Slippery when wet: Spa Review

Posted: November 26, 2009 in Theatre & Event Reviews and Interviews
Cape Town Spa’s
First published in the Sunday Independent 22 November ‘09
 By Astrid Stark

 Her small but strong hands glide down my spine. The oil makes the journey deliciously slippery. With practised skill she pours hot fragrant candle wax all along my thigh. Her fingers expertly work the smooth heat into exhausted muscles. I am in an earth bound version of heaven; the Equinox Spa at the Cape Royale Hotel.

The Spa’s signature treatment is a colour coded Chakra Balancing Candle Massage. Walking through the luxurious gold and cream textures of the Cape Royale’s foyer into the twilight colours of the Spa does make you feel as if you are stepping into another, more tranquil, world. The floor and doors are Indigo, and the walls; white. Fragrant candles burn all along the dimly lit passages. Music, which sounds like it has been recorded by a group of Buddhist monks on a mountain ledge somewhere in Tibet, softens the air. The ambience of the semi-darkness and soundproof relaxation room is instantly calming. It is hard to believe you are poised above the Green Point main road where construction on the 2010 stadium is happening at a frantic pace.

My therapist is a young but confident woman named Donè Rademan who has a beautiful energy that seems to radiate effortlessly from her. After my shower she offers a consultation which includes choosing a coloured card from a pack. The colours represent the various body chakras. A natural soy aromatherapy candle is burned to create hot oil, which the therapist then pours all along your body, and proceeds to firmly rub into your skin as part of the balancing head to toe massage. It sounds a little like a scene out of Basic Instinct. However the candle wax is only around 2 degrees hotter than your own body temperature. This creates a slightly burning but thoroughly relaxing sensation. Once I lay prostrate in the starter massage position with my face stuck inside the hole, and my entire body wrapped in a melange of towels and hot cloths, Doné starts weaving her magic. She was very careful only to expose the necessary bits of flesh that she worked on at a time, leaving the breasts prudently covered and untouched. The inside of the treatment room is very dark and the monks are doing their thing. I wondered for a moment if I should have brought my camping headlamp so she can see me better. Then I realised that my winter white bottom is probably glowing like the full moon above Lion’s Head. I stopped thinking and simply relaxed and enjoyed her expert touch.

An hour and a half later I stumbled out into the cruel bright daylight and the roaring traffic with a red ring around my face and my chakras delightfully balanced. Equinox spa’s extensive menu incorporates the usual range of massages, grooming packages and skin treatments. The 4 hands synchronized massage has two therapists working in unison, and the duo massage allows you to join your partner for a couple treatment in their luxury double suite; a gorgeous Christmas holiday treat for a loved one. Equinox Spa stocks Dermalogica, Comfort Zone, Nimue, Caribbean Tan, Spa Rituals, Equinox Chakra Massage Candles and Bio Sculpture Nail Technologies.

If Equinox Spa is a dark chocolate, double velvet queen, then Elements Spa must be her younger, lighter and vibrant little sister. Elements Spa, situated at the V&A Waterfront’s Dock House Boutique Hotel, opened its doors at the end of September this year. It categorises itself as an Urban Day Spa and the ambience is friendly and bright. Here I tried the ginger and lime scrub and wrap, followed by a hot stone massage with a cranberry soy candle. Leanne Louw is the manager of Elements and on the day I give my body over to her. Whereas Equinox is the great dame of discretion, Elements Spa swiftly disposed with any unnecessary modesty – depending on your treatment. I am handed a tiny disposable g-string and we both laugh at its clinical attempt at modesty. Leanne proceeds to scrub my entire body with fresh smelling ginger and lime rub and then she wraps me up in plastic whilst expertly working on my feet’s pressure points. The scrub makes my skin tingle and the heat allows the oils to penetrate deep into the skin. A quick shower later and the hot stones are produced. The stones are volcanic rocks which have been smoothed out and they are well suited to their task as the retain heat very well. The stones are warmed inside a wok filled with water. After rubbing my body down with oil Leanne starts to run the hot stones across my body. She is an expert at finding problem spots in the body and soon she is working at the tangle of knots in my shoulders and along my spine. The sensation of the hot rocks is delicious and soothing. For days afterward my skin is still supple and soft from this treatment.

 Ze End

  1. Really great post. I’m very happy to read this article. Thank you for writing useful posts.


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