Endless iterations of salads and detoxifying juice cleanses, alcohol abstinence, all-day yoga and hours of meditation are what traditional wellness retreats are made of. What a bore!
Wouldn’t you rather enjoy a three-course meal three times a day and end dinner off with a glass of wine — organic wine — in-between yoga sessions and spa treatments? We certainly would, which is why we’re taken with Santé Wellness Retreat & Spa. Tucked away in Paarl, this escape sports a cobbled driveway that winds through hectares of vineyards. Arriving there, you may feel like you’ve suddenly been teleported to the Tuscan countryside. No such luck, but you are in for a pearl of an experience nevertheless.
The newly renovated Santé boasts luxury rooms, two restaurants, yoga and pilates studios, a “health optimising” centre, a premium spa (it’s part of the Healing Hotels of the World Group), and even a labyrinth. It’s the brainchild of Graham and Ingrid Hindle, and Santé is a holistic haven for stressed-out corporate individuals or those battling with their nutritional health. The first question you’re asked on check-in? “Would you like your room fridge stocked with almond milk or none?” Not a stretch, given that Santé’s kitchen is dairy-, gluten- and sugar-free. And organic.
The unique approach to nutrition at Santé, (under the watchful eye of executive chef Terrence Ford) is a real thing. The ingredients are taken from the sustainable vegetable gardens around the property, while outsourced food from suppliers has to comply with Santé’s no hormones, no pesticides, organic, and seasonal-only policy.
Food aside, the retreat offers an extensive range of treatment rooms, packages, and highly qualified therapists. Make a day of it with the signature vinotherapy experience, a treatment that involves soaking in a bath of red wine — perfect for combating free-radical damage. If getting enough sleep is an issue, try a pro-sleep massage. Santé is absolutely not an environment of deprivation. Rather, it offers you healthier alternatives that should make a huge difference to nutrition, energy levels, and overall feelings of wellness. It’s like having your cake (sans dairy, obvs) and eating it too.