Being a mom is tough. Nobody would dare deny that.
The stress that comes hand in hand with raising well-rounded human beings is incredible. It’s a different kind of stress that is difficult to put into words. And it’s of the utmost importance that this stress is released in some way.
Some moms do yoga while some find their solace at the bottom of a bottle. Others are members of clubs of the book, dinner, or fitness variety. A few — such as yours truly — choose to blog, journal, or scrapbook.
But sometimes the stress gets a little too much and the usual way of coping with it (#bathbombs) just doesn’t cut it any longer and serious measures must be taken. For many, an afternoon at their local spa is the order of the day.
I normally don’t fall into such a category. There are a handful of reasons for this but all of them run along the lines of “but who will watch Arabella?” and “but where will I work such a luxury into our budget?”
Not too long ago I was lucky enough to attend a spafternoon at Mowana Spa. It was a gift from my boss (ahem, other bosses please take note) which meant that it was during the workday AND free.
Today’s blog will detail the experience, what you can expect, and help you decide whether this is worth your time — not to mention your R999.
The ‘Me Time’ Indulge Pamper Journey
Okay, let’s take a look at the nitty-gritty of the package we opted for. The ‘Me Time Indulge’ package consists of welcome drinks, a 45-minute foot and lower leg massage, a 45-minute full-body massage, a high tea, and goodbye drinks.
The pamper journey — their term not mine, I’m not that cringey — starts at 08h30 and finishes at 11h00 OR has a 12h30 start and a 15h30 finish. Upon arrival, you’ll be given a key to your locker which houses your gown and slippers.
During the booking process, you are asked for your sizing requirements and I’m pleased to report that the slippers fit PERFECTLY. This is a real win for people like Daddydaims who struggle to find slippers in their size at the shops.
Once you’ve stripped down and slippered up, you make your way over to your designated table to enjoy a welcome drink.
I can’t say with certainty what the welcome drink was but it tasted like still water with a shot of lime and arrived in a teeny tiny (but oh so Instagrammable!) Mason Jar glass.
Then it was treatment time!
Foot and Lower Leg Massage
We started off with a 45-minute foot and lower leg massage. After a light aloe sanitise, your legs and feet are exfoliated with what felt like some kind of salt scrub. Cue tingling sensations!
In my personal nowhere-near-a-seasoned-massagee opinion, the exfoliation went on for a smidge too long and my skin felt a little raw toward the end. But once your dead skin has been scrubbed away, the massage begins.
The moisturizer used was Baobab scented and felt cold & warm at the same time. As Prudence’s skilled hands worked their way from just above my knee to the spaces between my toes, I felt my stress dissolve.
The only noises were the sounds of birds going about their business, a small creek flowing nearby, and the occasional sigh of contentment from one of my colleagues. It was tranquil.
Unfortunately, about 30 minutes into the massage the restaurant that shares the same ground began some kind of event. The melody of birdsong and flowing water was replaced by whooping ladies and vibrating bass.
As the MC began wooing his guests, the atmosphere of relaxation amongst his unwitting audience across the shrubbery disappeared fairly quickly.
Thankfully, because we were so into it up until that point, our relaxation didn’t disintegrate entirely — we just went from almost asleep to incredibly awake.
First-world problems, am I right?
Full Body Massage
Some words trigger the release of an icy wave of fear while others seem to warm your body from the inside out. Apparently the words “full body massage” spark a deep, deep, deep joy in my heart.
As it turns out, rightfully so.
When I say it felt like we were transported to a different world, I mean it. We walked down the pathway and into our little log-like cabin and were treated to 45 minutes of bliss with a capital ‘B’.
The back of our cabin was not enclosed so instead of a wall of wood we were looking at a wall of blue sky, green leaves, and coppery water.
You are given a choice of having your massage with hot stones or hands only. I recommend having a heaty treaty more than words can express. At first, I was incredibly hesitant as I didn’t fully understand how a hot stone massage worked but with the patient Prudence assuring me that we could stop if I didn’t like it by my side I gave in, and WOW!
Even though I’ve only ever been to one massage prior to this one, I am furious with myself for not insisting that they whip out their stash of hot stones.
It was fantastic.
It felt as though the stress was literally being melted away. Every move that Prudence made felt incredible and intentional. It was like a regular massage (listen to me talking like someone who is a massage-receiving pro) but much more targeted.
The hot stones evoked a feeling I can honestly say I haven’t felt before. It was relaxation on a whole other level. Overall, it was simply fantastic and I cannot recommend it highly enough! Every inch of my body was worked into a state of pure relaxation.
As I mentioned, I’ve had a full body massage before. But that was essentially a neck, back, and leg massage so that’s what I deemed a full body massage to be. Boy, was I wrong. My toes, calves, thighs, chest, neck, back, arms, hands, and head were all individually massaged.
Again the session was a 45-minute one but I genuinely didn’t feel the passing of time and it could have been five minutes or five hours and I wouldn’t have known the difference. It was a phenomenal experience and one that I began looking forward to repeating before I had even exited the building.
Let’s Talk About The Treats
If you were under the impression that lying down and doing absolutely nothing doesn’t work up an appetite, you’d be wrong.
Even though my heart felt like it broke a little when the end of the full body massage was announced by the gentle tinkling of a bell, the moment the scent of freshly baked petit fours hit my nose I soon forgot my heartbreak.
I was worried that the High Tea wouldn’t be filling enough but thankfully my worries were misplaced. A long table was brimming with a well-balanced mixture of savoury and sweet snacks as well as an assortment of fresh fruit to nibble on.
Now I’m not going to lie to you. I was firmly in full-on festive mode and so I only indulged in the sweet treats on offer. However, I can confirm that there was a spinach and feta muffin, samosas, and mini sausage roll along with another savoury option.
In terms of desserts, we had a caramel cake, a chocolate cake, chocolate brownies, and a little meringue pie for us to sink our sweet teeth into.
As one plate was finished another took its place instantly so there was no fear of running out which is always a good thing.
Our drink options were limited to hot and cold so we all enjoyed passion fruit lemonades followed by cups of tea. The drinks were also bottomless which was so refreshing — in more ways than one.
A Mowana Moment
All we knew about the end of our pamper journey was that it would end with a “treat”. The only information we were given was that there would be a departure beverage and a treat. I kinda wish I could have seen our faces when our surprise was revealed.
Picture this: a quiet room filled with recently pampered ladies (plus the lone guys at our table) nibbling on delicate pastries while they quietly chat away with their tablemates.
All of a sudden the chatter is interrupted by the banging of drums and loud singing fills the air! Revealing our proper we-belong-at-Spur natures we looked around joyously for the birthday girl for a few minutes before realising what was going on.
The African drums were the perfect reminder that we were at an African spa and the beautiful songs sung by the talented singers-slash-masseuses really got our hearts pumping, feet tapping, and mouths smiling for sure.
The atmosphere went from post-massage sleepy serenity to amped-up adrenaline-inducing. I made a joke that the intent behind this was to wake us up and make us alert enough for the drive home but I genuinely do think that’s the reason why.
I Don’t Want to Mow-n, But…
Nothing is perfect, not even the inarguably beautiful Mowana Spa. In my humble opinion, there are two areas that could do with improvement. If you know me, you know that I like to keep my reviews balanced.
The first is the gowns: soft, luxurious, and HEAVY AS HECK. While definitely comfortable, I’d say that these gowns were not designed with a Johannesburg Summer’s day in mind.
Everyone I saw around me was rocking a visible sheen and rosy cheek look. And not a ‘fresh-faced flushed blush’ look but a ‘deep in the throes of menopause look’.
The second factor that I feel needs a little work lies in the scheduling of events at the restaurant on the same grounds while a treatment is in process.
It was an instant mood dampener and in some way it also caused my FOMO to flare up… Nobody likes hearing the roaring of a party that they weren’t invited to.
To Sum Up
Daddydaims and I felt like we floated home, and for a few days, every conversation between us made mention of how much lighter we felt or how great our bodies felt after the initial toxin release.
Is it worth the R999 per person? Honestly, I would say that it is worth every penny IF you have the extra coin to spend. But if you were to ask Daddydaims you would get a different answer so it really does come down to you and how much you value a (temporary) state of pure relaxation.
In my opinion, it was a wonderful experience that I recommend every mom go for at least once. Or twice. Or a million times.