If you're anything like us, you might already be thinking about where to fly off to this autumn and winter, despite our own summer having barely begun. If so, may we recommend Cape Town?
Ok, so we're always going on about its great bars, fantastic wildlife, gorgeous drives and seriously special honeymoon hotels nearby in the Winelands, but we just can't help ourselves. We're in love with this city. So, just in case you need another reason to visit, today we're looking at Cape Town's spas, and they don't get much better than these...
Librisa Spa at the Mount Nelson Hotel
Set amid the leafy, lively hubbub of downtown Cape Town, the superbly located Mount Nelson is the city's most famous luxury hotel. The Librisa Spa is spread across three late Victorian buildings, decked out in a harmonious mix of muted velvets, mirrors and chandeliers - it's timeless yet contemporary, and definitely very relaxing. There's a total commitment to natural ingredients and all products used are 100% chemical-free, including the Australian brand Sodashi and South Africa's own Africology ranges. Signature treatments include the Sodashi thermal infusion and marine rich mineral facials, and Africology shea aromatherapeutic massages. Before and after, guests are welcome to make the most of the Finnish sauna, steam bath, plunge pool, sensation showers and sunny conservatory.
Librisa Spa, Mount Nelson Hotel, 76 Orange Street, Cape Town 8001
Cayenne Spa at the Pepper Club Hotel & Spa
Pepper Club has been awarded the honour of Best Luxury Hotel in South Africa by CNN Traveller, and it's really not hard to see why. With a city centre location at the foot of Table Mountain, amazing views across Lion's Head and over to Camps Bay, and a five-star experience which includes a private cinema and a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce Phantom to pick you up from the airport, you'll be rubbing shoulders with the jetset from the moment you check in. Pepper Club's Cayenne Spa is a state-of-the-art yet tranquil facility, with a fully-equipped gym, sauna and heated pool in addition to its four treatment rooms. For something uniquely African, try the Intonga Stick Massage; a full body experience performed with Intonga sticks, better known for their role in an ancient Xhosa martial art.
Cayenne Spa, Pepperclub Hotel and Spa, Cnr Loop and Pepper Street, Cape Town 8001
Life Day Spa
Winner of the Les Nouvelle Esthetique Best Hotel Spa in South Africa 2011 award and member of the prestigious Spas of Distinction group, Life Day Spa forms part of the African Pride Crystal Towers Hotel and is at the cutting edge of contemporary skin care. This is a real urban retreat, with a sleek, understated design ethic. Clean lines and clever, colourful lighting combine to create a space that induces an ultimate state of relaxation, with a poolside deck that feels like your own little secret. Among other well-known brands such as La Prairie and Skin Doctors, the spa also uses its very own aromatherapy-based body product range, Sulis. If you want to try it out for yourself, try the replenishing mud wrap or purify ritual massage.
Life Day Spa, Crystal Towers Hotel, Cnr Century Boulevard and Rialto Road, Century City, Cape Town 7441
Angsana Spa at the Vineyard Hotel
The plush Vineyard Hotel is located in the upmarket suburb of Newlands and sits amidst six leafy acres of landscaped gardens on the banks of the Liesbeek River. Angana Spa is a global brand and this is their first venue in South Africa, where in addition to a huge range of treatments, they also offer all kinds of unique, local gifts and traditional handicrafts which helps keep the skills of local villagers alive. For something completely different, try the Ayurdvedic Rainmist treatment, which includes a 60-minute massage, a 15-minute Shirodhara - an Ayurvedic practice that involves gently pouring liquids over the forehead - plus a lemon body polish, 15-minute rainmist steam and 15-minute rainshower. Bliss!
Angsana Spa, Vineyard Hotel & Spa, 54 Colinton Road, Cape Town 7700
The spa at Cape Town's One&Only hotel is extravagantly gorgeous, set on its own island in the middle of the hotel's palm-lined grounds. It claims to be the most comprehensive spa in the whole of Cape Town, and with a yoga pavilion, a fitness centre with an indoor rubberised track, a luxury hair salon and a treatment menu that includes World Spa Award-winning Bastien Gonzalez manicures and pedicures, we're not going to argue. The only issue is deciding which treatment to go for - we say splash out on one of the Full Day programmes and make the most of it. You'll get access to the thermal suites with steam room, sauna, ice fountain and vitality pool too.
One&Only Cape Town, Dock Road, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town 8001
Virgin Atlantic operates seasonal flights to South Africa from London Heathrow
Header shot of Librisa Spa © Orient-Express Hotels Ltd
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About the author: MaxineMaxine Sheppard
Maxine is the editor of the Virgin Atlantic blog. Travel and music are her joint first loves, and despite having written for Virgin for more years than she cares to remember she still loves nothing more than jumping on a plane in search of new sights and new sounds.