Absolute awe. That is what I felt driving up the lane on La Bella Vita Wine Estate and seeing Santé Wellness Retreat & Spa creep closer. The feeling didn’t subside upon going inside; the place is like nothing I have ever seen before – spectacular to say the least.
Santé was recently bought by husband and wife, Graham and Ingrid Hindle, as well as partner Keith Macmillan. Their hands-on approach and passion for health and wellness have transformed an old hotel into the wellness retreat and spa of dreams.
The new owners did a complete transformation of everything; the grounds, the conferencing facilities, the spa, the suites, the kitchen and restaurant, and everything Santé now has to offer. Santé is a part of Healing Hotels of the World and is the only African premium member the group has to offer. With that, Santé now offers three healing centres under one roof, namely the Health Optimizing Royal Retreat, the Day Spa, and a Bio-Energy Centre.
The Day Spa has everything you would want a spa to offer with every treatment having its own curated music, whether you’re getting a facial or a massage. It is one of the biggest spas in the country and even offers a few signature treatments only to be found at Santé. These signature treatments include the vinotherapy and my personal favourite, the Pro-Sleep Massage.
The vinotherapy is a whole experience and takes a few hours. It includes a full body massage using grape infused oils that ease tight muscles. It also includes the very relaxing soak in the Vinotherapy tub. The tub even has a few bottles of red wine added (which you’re advised not to drink). We all know about the antioxidants in red wine so it’s easy to imagine what it can do for your skin. It aids in fighting free radical damage and hydrating the skin as well. The red grape and clay full body wrap nourishes your body and is followed by a full body massage to leave you totally relaxed. The experience ends with the application of their luxurious Cabernet body lotion.
The Pro-Sleep massage, my ultimate favourite, is literally the full body massage experience that dreams are made of. I am not one for falling asleep during a massage as I am scared I’ll miss something, but this one had me dozing off, feeling like I slept a full eight hours. I never knew I wasn’t relaxed until I had this massage. This massage acts on three different sensorial pathways. It works on smell through the oils, touch through specialised brushes, and hearing through the music to induce relaxation. When the therapist started softly brushing me with what felt like a wet paintbrush, I knew I was done for — absolute bliss!
Another key part in the health at Santé is the food served there. All their food contains no sugar, dairy, gluten, preservatives, colourants or additives and is organic. The whole wine list is also organic. Being a fussy eater myself, I was worried about this before my trip, but I can say without hesitation that I was pleasantly surprised. Something that was proven to me was that healthy food at this level does not have to be tasteless or off-putting. Everything that Chef Terrence Ford prepared was delicious. Even the desserts tasted like guilt but were ultimately guilt-free.
The main feature at Santé is the Health Optimizing Royal Retreat. It uses hi-tech medical technologies including quantum and energy medicine, some of which are even the first in Africa. It works on the basis of the understanding of imbalances and dysfunctions and what their underlying triggers and causes are. If something is fixed at the causative level, it has much more effective results than treating symptoms. And yes, they do have a doctor on site, Dr Helen Muir.
Thomas Aksnes, the founder of Health Optimizing in Norway, explained to us his journey to being healthy. This took place in the fabulous conferencing facilities also available at Santé via a Skype call. At the age of 18, he has gone through many courses of antibiotics and was told he would never have an optimal life with his asthma. He decided that this simply cannot be the case and today, through Health Optimizing, he is healthy and living life optimally. He is a walking advert for this company. Health Optimizing’s biggest success is that of preventing the amputation of limbs with diabetic ulcers. When we spoke to him they had a 46 out of 46 success rate with the saving of the limbs.
Santé also features a Bio-Energy Centre. This is based on the ancient philosophies that combines the attributes and properties of magnetic fields, colour, light, and crystals with modern science. It is a very holistic approach where healing takes place through the intervention of using electromagnetic waveforms to stimulate the body’s natural healing.
After a day of spa treatments and eating the most amazing health foods, retreating to the room is just another part of heaven. Each room, just like the rest of the retreat, is carefully decorated by Ingrid Hindle herself and features everything you could want in a hotel room. From a balcony with a view over the mountains and grounds, to the most luxurious shower, to a coffee station with delicious healthy snacks, and a TV with more channels than you have time for.
My stay at Santé was full of highlights and another one was the morning yoga before breakfast. Santé has a fully equipped gym for guests with a room for yoga and Pilates, overlooking the labyrinth, the mountains, and the dam. The instructor is calming, which translates into the experience enjoyed, as the sun comes up, perfectly preparing you for the day ahead.
Departing from Santé later that morning I was still in awe; not just from what I saw, but from what I have experienced as well. The spa, the health, the food and also the almond milk cappuccinos. Santé means health and this is definitely a place you’d want to achieve it.
For more information on the different wellness and retreat packages, spa menu, or the conferencing facilities, please visit www.santeretreat.co.za and you can also find them on various social media platforms.
Images © Santé Wellness Retreat & Spa