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Spa Travel: Cape Town, South Africa

Updated: May 1, 2019

Lately I have realised that I have strayed from the original intention for this blog. My plan for this blog was to provide information from my experience of solo travel and spa reviews to women.

There are now so many spas in Cape Town that it was impossible for me to visit with all of them, while remaining devoted to the One and Only. I gave it my best shot and here is my spa recap for the 2018/19 Southern Hemisphere summer season.



I began my 2018 'Year of Spa' with a generous gift certificate for the One and Only spa. The spa, decorated with a hip African twist, is an oasis in the lush back garden of the One and Only hotel, V & A Waterfront.

There is a broad menu of treatments available. The spa uses top on the line, natural products that also pay homage to the rich cultural heritage of Africa. Guests are welcome to use the relaxation room, steam and sauna rooms, hot pools and ice baths before and after their treatments.

The spa is spotless and the staff is very knowledgable and friendly. I had such a wonderful experience at the One and Only that I kept going back again and again...and again. I love the place so much that for Christmas, 2018, I brought the whole family for a luxurious day at the spa. We started with champagne, had treatments and use of the facilities, and a lovely lunch at Reuben's.



For my gift this year, I received a package certificate for the Silo Spa at the Silo Hotel.

The Silo Hotel & Spa, opened in 2017, occupies the grain elevator of the historic grain silo complex. The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa. The museum occupies the rest of the complex and houses the continent's largest collection of African art.

The Silo Hotel is a celebration of art, style, architecture and design and this is also reflected in the spa. Though the spa is small and has only a few treatment rooms, the style is impeccable and the treatments are pure luxury. I had a wonderful massage, manicure and facial using Black Gold products.



Always keen to doing something new, I went with Judy to try out the latest thing in relaxation therapy: floating. I do love a good float, but am not too keen on a cold pool or an ocean full of sharks.

The floatation tanks at Float Zero are a bit like large sun beds filled with water. The water is body temperature, though I would have liked it a little warmer. The water is sterile, with a Epsom salt content of 25-30%, and is filtered four times between each floatation session. Even with that knowledge, I hesitated to get all my bits out-as they recommend you do.

Floating within the tanks gives you a sense of zero-gravity and frees you from all sensory input. For me, it was like floating in space. In fact, after about 45 minutes in the tank, I turned off the low-level lights and pretended to be Sandra Bullock in Gravity; bouncing from side to side of the tank while trying to figure out what direction I was actually facing.

I think I would still prefer a massage for relaxation, but floating was very peaceful, relaxing and a bit of fun as well. If I could have had my feet dangle outside the tank, with someone on the other end rubbing them, my session would have been perfect!



I did not make it back to the Hydro in 2019, but I had a lovely visit to the spa resort last year. Cape Town at that time was in the grip of a terrible drought. The Hydro, having it's own water source, was free from all that and almost an oasis in a desert town.

I spent three days at the spa, and enjoyed many different treatments. I think that when the Hydro first opened, what they offered was revolutionary for the area, but I do think that now some of their treatments are a bit out of date. I consider a whirlpool bath to be more of something you can do in your own time in the locker room, rather than a bookable treatment. I also do not recall any other activities or classes unlike my time at several other spa resorts.

I still had a lovely time and will definitely make a return trip, especially if the rest of Cape Town runs out of water!



I met Elizabeth one afternoon for a massage just off of Long Street in Gardens. She has some back issues, and stands on her feet all day, so really enjoys the physical aspect of Thai massage.

We had bought a package that included a facial, massage and reflexology. The spa was located in a converted house which is not unusual for that area of Cape Town. But with familiar pictures all over the place, it still felt like someone's home, and that made me a little bit uncomfortable. Also uncomfortable was that, even though Elizabeth and I are good friends, I really don't want to get naked and have a massage together. This is what happens when you book two massages together without specifying separate rooms!

Usually when I have a treatment, an hour is not long enough, at 90 minutes I am just waking up, and longer than that I get a little restless. Our room that day had the loudest clock I have ever heard counting down the minutes. I assumed that, like watching water boil, time was moving slowly because I could hear every single minute tick past. But when I finally had the courage to lift up my eye mask, I realised that we had been in the room for 2.5 hours, and there was still no end in sight!

Three hours + straight of pummelling and pulling is too much, even for a spa junkie like myself. I think that I would have been much happier with just the massage, saving the facial for another day.

And as we were paying, Elizabeth drank one of the many glasses of water left out all over the place for offerings. I really wasn't clear what they were there for, so who can blame her?

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