The kind of invite I love receiving has the word ‘Massage’ on it. So when I received a gift voucher from Hands on Retreat in Johannesburg, for the ‘Spa treatment of my choice’, I was delighted.
I arrived, parked my car, and was ushered in to reception. BAD MISTAKE. Next door to reception is the restaurant. The aroma of freshly baked chocolate cake was too much for me. My stomach was rumbling as I hadn’t yet eaten breakfast, and the smell of freshly ground coffee beans was overwhelming.
I was tempted to eat first, but my therapist gently steered me towards my massage room.
‘Afterwards’, she suggested gently.
She was right, of course. It is always a good idea to eat or drink after a treatment, and not before.
I was given a robe and then lay down in my little chalet (there are lots of little chalet / spa rooms dotted around the park- like forest atmosphere of the garden), and Promise worked her magic.
Promise was good. She picked up early on that I had back pain, and made a few helpful suggestions. She picked up on my skin type (hypo-allergic) and knew exactly what products to use. She picked up after half an hour that I was semi-comatose, and she quietly rubbed and kneaded me, careful not to intrude on my slumber.
Because I’m greedy, I followed up with a manicure and pedicure. How beautiful, having my hands and feet treated, while listening to the gurgling of the stream below and watching the wind blow through the giant oak trees.
Hands on Retreat really is a retreat. It’s an amazing place, in the suburb of Craighall, Johannesburg. It’s hard to believe that busy Jan Smuts Avenue is just one block away. Hands on is close to many of the Johannesburg Guest Houses, and your guesthouse owner will happily make an appointment for you.
It’s a good idea to book in advance. The place was rocking! The restaurant was full, and it seems like a popular venue for ‘ladies who lunch’. Although the emphasis is on health (bar the Bar One chocolate cake), the food is delicious, fresh and substantial. I know, because I didn’t just stop at the chocolate cake!
Hands on Retreat also offer ‘mobile treatments’ and have good deals going with the nearby Corporates, offering in-house back and neck massages and treatments. They’re good. And gorgeous. And really well priced. Book. Now!
Hands On Retreat. www.handonretreat.co.za Tel: (011) 326 0066