If there’s a special occasion on the horizon, I immediately think of the luxurious and high end, 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa. Such a day was coming up in December. Knowing how crazy the silly season can get, I decided to book a treatment in advance. I emailed the spa about my reservation request and they promptly responded that they had availability for a couples massage on the exact day and time I chose. I selected the Mountain Serenade which is described below (as per their treatment brochure on their website)
“Lose yourself in the breathtaking views of the Twelve Apostles Mountain Range and the Atlantic Ocean as you and your partner are relaxed and then revitalised in our outdoor Spa Mountain Gazebos with a choice of a 90 minute ‘his or hers’ Hot Stone or Aromatherapy Massage. The package includes oysters, strawberries dipped in chocolate and sparkling wine to be enjoyed in The Spa. This treatment is best enjoyed during a summer sunset – weather permitting” 
Doesn’t that sound lovely? I was sold! The total cost at the time of my booking was R 1, 650 per person (R 3, 300 in total). The Spa sent me a confirmation letter once I paid the 50% deposit (R 1, 650).
We arrived 20 minutes before our scheduled appointment and were checked in at the front desk. We were escorted to our respective change rooms and assigned lockers. The change rooms were clean and the robes were comfortable.
After we changed into the disposable underwear, cotton robe and slippers provided, we were seated in the waiting area. We completed the standard health forms before we received our treatment.
The Mountain Serenade Treatment
Our therapists collected us and we walked from the spa building outside to the “spa mountain gazebos.” The walk to the gazebos is a bit tricky with spa slippers on! Seriously, I almost twisted my ankle twice walking up and down the pathway. I’d suggest that the spa provide slippers with rubber grips for the walk as I feel it’s an accident waiting to happen.
Entering the gazebo, I wasn’t that impressed. The gazebo was a glass box that looked out into really tall bushes. There were no breathtaking views as described in the brochure. The therapist advised that there will be no background music played because we were meant to enjoy the sound of the ocean. Okay, firstly, the ocean is really far away and secondly, the road noise is much more prominent! I would suggest that they give guests the option of background music.
The massage itself was really good and I enjoyed it thoroughly. However, I realised that I didn’t really enjoy the “outdoor” massage room – I feel the indoor spa rooms are better. Not only is it cheaper, you get to avoid walking the terrible path and listening to the “relaxing” sound of cars driving by!
After the 90 minutes (I think it was 90 minutes) massage we were taken back to the spa building. We walked down the accident prone pathway and came across a small snake! Yes, a snake! The therapist kind of freaked out, shame.
We decided to enjoy the warm plunge pools inside the spa and snack on a few items in the chill area. The snacks included fruit, dried mango, water, juice and nuts. We had to inquire about our oysters, strawberries and whether we could substitute the champagne for a non-alcoholic beverage.
After waiting quite some time, we were given the chocolate-covered strawberries and oysters. The strawberries were nice and fresh but the oysters were not – all I can say is – GROSS! I had one and almost choked! We didn’t receive any beverages and when I asked them, they seemed confused. I really didn’t like that I had to ask every time. Eventually, I just gave up.
I was so annoyed with the service at the spa that I just decided to leave. After getting dressed and checking out, the lady at the front desk advised that I needed to pay the balance. She said that R 2, 150 was due. I was a bit taken back by this and said I definitely paid the deposit and only R 1, 650 was due.
She said that I had to pay peak rates which were R 1, 900 each! I then argued and said that the confirmation I received from the spa quoted the experience at R 1,650 per person. A “manager” came over and said that they received new prices the day before (from head office) and they will still honour the old price. After paying my balance of R 1, 650 for an overpriced massage, we left.
….I was really disappointed as I was really looking forward to going to the 12 Apostles’ Spa. Based on our latest experience, I believe that this place has lost its appeal and I would only go back for a basic massage (no point in all the frills).
Note: spa guests are not allowed to use the hotel’s outdoor pool. Those are reserved for hotel guests only.