We all know that Knysna is jaw-droppingly gorgeous. But driving up to Simola Spa which is based at the Simola Golf and Country Estate is just an astounding experience. Approaching from either George or Knysna town side, turn into Old Cape Road (Ou Kaapse Weg). The road winds leisurely past the forests of Knysna Heights and Eastford Private Nature Reserve, before arriving at what feels like the top of the world.
Ilse Blume, a qualified therapist based in Knysna, popped in to review the Spa for AboutSpas. She spent three hours of total bliss enjoying their “Get ready for summer” package.
First impressions are lasting and Ilze reports that “Immediately on entering the Spa doors I was welcomed by the most divine smells, beautiful music and lovely warm temperature of the room. A warm and friendly welcome by the receptionist, Tamara Best, made me feel at home and soon I was in my fluffy bathrobe and slippers, on the way to the Still Room where Tamara collected me and took me to the Rasul room where my treatments would start.”
The Rasul treatment is one of the 450 sqm Simola Spa’s signature treatments and entails a combination of exfoliation, steam and mud application. Rasul Spa treatments are based on ancient rituals used by sultans in their harems. Way back when medicinal mud from the Greek Isle of Limnos originally was used called “terra sealilata.” Nowadays the muds used in the ritual come from all over the world.
A Rasul treatment cleanses your body from the inside out and rids your skin of all kinds of impurities in the process. The heat allows your body to absorb moisturising minerals leaving your skin soft, and you feeling relaxed. The 45-minute sensory experience which starts with a peppermint infused exfoliator, ends with steaming and a gentle rain rinsing the mud from your body. This relaxes and prepares your body for the massage to follow – the muscles are warm and more receptive to healing.
The candle-lit room with soft background music was swapped for the Still Room once more, and a lunch order was taken which would be ready after the massage. “While I waited for my therapist, I took a swim in the heated swimming pool enjoying the beautiful view from the huge window in front of the pool, overlooking the fantastic valley,” Ilse continues.
The 22m heated pool deserves special mention as I am sure this is one of the many reasons Simola Spa was awarded the Best Hotel Spa in South Africa 2016 by Les Nouvelles Esthetique Spa Awards. The infinity pool melts into indigenous vegetation and further afield the Knysna views stretch over the lagoon onto the Knysna Heads. The pool room is tastefully decorated in gentle blues and comfy loungers are perfectly positioned to take in the beautiful view.
The other reason for Simola Spa’s success is surely the recent intervention of Corli Schoeman. Under the expertise of Corli Schoeman of Niche Spa Consulting and Chrizilda van Huyssteen (Spa manager) the Spas has upped its standards tremendously. Our reviewer worked at this very same Spa many moons ago and was very impressed by the improvements which she found this time around.
“My beautifully presented therapist, Elizma, introduced me to the treatment room, where music was playing softly in the background, the room was at a perfect temperature and lovely smells and soft candle light awaited me.” The treatment started with pressure points, warm mitts to wipe her feet and a slow inhalation of aromatherapy oils for relaxation. A 45min Back neck and shoulder massage followed with Elizma checking on the massage pressure at regular intervals.
Simola Signature Massage is the Outeniqua Rust– a slow, deep massage to settle you into Knysna’s pace, described by Corli Schoeman as a “top-to-toe indulgence perfected”. Being on a golf estate, golfers are catered for with the Deep Tissue Golfer Swedish Hot Stone Massage – a 60 minutes massage with slower movement, paired with deeper pressure; concentrating on areas of tension and pain.
“The summer-ready package includes a foot treatment and liquid was applied to my feet to soften the skin. While we were waiting for the foot treatment to work its magic, my therapist did the most divine head and shoulder massage on me. The treatment was so relaxing that I dozed off even during the skin removal and feet massage!”
With dainty feet like a fairy, Ilse went back to the Still Room where her complimentary glass of bubbles and chilly chicken wrap waited for lunch. Everything on the plate was beautifully presented and the food was absolutely divine. She concluded her day with another swim in the gorgeous pool of which she just couldn’t get enough of, and then reluctant to leave the beautiful Simola Spa, she stretched the day longer with a frothing cappuccino.
Simola Spas’ holistic focus is on balancing body, mind and spirit. They understand that by relieving stress, through the use of massage, one is able to focus – leaving you relaxed and energised to enjoy life and all the gifts it has to offer. Since Spa is weather proof, something which one has to keep in mind in coastal towns, this experience comes highly recommended whether on holiday in the Knysna area or even if you are a resident of this beautiful part of our country.
Guest Spa review by Ilze Blume | With thanks to Corli Schoeman for making the arrangements.