In an effort to avoid buying birthday cake for my work colleagues, I took leave on my birthday (just kidding, they’re still getting cake!). Anyway, with a whole day of leave to indulge myself, I checked out Groupon and WikiDeals for any specials in a Cape Town spa. Indulgence without the price tag – just the way I like it!
I bought a spa package at the Avara Wellness Spa, situated in Century City. They always have fab looking packages but they’re only ever valid during the work week. They also boast an indoor heated pool, jacuzzi and steam room. I called and made an appointment.
I received an email that confirmed my appointment and it included a long list of what is considered appropriate swimwear. My heart dropped wondering if I was suddenly in the burkini-banning south of France. Relieved, I found that burkinis are considered appropriate. I don’t wear a burkini but I like to know that everyone is treated with the respect and dignity that they deserve. Except for men wearing shiny boxer shorts in a pool (evidenced by my much-needed petition to Goudini Spa circa 2003).
On the day
My special day arrived and I was running a bit late. I wanted to arrive earlier than my appointment in order to indulge in all their facilities. I arrived 25 minutes prior to my appointment. I liked the modern look of the spa and was initially impressed with the pool.
The receptionist asked me to fill in the register. Since we had to write down our date of birth, I noticed that another birthday girl had come in just before me. I said, “oh look, someone else is celebrating her birthday today”. The disinterested receptionist looked at me and flashed a quick, fake smile. Okay, then….
I asked if I could get undressed and quickly try out the facilities. The receptionist said that there was no point as my treatment started in 25 minutes. I know a lot of spas require that you fill out a form beforehand, asking about where they want the therapist to concentrate on and if you have allergies, etc. I figured this was the reason she dissuaded me. Nope. I got a tiny chai tea and waited until the time of my appointment to be shown to the changing room / bathroom.
The changing room was very basic. A few lockers, a toilet and a shower. I quickly undressed and waited for the masseuse to get me.
The masseuse led me to the treatment room which looked very relaxing – there was soothing music, candles, and the room dimly lit. I really loved that the massage chair was heated as I always tend to get cold.
The masseuse asked whether there was any particular area I would like her to concentrate on. I remembered that I injured my knee. She was very gentle and careful with the troublesome knee.
As she was massaging my legs, the massage bed started creaking! I didn’t know whether to stop and ask for a different room but I decided to leave it. The next interruption was due to the paper-thin walls at Avara. I had to listen to the receptionist answer the phone throughout my 75-minute massage. And they get loads of phone calls!
I chose Avara because of their facilities. I wasn’t shown the sauna and steam room but I was determined to try the pool and jacuzzi. Only to find – they were both cool. To be fair, they seemed to have contractors looking at the jacuzzi so maybe it was being serviced. It was a cold day so I decided to skip it.
To top it all off, I didn’t get my promised spa snack promised in my voucher either. I doubt I’ll go back to Avara for a massage. I think it could be nice on a warm day, maybe for a different type of treatment.
Have you been there? Would you recommend it? Was I just there on a bad day? Let us know in the comments.
Looking for a spa in Cape Town? Why not check out the list of our favourites here?