaction, I felt much better when I left the spa than when I arrived. This is not surprising as the policy of the spa is to use chemical-free natural products to ensure optimal health benefits.

The day-spa offers an extensive array of treatments such as Vinotherapy (bathing in wine and crushed grapes to combat free radical damage), Hydrotherapy including Hammam, Rasul and Vichy Shower, Anti- Aging treatments and Relaxation treatments. There is also a fitness centre with a yoga and pilates studio. The range of treatments are more extensive than I have seen anywhere else locally. No wonder it has won the award for best day-spa in Africa!

If you need to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life, need to recover from an illness or just rejuvenate your body and mind, don’t miss the opportunity to come to this world-class healing spa. You are almost certainly going to walk out feeling (and most probably looking!) better than you did when you came in. Your body will be nourished with the most wonderfully wholesome and delicious food, your soul will be up-lifted by the beautiful surroundings and your heart will be touched by the warm and sincere service of all the staff. Make Santé your next big treat.

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