I arrive at Delaire Graff Estate in Stellenbosch with the rain beating down on my car. Hoping to catch a glimpse of the exquisite scenery, the clouds were playing hide and seek with the mountains and it was the mountains turn to hide. All was not lost, the uphill drive between the gates and the spa is in itself a voyage of discovery. Magnificent sculptures dot the lush lawns, welcoming you to serenity.
Stepping into the spa building, I was transported from the dullness into a colour-rich oasis. A circular table overflowing with bright flowers welcomes guests, the interior is asian-inspired with statues and paintings displayed throughout.
The rain slants against the floor-to-ceiling windows and fills up the ponds in the atriums wedged in-between walkways. A calming fire is warming up the room, I was drawn toward it to dry off a little.
The first order of the day is a spa lunch at Indochine restaurant. The ceiling is a striking work of art depicting an ascension of swallows in flight. When you finally glance away, you are greeted with glorious views of the Botmaskop mountain and grounds of the estate.
The spa menu has been re-inspired to coincide with the renovated spa facilities. Each course has three dishes to choose from, a vegan option and a pescatarian alternative. The idea is to pair healthy eating with restorative spa treatments.
The food is indulgent and nourishing at the same time, with the freshest ingredients picked from their very own garden. I opted for the Donburi starter, which is a Japanese bowl with fish or meat and vegetables simmered together and served over rice, in this case it was lentils. It is similar to a poke bowl. The addition of salmon was ideal, it added richness to the otherwise light, fragrant and easily digested dish.
The next course was red curry with prawn, which was delectable and had a little kick of chili. The meals are served without heavy starches which is ideal if you have booked a leisurely afternoon spa treatment.
Dessert was taster portions of a macha-covered swiss roll, mini-tarts and macaroons. Something this good should not be good for you, but it is and there were smiles, not complaints, from me. An indulgent alternative, is the luxurious Afro-Asian High Tea which is only offered on Fridays with any 60-minute treatment.
After a short break, I heard my favourite words, “Hi Mrs Narrandes, please come this way.” I mentally prepared to shut down my body and leave it in the well-functioning hands of my massage therapist.
“Where should I change?” I asked before we got to the room. In the suite was the reply. No awkward ‘don’t look at me change’ moments in a communal dressing room. That may have been the exact moment that they won me over. Which begs the question, you pay a considerable fee for a massage at a high-end spa facility, why is there no consideration of ensuite facilities?
The renovated rooms are decked out in neutral comforting colours, and offer a soothing view of the mountains.
My treatment of choice was the Terres D’Afrique Detox Massage, which makes use of heated baobab seed pindas and morrocan spiced essential oils created in house.
My therapist masterfully found every knot and ironed them out effortlessly. Her skills, experience and understanding of massage techniques worked my muscles into surrender. The baobab seed pinda was a first for me, it felt like a heated bag of beans scraping over my skin.
Hildegard Carstens, Delaire Graff Estate’s new Spa Manager says you can expect a a holistic experience from beginning to end, where the ultimate goal is to transform and heal.
Another innovative addition at the spa is Dr Barbara Sturm’s advanced molecular cosmetics, it is a new generation of treatments with a clear focus on skin rejuvenation.
The spa draws inspiration from ancient Eastern philosophies and the menu is centred around energies (chi) with treatments focused on life-giving elements, earth, fire, water, air and space.
On my way out, the clouds parted and the rain stopped, I took it as a sign of leaving negative energy behind and embracing the silver lining.
Contact: +27 21 885 8160
Address: Helshoogte Pass, Stellenbosch
Website: Delaire Graaf Spa
Pictures: Nidha Narrandes and Supplied