Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Pinotage at Paternoster

It is widely believed that adventure starts outside of your comfort zone.  When a friend offered me a "beauty treatment" at one of South Africa's top spas at Paternoster I knew there were some sort of adventure on the menu. First of all let's not get excited about  the "beauty" part in my case, that ship has sailed and let us not get too technical on the definition of "adventure" because any kind of treatment aimed at improving my looks or well-being is outside of my comfort zone. The spa's brochure however states that these are "soothing therapies to guide your soul on a journey of profound peace within a renewed sense of gratitude".  Now that I can relate to, a "journey of profound peace". I was still two minded about the facial however. The body massage was enough motivation to get me on my motorbike and head towards Paternoster on a chilly 4degC morning. After all, it was at the spa that had recently received the huge accolade of the 2016 World Luxury Spa Award! They are also part of the Healing Earth brand which is a market leader in holistic African beauty and wellness care. I was already convinced that I was in for a treat.

Most of my friend's immediate reaction to this would be "Hypocrite!". They all know I still raise my eyebrows instead of pluck them when I hear the word "metro-sexual'. Secondly they also know that I believe the only natural substance on this planet that can cure anything from cracked heals to broken hearts and ultimately depression is the blue saltwater that surrounds our beautiful continent. But let's face it, the worse thing for your skin is probably prolonged exposure to a sun and sea water mixture. To prove that theory I can present my own evidence. When it comes to facials and exfoliation my routine stops at washing my face with some price-reduced soap that I conveniently buy in six packs from a well-know retail outlet. But don't ditch my natural salt therapy theory just yet because I see that there is also a Salt Therapy Room where you can "alleviate all stress by adding salt...". I was there for more than just a dip in the salt.

I have to be honest I am not familiar with the 'ins and outs' of spas. When I read through the menu I realized that making a choice could be a more difficult task than choosing a name for your first born. Fortunately that decision was already made for me and I was booked for a "Healing Full Body Massage". I was kindly asked by my lovely therapist if I wanted to "uplift, de-stress or detox?" After she noticed the vague look in my eyes she thankfully narrowed it down to "detox or just relax?"  To me detox is associated with the start of a new lifestyle and subsequently sticking to a healthier diet. After 120 kilometers on a motorbike in temperatures that dropped to near freezing point the 'just relax' option sounded brilliant and I was pleasantly surprised to find the massage bed already heated up.  I wasn't exactly sure what the difference was between the options, but I was yet again gently guided to the answer. Different types of oil is used for different types of massages, and for the relaxing massage the oil that she will be using contains Pinotage. It is also referred to as the "Anti-Ageing Vino Therapy". I already know what you are thinking when you hear "vino therapy" right, but I still had to drive home so I stayed with the "Pinotage-in-the-oil" version which had a similar effect on muscle relaxation but without the other unpleasant side-effects of alcohol. 

I never checked my watch because I din't want to massage to end, but after a relaxing 90 minutes or so it was time for the "High Performance Facial Therapy". Here I was completely out of my depth and slightly uncomfortable but I eventually surrendered to the soothing hands of my therapist.  I felt and smelled different kinds of lotion being applied to my face and gently being removed.  The closest I ever come to rubbing these amounts of lotion on my face is when I apply sunblock before a surf session... and only if I remember to do so. I was told that this was a "unique anti-ageing tri-enzyme/peptide technology that enriches the skin, healing damaged tissue and effectively decreasing ageing".  I was convinced that I arrived ten years too late, but according to my therapist this treatment can actually heal damaged skin and reverse the ageing process. I am not sure if there is any remedy on the market yet for my severe case of sun burnt skin, but I have to admit that I had a different tingling feeling after the treatment and felt quite rejuvenated.  I am sure that more skin therapies on a regular basis might just reverse the clock on a ticking time bomb.

Today I've had an introduction to metro-sexuality, but I am not converted just yet. I will however not be telling the truth if I do not admit that I had a wonderful 'day-at-the-spa' experience.  Not only is this spa part of the the 5-star boutique Abalone House Hotel with its wonderful restaurant and view, but the staff is equally friendly and helpful. When I look at the variety of natural products and how professionally they were displayed and utilized, I am sure anyone can get used to this kind of lifestyle. But more importantly I can see how one can benefit from these treatments and allow your soul to be guided on a journey of profound peace.  Maybe an adventure does not have to be outside of your comfort zone because here at the Abalone House and Spa one can really try out new experiences in a very comfortable environment. Life is short and you don't have to ride a motorbike to have an adventure, you can just head down to the Healing Earth Spa at Paternoster in your own preferred mode of transport and just ask for Pinotage...

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