Kulani Nkuna
3 minute read
20 Sep 2013
6:00 am

The Santé clause

Kulani Nkuna

The Santé Hotel and Spa is tranquility personified. Aside from its picturesque location in the Franschhoek valley, flanked by the Simonsberg mountains, a large part of the appeal of the space is that it is part of a 160 hectare working wine farm with active vineyards.

The farm is vast and expansive and in many ways spending time there is nature’s way of forcefully refreshing the mind, body and soul. Although rather grand, the hotel only occupies a small space compared to the natural attractions.

The lush green lawns, which build up to a hill of sorts which looks down on a nearby dam, encourages guests to spend more time outdoors rather than inside the hotel. Visiting at this time of year is ideal for those who are fond of taking walks or simply savouring the fresh country air.


If the prevailing cool breeze fails to relax you, the hotel uses various methods of their own to achieve the same goal at the Bakwena Deluxe Spa, attached to the Santé premises. The philosophy behind this part of the hotel is, “a fresh start to a healthier, more joyful way of living”.

It is a restful and restorative space with options tailored for an individual’s personality whether you want to relax and unwind in peace and privacy or are looking to try a little tenderness ala Otis Redding, the boutique hotel offers great pampering.

Santé translated means “health”, and this simple idea is carried out through every aspect of the guest experience, from the décor of the luxurious and spacious rooms, through to the rejuvenating spa treatments and the attention to detail. For example the high ceilings and wide spaces in the hotel resonate with the calmness outside and this philosophy extends to the rooms as well.



They’re big and open, and it’s possible for a guest to end their stay without having explored every nook and cranny they have to offer. Depending on the direction a room is facing, the balconies of some of the rooms offer breathtaking views of the surrounding vistas and are ideal for sundowners or as spaces in which to enjoy a good book.

Santé has established itself as a wedding venue as well and it certainly does not take an event planner to imagine white marquees and floral adornments out on the lawn or the central square, surrounded by the rooms.

The hotel staff make the place feel like an extension of your home. Perhaps it is the small town setting, but a return to the facilities after a day spent exploring Paarl or Stellenbosch feels like a return home. The minimalist decor has a lot to do with its charm. The sitting area at the bar is arranged in the manner of a suburban living room, further entrenching the notion of a home away from home.

Conference facilities are also on site. Combining business and pleasure could be tricky if you want to wind down, but business ideas will likely flourish easily in a setting devoid of traffic and city smells and noises. The modus operandi of visiting suits to the premises is to work hard during the day and savour the fruits of their labour at night with a boozy dinner capped off with a game of pool before retiring to bed.

Dining facilities include the resort’s flagship restaurant, Debut, which offers a gourmet menu that combines international trends with local flavours.



The chicken and mushroom pie is beautifully presented and tastes divine. First time visitors should try it out before the end of their stay. The spa offers a broad range of treatments, including the interesting Dr. Fish Spa Therapy treatment, which uses so-called doctor fish (a type of carp) to gently exfoliate skin. This treatment is not for the ticklish having fish rubbing against your feet is not for everyone.