Cape Town is known for its surf-beaten coastline, adventurous activities and proximity to wine regions like Stellenbosch. After cage diving with great white sharks or hiking up Table Mountain, you’ll need to space to unwind. For relaxing treatments, yoga classes and tranquil infinity pools, stay at one of South Africa‘s finest spa hotels and wellness retreats, bookable on Culture Trip.
In a city as serene and beautiful as Cape Town, you’d think there would hardly be a need for a wellness retreat. But those of you looking for ultimate relaxation will be pleased to know that not only does Cape Town have some of the best spas and wellness centres in the world, but many also integrate some of the Mother City’s natural beauty into their venues. Read on to discover more.
Located within Cape Town’s popular V&A Waterfront, this large, welcoming 329-room property offers panoramic views of the ocean. Work out on your own or with a private personal trainer at the hotel’s fitness centre. The Table Bay Camelot Spa offers a variety of body and skin treatments. The hotel also features a large outdoor pool, and you can sign up for poolside yoga classes, as well as catch the free shuttle service to the city’s major attractions.
This elegant, five-star hotel overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. Inside, the Sapphire Spa offers a variety of relaxing massages, as well as beauty treatments and manicures/pedicures next to the heated indoor pool. Treat yourself to an O Spa signature African shea aroma-therapeutic massage, which features a selection of Africology aromatherapy-infused massage balms. The hotel’s specially designed outdoor relaxation area is a wonderful spot to watch the sunset.
Located in Cape Town’s upscale Sea Point district, this refined, four-star hotel is just a five-minute walk to the beach. The hotel also has a pool, indoor and outdoor hot tubs and a steam room. The G Spa features numerous treatments, including a popular African mud body experience. Glen Boutique also offers a series of outdoor active adventures, including a four-hour hike up Devil’s Peak.
The five-star, glamorous Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel dates back to 1899 and is lovingly referred to as the “Pink Lady” by locals. Ideal for lovers of the outdoors, you could spend hours strolling among the lush gardens, peppered with outdoor art. The property also has two pools, tennis courts and a fitness centre. The well-appointed spa features a plunge pool, a steam bath and a Finnish sauna. After your treatment, unwind in the lovely conservatory and enjoy a regional rooibos tea.
This hotel is located in Constantia Heights, an affluent suburb of Cape Town that is also home to the Constantia wine region. The extensive nine-acre (4ha) property is a 15-minute drive to downtown Cape Town and offers fantastic views of Table Mountain. There is a large spa, a tennis court, two swimming pools, loaner mountain bikes and a salon. Be sure to set time aside to experience the Cellars-Hohenort indulgent high tea.
Set on a verdant wine estate in South Africa’s acclaimed Stellenbosch wine region, this sophisticated property is the perfect spot to combine wine with wellness. The Spa at Delaire Graff features an Afro-Asian inspired spa menu with treatment rooms that overlook the beautiful gardens. There’s also an outdoor terrace with an infinity pool and jacuzzi, as well as a fully equipped fitness centre. Don’t leave without booking a wine tasting of Delaire Graff’s award-winning vintages.
Located in Franschhoek, a South African foodie destination, this elegant, 17-room property offers an intimate stay, complete with excellent cuisine and top wine. The hotel is surrounded by mountains and gardens and is an ideal spot to truly relax in a rural setting. Set in the middle of the vineyards, Leeu Spa highlights treatments with the healing properties of South Africa’s Pinotage grape. There is also an outdoor spa and a fitness centre. A not-to-be-missed interactive wine tasting is included with your stay.
Situated near the base of Table Mountain, this luxe five-star property sits on a private quay in Cape Town’s vibrant V&A Waterfront. The hotel boasts an impressive array of facilities, such as a heated pool, a sauna and steam room, a hair salon, a fitness studio, a barber shop and a spa. The spa has a large menu of treatments, including signature body wraps with revitalising Kalahari Desert salt crystals.
The One&Only consistently hosts Cape’s most elite visitors. As such, you can expect impressive attention to detail throughout your visit. Spa treatments at the One&Only Spa take place on a private island set in the Waterfront’s quiet canals, connected to the hotel by bridges. Inside, you’ll feel a world away from the downtown hubbub. Treatments are provided by ESPA therapists. Feeling jet-lagged? Book the Sleep Ritual, which includes a soothing facial followed by a relaxing head massage using rose quartz crystal.
The Vineyard Hotel in the lush suburb of Newlands is the ideal suburban wellness retreat. The in-house Angsana Spa offers a variety of treatments that draw heavily on Asian influences to provide the ultimate relaxing stay. Start with a dip in the indoor pool – bifold doors open to reveal an adjacent outdoor pool during the summer months. Enjoy a well-deserved tune-up with the Floral Chic signature package; this includes an hour-long massage, nourishing body wrap, floral pouch scrub and a facial. Afterwards, step outside to admire the idyllic gardens, with views of Table Mountain.
In recent years, Babylonstoren has become one of the country’s most-loved wine estates. Many visitors head to this historic farm to wine, dine and walk the serene gardens. But if you’re looking for more, check in to the Garden Spa. Like most elements of the farm, the spa has a clear link to the surrounding landscape: the sauna, hammam, chill room and gym are set within a bamboo forest. Indulge in the private hammam water ritual, followed by lunch and a fresh-squeezed juice from their Juicery. The spa is open to hotel guests and day visitors, though given its popularity, booking is essential.
The Westin Hotel may have a reputation for having a business-centric approach, thanks to its location on the city’s foreshore opposite the Cape Town International Convention Centre, but it still offers one of the city’s best wellness centres. The appropriately named Heavenly Spa is located on the 19th floor of the building, and offers several signature treatments for the whole body. Try the Thalgo 3 Algae Facial, which uses marine algae to rebalance the skin. A swim in the pool is a real must-do; the floor-to-ceiling windows offer panoramic cityscape views.
Majeka House is a five-star boutique hotel in the tranquil suburb of Stellenbosch. It also offers one of the most luxurious spa and wellness centres in the winelands. Inside, you’ll find a hydrotherapy pool with a steam room, sauna and jacuzzi; the roof opens up so you can stare at the stars while swimming. Book the Intonga Amasatchi experience, a fast-paced massage which uses wooden sticks to stretch and soothe tight muscles. Afterwards, order lunch from the hotel to round off a morning of luxurious pampering.
The celebrated Twelve Apostles Hotel, on a serene strip of land close to the cool Atlantic Ocean, also operates one of the city’s most impressive spas. The setting alone is enough to rejuvenate even the most stressed visitors, and it serves as the ultimate companion to one of their tailored treatments. Opt for a massage in the Mountainside Spa Gazebos, overlooking the bay. Hydrotherapy facilities include warm and cold plunge pools, a saltwater flotation tank and rasul chamber, where you apply mud and allow it to work its magic on your skin, whilst you sit inside a steam room.
If you’re looking for a wellness retreat outside the city, then head out to the quaint town of McGregor. The Temenos Retreat & Wellness Centre is an idyllic property where you can relax and unwind fully. They offer a range of treatments, as well as extended retreats that include garden walks, daily yoga and meditation classes. They also offer structured wellness retreats throughout the year that include mindfulness, yoga, inner growth and silent retreats.
Andrew Thompson contributed additional reporting.
These recommendations were updated on June 8, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.