Make yourself feel a whole lot better, without the hair shirt


Make yourself feel a whole lot better, without the hair shirt

Health is taken seriously at Santé Wellness Retreat & Spa, without the deprivation

Nokubonga Thusi

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 (organic) wine in between yoga sessions and spa treatments? I certainly would, which is why I was 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 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. The brainchild of Graham and Ingrid Hindle, Santé is a holistic haven for the stressed-out 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 approach to nutrition at Santé, (under executive chef Terrence Ford) entails ingredients taken from 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 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.

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