When you book a spa getaway, ideally you want a complete change of scenery, exotic-but-healthy foods, and spa treatments you can’t find anywhere else. South African spa resorts offer just that — here are 15 of the best.
This article originally appeared on AFKInsider.com.
1. Hyatt Regency, Johannesburg
The Hyatt Regency Johannesburg is in the gorgeously green suburb of Rosebank, which offers seclusion from the busy city, but easy access if you do venture out. The on-site spa is called the Phumula Spa (meaning “rest” in Zulu) and it integrates many of South Africa’s traditional healing techniques into its treatments. Treatments include the Cambala Restful Pinotage Salt Glow incorporating a unique South African wine grape. Other treatments: Khucula Cleansing Black Pepper Scrub and the Tea Tree Clay Wrap.
2. African Pride Crystal Towers Hotel and Spa, Cape Town
African Pride Crystal Towers Hotel and Spa offers stunning views of Table Mountain and excellent proximity to the Century City neighborhood. Rooms feature mood-enhancing lighting and gorgeous local art. The property’s full-service Life Day Spa Cape Town features unique treatments like the Bootcamp Body Treatment and Slimming Wrap, plus massages and beauty services. Guests also enjoy access to the outdoor terrace where they’ll find the hotel’s suspended swimming pool.
3. Grande Roche Hotel, Paarl
The Grande Roche is a truly unique spa experience. The property sits on a working farm in the Cape Winelands, with guests sleeping in a historic manor house. The award-winning chefs focus on light and healthy dishes that highlight the best local ingredients. Nearly every imaginable activity is available from sailing, mountain biking and hiking for more active guests to relaxed horseback riding, winery tours and golfing for those looking for a laid-back stay. And of course the property offers spa treatments featuring some of the best local products.
4. The Cellars-Hohenort, Cape Town
The Cellars-Hohenort is a stunning property made up of restored 18th-century wine cellars and a stately manor house. Guests stay in one of 53 luxury rooms, all with views of nine acres of manicured gardens and a vineyard. On warm days, guests cool down in the solar-heated swimming pools, and for some relaxation they visit the Paris Spa where specialists use indigenous ingredients like natural oils, volcanic stones, tropical bamboo sticks and woven linen clothes in their massages and treatments.
5. Ngala Game Reserve, Kruger National Park
Visitors to Ngala Game Reserve can either stay in the Ngala Safari Lodge — in thatched cottages under tamboti trees looking over a watering hole — or in Ngala Tented Camp, which offers luxurious canvas tents with expansive terraces looking over the reserve. Both properties let you watch lions, elephants and giraffes roam freely around the park. Most meals are served outdoors and under the stars at night. Guests can enjoy afternoon tea on their patio, or take a dip in the swimming pool to cool off.
6. Pezula Resort Hotel and Spa, Knysna
The Pezula Resort Hotel and Spa overlooks the beautiful coastline of the Western Cape and offers exceptional personalized service. At the Pezula Spa & Gym, guests enjoy the heated indoor pool, the rainforest shower, the sauna and steam rooms, and personalized spa packages. Dining choices are deliciously dynamic, from the Boma, where you can enjoy barbecue and other local dishes outdoors, to Noah’s Champagne & Cocktail Bar to the Café Z Bistro, serving produce from the on-property gardens.
7. Views Boutique Hotel and Spa, Wilderness
Designed to blend in with its coastal location, Views features incredible tall atriums looking right over the water. All dining establishments face the wilderness beach, from the rooftop cocktail deck to the fine dining Flagship Restaurant. In the afternoon, guests often relax in the library lounge with tea and a book, or indulge in the Moroccan Rasul Steam Room, the hydrotherapy lounge and the vitality pool in the spa.
8. The Oyster Box Hotel, Durban
Straight out of the pages of a Jane Austen novel, The Oyster Box Hotel property combines colonial décor with impressive tropical gardens and five-star service. One of the most welcoming staff you’ll ever find greets you with signature Oyster Box iced tea upon your arrival, and the hotel happily welcomes pets and children. The spa menu is expansive, with signature experiences like the hot lava shell massage and Himalayan salt crystals massage. Other spa facilities include the hamman and sensation shower, the rain showers and the Tranquility Lounge.
9. Fairmont Zimbali Lodge, Zimbali
This property’s name means “Valley of Flowers” in Zulu, and for a good reason: guests of the Fairmont Zimbali Lodge stay in the midst of untouched nature, and look over the KwaZulu-Natal’s Dolphin Coast. Guests are treated to on-call butler service, nine dining venues, and the Willow Stream Spa featuring treatments like the marula milk bath (using the South African marula fruit), the stress-relieving intonga stick massage and the hydrating rooibos mask.
10. Four Seasons Hotel Westcliff, Johannesburg
Formerly the Westcliff Hotel, this spectacular property offers all the luxury implied by the Four Seasons name, plus a brand new spa, two new restaurants featuring local ingredients, and an elegant bar with prime South African wines. The hotel has a wonderful day spa that’s already establishing a reputation as one of the most modern and tranquil in Johannesburg, along with a fitness center with stunning views, a heated outdoor pool and even limousine service.
11. Saxon Boutique Hotel, Villas & Spas
Located within an award-winning hotel, the Saxon Spa pulls out all the stops to offer an extraordinary range of treatments. Think underwater music, gongs, cymbals, singing bowls and bells, colour therapy and hydro jets alongside the massages, wraps and aromatherapies that we all know and love. So why not re-energise with one of its luxurious signature therapies, an Elemental Massage.
12. Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat
Nestled in the Cederberg mountains north of Cape Town, Bushmans Kloof is well-known for its high standards in luxury. It’s spa draws on the unique rock formations and flora of the Western Cape, and it uses locally grown herbs. You can select to have treatments in traditional rooms or in an open gazebo setting with panoramic views. Or you may elect to try the Crystal steam room.
13. Amani African Spa, Ivory Tree
Ideally located with an extinct volcano crater in the Pilanesburg Game Reserve, the Ivory Tree Amani African Spa offers locally crafted Africology products that promise to turn you into an African Goddess. The spa is surrounded by bushveld, creating a remote seeming location while providing uninterrupted views of the surrounds. The treatment rooms are raised on stilts and accessed via wooden walkways. Everything is minimalist in style and designed to blend into the bush with subtle earthy tones. So why not splurge on a Jewel of Africa massage? There are even treatments available for the little ones, known as Bush Babies.
14. Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa
Located within easy access of Cape Town and surrounded by a National Park, the Twelve Apostles is a perfect blend of sophisticated city hotel and resort. There’s a heated infinity pool with ocean views. The spa menu has many options, and there are nine treatment rooms available, including two mountain gazebos for outdoor treatments complete with ocean views. For something different, try the Rasul Chamber, which offers a traditional Arabic cleansing ritual through the use of steam and mud. Or try the Salt Water Floatation Pool.
15. Thanda Spa
Combine game watching with the soothing treatments of the Wellness Centre at the luxurious Thanda Private Game Reserve. Treatments include the use of marula, the African potato and other items to provide a thorough pampering for your body while in the bush. Indulge in an African massage or a soak in a reflexology pool. The spa is designed to look as if it simply emerges from the rock.