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Santé a la Tuscan lux

After you found your way onto the Simonsvlei Road near Paarl, between orchards, vineyards and olive groves, and you made it past the dirt road that will leave you rattled after a few hundred metres, you turn into the gates of La Bella Vita Wine Estate, soon to be greeted by the tiled roofs of Santé Hotel & Spa, an Orion Group hotel. I think this is probably the closest you'll be able to get to Tuscany in this country.

Photo by Cari van Wyk

Cosy luxury


After being politely welcomed at the great doors of Santé, my significant other and I were shown to our Spa Double Suite located in one of the many Tuscan-styled buildings that populate the vast estate grounds. The suite can only be described as understated, earth-toned, high-ceilinged elegance with every convenience provided. We were clearly expected as we found our room lit up and with a fruit platter and bottle of wine waiting for us. Not long after, we were off to the restaurant for dinner, but we’ll get back to this a bit later.

Photo by Cari van Wyk

Comfy down beds, a fireplace to warm chilly nights, a bay window for lazy afternoons spent reading while looking out over the dam and a spacious bathroom with an equally spacious bath and shower, completed our weekend nook.

Photo by Cari van Wyk

Bakwena Spa


Woken up with a cacophony of birdsong and an awesome sunrise view over the misty early morning waters, we got up and ready for an early call to the Bakwena Spa. Reporting for treatment and pampering, we were escorted down the candlelit halls of the spa and issued our spa-day gowns - and can I just say that seeing men confidently walking around in the same purple gowns as the ladies is a site worth seeing - before being led to a breakfast buffet.

Photo by Cari van Wyk

Toast, sausage, scrambled eggs, bacon and fried tomato – all the ingredients of a fine English breakfast accompanied with coffee and a selection of juices. Alternatively, you could go for the healthier option of fruit, muesli and yoghurt.

After everyone was fuelled up and ready to go, we were again led by a retinue of spa therapists to our first massage – full body hot stone massage followed by a foot, ankle and calf massage ending with a head and shoulders massage. Three hours of spa bliss at the hands of Bakwena spa therapists treated with refreshments during intervals. This followed by a dip in the hydro pool and then a boil in the jacuzzi is exactly what you need after a week of intense concentration and desk-sitting.

Photo by Cari van Wyk

We made our departure with a complimentary shot of Amarula and found our way back to the suite on relaxed legs. Nap time followed by movie time – done just in time for dinner time.

Dinner Debut


Dinner is served at the Debut Restaurant from 7pm. If you’re early you can make yourself cosy at the olive bar for a pre-dinner drink or test your skills at snooker in the almost presidential snooker lounge.

Photo by Cari van Wyk

When you’re ready you can have a seat and let one of the lovely Santé ladies know what you would like to start with – a light soup, a fresh salad or veggie delights. Each dish was fresh and beautifully presented. The mains have something for everyone, from the best catch of the day to the juiciest steak. Hats off to chef Riaan, who prepared my steak to perfection two nights in a row – something I have rarely (no pun intended) encountered.

Photo by Cari van Wyk

Our first dinner at Debut saw us unable to make it to the desserts. The second evening we came at it with a strategy. Carefully selecting our starters and mains, we left just enough space to make us brave enough to get to dessert – a classic malva pudding and a crackers and cheese board overflowing with sugary fruit and topped with star anise.

Our bravery lead to my better half slipping into a food coma – we had to get back to the comfy down pillows and duvet. After good dining, good massages and good views we got into bed with a little bit of sadness, knowing that we would have to say goodbye to Santé in the morning.

Click here to win a weekend away at Santé Hotel & Spa.

About Cari Van Wyk

Cari Coetzee is a contributor to Bizcommunity Tourism, Agriculture and Lifestyle.
Comment
Anonymous
I don't think Santé Hotel & Spa is part of the Orion Group anymore, but I have visited their other hotels and had a fantastic experience. Not even to mention Bakwena Day Spa, would go back anytime!
Posted on 4 Nov 2020 11:55

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