How dreadful is the title of this blog post? Sometimes they have to be a little - ahem – un-snappy, so as to be best picked up by search engines. Sorry about that…
A little while back I was introduced to Sam, the tres divine manager of the Arabella spa at the Westin Grand, who kindly invited me to experience an African Balance treatment. It involves an uber-relaxing hot stone massage followed by a ‘balancing facial’ using Africology products.
Love Africology's pretty apocathery-style bottles.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the brand, they’re a homegrown spa range that recently won big at the Fairlady Best of Beauty awards. Just about all their products make use of four key ingredients; nourishing marula oil, hydrating African potato, soothing aloe vera and antioxidant-rich rooibos.
Upon walking into the spa I was struck by how big and spacious it is. It’s got that whole natural minimalistic vibe going on, but doesn’t feel clinical or cold. There’s lots of stone flooring, but they use underfloor heating, so even though it was a cold, rainy day, I felt perma-snug the whole time I was there.
Those li'l bottles on the bar are Ligne St. Barth products, another luxe brand used by the spa.
Also, being on the 19th floor of the hotel means they’ve got a killer city view.
The view from the changing rooms. Lekker...
I was also impressed by the super-friendly, warm staff. Everyone who works at the Westin wears a badge and beneath their name is a little line that lists their passion. (My lovely therapist Linda’s passion was dancing.)
Hey Linda, you've got magic hands babe!
After a quick assesment of my skin (as it turns out, I had superficial dehydration lines from boozing it up at events four night’s a week), Linda kicked the treatment off with the massage. Being a cold, winter-y type of day, the hot stones went down a treat and I liked that instead of just going through the motions of a ’routine’, she found and focused on the perma-knots between my shoulder blades; the result of too much hunching over my laptop in bed.
Once I flipped over to experience the facial, I thought the best part of my li’l treatment was over (I’m big into massages and that was a seriyas goodie), but it was actually still to come; as it turns out, an Africology facial kicks ass! A multi-layered affair, it consists of a good cleanse, tone, gentle exfoliation, serum massage, hydrating mask and moisturiser application. For me, however, the best bit was the awesome head massage you get while waiting for the mask to work it’s magic.
Happy as a clam in my Africology Anti-oxidant Hydrating masque, R340. It was a runner up in Fairlady's Best of Beauty.
As for the products used, they were all fabulously sensual, but I was most taken with the Exfoliating Cream, R270. Its doesn’t have the very gritty texture I find most effective in facial exfoliators, but it smelled incredible – like peanut butter and frangipani. (For the record it doesn’t contain either of these ingredients, that’s just what my nose picked out. Tres yum!)
If you’ve had a rough month and feel like you need to take some time out for a serious pamper session, I don’t think you can go wrong with a Arabella signature treatment. When I arrived, had I worn a name badge it would’ve told you my
passion obsession was ‘stressing about deadlines/clenching my jaw/popping muscle relaxants like Smarties’, but now it could easily say ’floating in a coma of bliss on the back of a pink unicorn under a fountain of rainbow coloured champers…’
Afterwards, my skin had that beautiful post-spa session glow, but didn’t feel greasy or awash with a zillion trillion layers of oil. Usually, without make-up, my colourless li’l face inspires people to ask me if I’m feeling ‘ill’ or ‘faint’. However, to Linda’s credit, I had a trio of German dudes who were down for a Porsche convention flirt with me in the lift. Who cares if they were bald as coots/rocking clip in dentures/two steps away from the grave… Had I been a gold digging slet (or perhaps blind), I might’ve gotten to cruise off into a Camps Bay sunset in a Carrera GT.
Thank you Sam, this was the most fabulous mid-week treat. Your spa’s a veritable sanctuary and you were sooo right about Africology being awesome. I also love that it’s proudly South African and locally produced so its not likely to break the bank.