Ginkgo Spa

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January 23, 2007

                                     GINKGO SPA AT ARNISTON HOTEL

What a treat is was being invited to spend the day in the Arniston Ginkgo Spa, and to bring a partner. We
were invited to go at the busiest time, over a weekend, and gladly accepted the night in the hotel as well.
What luxury.

Its not hard to get to Arniston, one of the best kept secrets on the Cape Eastern coast. Its only 225 km from
Cape Town via Sir Lowry’s pass and Caledon. Once through the town and past the huge grain silos one is
off to Napier and Bredasdorp before reaching Arniston on the coast.

The Hotel is like a large, white cruise ship riding along the shore at Arniston. The Ginkgo Spa, which only
recently opened there, is inside, on the second floor. It is large, spacious and filled with flowers, fresh fruit
and lily paintings. Quite apart from the lovely therapists who abound to administer your treatments and take
you through the hot Rasul Arabic steam and rain regime while you’re covered in aromatic rainbow coloured

‘The Rasul ritual is an ancient Arabian cleansing treatment,’ explained Noelene, the manager of the spa and
herself a senior therapist. It takes advantage of this thousand yr old wisdom from the Orient and unites the
four fundamental elements of water, fire, earth and air into a special experience for both body and soul.

Once in the preparation chamber, where the therapist consults with you to choose the right colour of
aromatic mud for your needs, the traditional Arabian cleansing ritual begins with a shower. Then you cocoon
your entire body and face with the various muds. These gently exfoliate the skin, drawing out impurities and
infusing rich nutrients to restore and revive your lack-lustre, stressed-out self.

After you’re thoroughly covered, the treatment begins. This is a cycle of steam at various heats ending with a
soothing gentle summer rain which falls from the ceiling, hitherto sparkling with tiny starry lights which
change colour as the treatment progresses. You, in the meantime, are reclining on built-in Cleopatra shelves
in this indigo blue chamber. When the heat gets too much, you go for your hand-shower to drench yourself in
soothing, cooling water.
After that it’s back to the showers to rinse off all the mud, and then you’re into your other treatments. We
chose massages and my partner was so relaxed that he snored the whole way through it. I, meanwhile,
enjoyed the Elixir full body massage which started with tender Reflexology to the feet and then progressed to
the rest of the body, ending with a rest in the tranquil twin room before enjoying the full facial treatment.

The Arniston Hotel too, was a treat. Right on the shoreline, the hotel is four star, casual luxury. We were
welcomed by manager, Derek Drew, an amazing, smiling man who seems to be on duty 24 hours. He’s not
too proud to wait on tables himself either, and to lend a hand wherever he spots that the staff might be under
strain from the loaded hotel and the guests needs. He’s been at the hotel for seven years and feels that the
addition of the Ginkgo Spa has really added value for the guests who visit the Hotel, and to Arniston village
and the tourism effort in the area.

For our own part, we were enjoying the place so much that we decided to spend an extra night at the hotel
and really take advantage of our newly invigorated, relaxed bodies and minds.

The first thing we did was wait for low tide to visit the tidal cave carved out of the sandstone cliffs about two
km from the Hotel at Waenhuiskrans. This means wagon house cave, so named because its big enough to
turn an oxcart and 16 oxen around inside it when the tide is out. Its completely full of seawater when the tide
is in.

Other things to see and do in Arniston include swimming in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, walking for
miles along the dunes or the beach, cycling, picnicking, surfing, whale watching, golf, micro-lighting, quad
biking, squash and tennis, to mention but a few. You can even do a bit of bird watching if you’re prepared to
drive along the dirt road to Struisbaai and the southernmost tip of Africa. We saw 30 blue cranes grazing in a
harvested wheat field, and two tiny swallows soaring in the breeze. Both thrilling sights.

For us the Arniston Hotel was terrific and our weekend there great, but by far the cherry on the top was the
lovely afternoon we spent being cleansed of our toxins, pampered and spoiled in the luxurious Arniston
Ginkgo Spa.

We’ve already booked our return visit!

Phone: Arniston Spa Hotel: 028 445 9000 and ask for the Spa.

All queries to Tricia Bowring at Life and Soul cc, Bryanston. Phone: 082 422 0742.

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