Leeu Estates, Leeu Collection’s flagship property that opened last month (15 June) in the Cape Winelands’ Franschhoek Valley, is home to the first ilā spa in southern Africa. Set among tranquil vineyards with panoramic views of the majestic valley, Leeu Spa offers a wellness sanctuary just moments away from the hustle and bustle of South Africa’s gourmet capital.
Leeu Spa, with its contemporary floor-to-ceiling glass windows and timber frame designed by celebrated Spanish architect Tomeu Esteva of Esteva i Esteva Arquitectura, was conceived as the physical and emotional heart of Leeu Estates. Its location, shape and building materials are intended to create a direct link with the dramatic natural setting.
Once guests have been welcomed at the Spa reception, they can take one of two routes that both create a sensory experience imbuing visitors with an immediate feeling of wellbeing.
The first takes guests on an enchanting journey down a gently descending staircase between an extended bamboo courtyard and beautiful stone walls. At the bottom lies the 15-metre infinity swimming pool with its comfortable loungers, surrounded by vines, where guests can soak up the South African sunshine and views of vineyards, valley and mountains. Beyond the pool terraces, luxuriously appointed covered seating serves as the resort’s relaxation area. A striking fireplace is all that stands between the guests and the magnificent views of the valley.
The second takes guests to the hydrotherapy area, with separate changing and steam rooms for male and female guests, and a plunge pool overlooking a tranquil lily pond. It is here that all three treatment rooms, including one double suite, and a hair salon, plus nail bar, are also located.
In keeping with the ilā philosophy, Leeu Spa offers authentic massages and holistic treatments by expert therapists who have been recruited specifically for their “healing” hands. The therapists deliver restorative treatments inspired by centuries-old Asian traditions using wild-harvested organic ingredients from remote, untainted regions of the world such as the Amazon rainforest and the Himalayas that harness their own natural healing energy, as well as indigenous plants with beneficial qualities.
Leeu Spa’s two signature treatments are The Summer Tree of Life Journey and The Warming Winter Vine, Earth & Stone Journey, both incorporating local products natural to South Africa and some taken from the Leeu Estates grounds. Both treatments last 90 minutes and cost ZAR 1500 (approx £75).
The Summer Journey starts with the cleansing aroma of Pala Santo – the South American sacred wood. Warm marula and baobab oil, delicately fragranced with buchu and rose geranium essential oils, is then drizzled onto sacred points of the back to open meridians. This is followed by a rooibos salt scrub and a facial incorporating pomegranate, grapeseed and honey. The Winter Journey incorporates a crushed grapeseed with marula and baobab full body scrub (Vine), a black mud pack infused with rosemary and lemon thyme from the hotel’s gardens (Earth) and then a Leeu Estates river stone and hot poultice massage (Stone).
For those who prefer physical activities to pampering sessions, there is a spacious gym, furnished with the latest equipment, offering framed views of the majestic mountains. A second fitness space, made of stone, encourages dialogue with nature as it is a flexible building with no boundaries – an extension of the resort out into the vines. It is here that personal training and yoga instruction can take place. Outside the Leeu Spa walls, walkers, joggers and cyclists can take to the extensive network of trails that crisscross the rolling estate, hilly mountain slopes and banks of the river if they prefer to exercise in the open air.
Leeu Spa is open seven days per week from 10am to 7pm, with the gym open slightly longer from 7am to 7pm.
Leeu Estates rates start from ZAR 7300 (approx £335) in the low season (15 June to 31 August) and from ZAR 9000 (approx £415) in the high season (1 September to 30 April), for two people sharing a Classic Room. Rates include:
- Breakfast • Nespresso machine and mini bar in room • Unlimited Internet access • All national phone calls • Complimentary tasting of Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines at Leeu Estates per guest per stay • Complimentary scheduled transfers to sister property • 14 per cent VAT
Leeu Estates does not accept children under the age of six years.