Halloween 2006

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Halloween 2006 - Beauty and the Beast
SPECIAL EVENTS
Where we went in May
Arabella Western Cape Hotel and Spa

Clothing Optional
A day at the Arabella


It’s a cold & stormy Thursday morning in Hermanus. The Cape winter has definitely arrived - very early & with a bang none the less.

I am anxiously waiting for local writer Louise Landsberg to make her grand appearance, as this is the day we are going to the Arabella Western Cape Hotel & Spa for some much anticipated relaxation time. Reynard Bresler from the hotel has kindly booked us on the 15 step Rainforest Treatment at the hotel’s health spa, with High Tea at Laguna Lounge afterwards.

By the time Louise arrives the storm is in full force. We end up driving the whole way at 80km/h as visibility has gone to zero. Luckily the hotel is only a few minutes drive away from Hermanus, so the trip is over quickly.

On arrival at the hotel we are the only visible guests. Weather is so bad we think that everyone has decided to rather stay in bed. At this hotel, staying in is an activity that I can highly recommend though - they have gorgeous rooms with magnificent views (no matter which room you stay in), soft goose down duvets & a fantastic room service selection! What more could you want on a rainy day? Not in the mood for DSTV or in room movies? You could make a quick run to the hotel library and pick up some light reading or fun board games.

We on the other hand head down to the spa where we are met by our therapist, Madelief, who gives us a quick tour of the facility before we head of to the locker room to change. We decide that going through this unknown experience is not going to happen in the buff for us, so we keep our swimming costumes on.

Enter the clothing optional rainforest. WOW! Words cannot describe the sight you are met with on entering this area. It’s dark as twilight. Not cold, but quite humid. The sound of waterfalls just out of sight builds on your excitement of unknown pleasures to come.

In the first room you receive a full body exfoliation, done with Mediterranean sea salt & grape seed oil. My skin last felt this soft at sixteen! A quick rinse & you are off to the next room – everything, even the walk from one step to the next happening in semi darkness. We are completely relaxed; the bad weather and scary drive already long forgotten.

The next step is the steam room. Madelief drops a bomb on us… We have to take a cold shower before heading into the steam room! It does not end there either – we are calmly informed by Madelief that after 5 minutes in the steam room we have to come back out for another cold shower before heading back in again. My mind is racing for an excuse not to do this – this can’t be true! It sounds like some kind of ancient water torture technique! In truth, as explained by Madelief, this exercise will get the blood pumping. Specifically designed to clear your system & improve circulation. The last mentioned sold the idea in my mind – improved circulation means less cellulite… Hooray! Bring on the cold showers! It’s a shock to the system when you get that first shower, but after 5 minutes in the steam room that second shower was heaven!

After the steam room you move to the next step, the sauna. There you can choose, from a selection of oils, which “flavor” sauna you would prefer. You cannot go wrong with Ylang Ylang & smoky wood permeating your senses while sitting on warm soft towels. Going from the wet hot steam room to the dry heat of the sauna puts you into a whole new level of relaxation.

When you come out of the sauna your therapist surprises you with a glass of ice cold lemon water before you head off to the mist room. You will spend some 10 minutes in here, sitting in cool mist that condensates on your eye lashes & runs in smooth droplets off your oiled skin.

Next you move to a bedded area where you lie down whilst your therapist wraps you in warm sheets & towels. This creates a warm, womb-like effect which makes you sleepy before she is even done wrapping you. You spend about twenty minutes just relaxing all your muscles.

After another glass of lemon water, it’s time for the foot baths. Three minutes in warm water & one minute in cold water. This step is repeated three times.

The rain beds. Huge marble beds to lie on whilst jets of pulsating “rain” water massages first your front & then your back. If you have ever found yourself wishing you could sleep in your shower, then this would be the perfect way to do it. Afterwards, your skin will feel super tingly & tight from the increased circulation.

The last step after drying off is the candle room. The ambiance & enchanting décor of this room just completes the whole experience. You walk through a candle lined, black chiffon room before you climb into a soft goose down bed to relax for thirty minutes. Soft instrumental music playing in the background with the aroma of exotic oils surrounding you. What a magnificent end to an incredible experience! A bombardment of cold, heat & water that not even the strongest waterproof mascara can withstand, leaving us with a serious case of raccoon eye.

The spa also boasts other luxuries like the Hydro Pool & Gym that can be freely enjoyed after your treatments.

However, as we had worked up quite an appetite during the spa treatment, we eagerly headed for the long anticipated High Tea at Laguna Lounge. By now the weather from earlier had subsided & the sun was out. The view from this venue is absolutely breathtaking to behold. Large wall to wall windows overlook the Arabella Golf Course and Botrivier Lagoon, which stretches all the way to the ocean beyond. Lying back in our luxury leather couches, mouths agape, we could only marvel at this view whilst awaiting our feast.

High tea was served by welcoming waitresses, Sophia & Stacey. A 3-tiered savory & sweet culinary experience that will more than tickle your senses, robbing you of any last scrap of will to ever leave this magical place.

Clickable PICTURES FROM THE DAY

Louise Landsberg and Madelief
High Tea
Stacey & Sophia
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