It’s always a treat to visit a world-class spa, but often you can’t help but wonder if the experience will live up to the hype surrounding it, and all the wonderful reviews you hear about and read in magazines.
I remember discussions amongst some beauty editors, at one of the first beauty launches I attended, about this wonderful spa they had just stayed at for a prestige beauty launch. Seven years later, one early Saturday morning, I made my way up the winding hill towards the Conrad Pezula (by car, of course, I’m not that energetic!) perched atop a lush green crop of land on the Eastern Head, overlooking the picturesque Knysna Lagoon and the Indian ocean.
On arrival, I took a short tour of the spa, which includes nine treatment rooms including couple’s rooms, a nail bar and post-treatment relaxation room. As well as comprehensive wet facilities which included a 12m heated indoor pool, sauna, steam room, rainforest showers and rasul chamber. There’s even a medispa, fully-equipped gym, juice bar and a small hair salon to treat your tresses to some pampering of their own.
After a quick consultation, my therapist Leonie led me to the spa’s rasul, which is a big, tiled chamber comprising of two heated marble beds, two heated marble benches and a shower. Leonie applied a lovely coarse scrub all over my body to smooth away dead skin cells and stimulate circulation. Once I’d rinsed off in the shower, Leonie applied a silky smooth pink mud, which is a combination of clay and essentials oils. It helps to remineralise the skin and is also very hydrating. The rasul was then switched on and it only took a few minutes for warm steam to envelop the chamber.
Twenty minutes later, I rinsed off once more and made my way to one of the spa’s tranquil treatment rooms. Leonie was waiting with the Spa-Valous massage candle I’d chosen earlier through a quick sniff test, with patchouli and one of my favourite white flowers, jasmine, it’s no wonder I was drawn to it. The green candle is intended to rebalance the heart chakra, which controls the ability to give and receive love, unconditionally. After wrapping me snuggly in towels and blankets on the heated massage bed, Leonie began the massage using warm soy candle wax.
I asked for a fairly firm pressure and for special attention to be paid to my tight, knotty shoulders and was very pleased to receive a strong touch and some well-placed, expert manipulation in relieving the tightness in these areas. The full body massage lasted just over an hour and included two 5-10 minute head massages, which were worth getting my hair a little bit oily for and leaving the room looking like Medusa.
It took me a while to peel myself away from the warm, comfy recliner of the heated massage bed an hour later, but I was delighted to be led straight to yet another room of relaxation where I got to enjoy fifteen blissful minutes on a heated (you’re seeing a trend here) water bed, which uses jets to massage you as you rest. When the massage bed finally bubbled to a stop, I went through to the changing rooms to put on a swimsuit and try out some of the wet facilities. I was offered a delicious, fruity smoothie called the Shrink Drink, which is a blend of juicy fruits – just the thing to re-energise me before doing 10 laps in the pool followed by 10 minutes in the hot sauna.
By the time I’d showered and dressed, I was floating on a magical cloud of wonderment at having all my troubles scrubbed, masked, steamed, pummelled and washed away clean. I left the spa feeling weightless, stress-free and with the softest skin I’d felt in months, and knowing exactly how those beauty editors felt all those years ago. They’d raved about this little piece of paradise, now I knew why.