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Cape Town Charm

by Sandra Ramani

When it opened in 1899, Cape Town’s The Mount Nelson Hotel was the first in South Africa to offer hot and cold running water—a distinction that earned it the high praise of being “even better than its London counterparts.” More than 100 years and many famous guests later, the iconic pink-hued hotel is still setting the bar in Capetonian hospitality, from its legendary afternoon tea service and innovative Planet Restaurant (the only place in town with a gourmet vegan tasting menu) to its elegant Librisa Spa, which opened in 2008.

This spacious facility, in three converted late-Victorian buildings, features a picturesque relaxation area and eight treatment rooms, many with copper soaking tubs. Facials and body treatments incorporate products from Australian natural line Sodashi and South Africa’s own Africology, a fast-growing brand that incorporates native ingredients such as rooibos, marula nut oil, shea butter and African potato. Standout services include facials with nourishing rose oil, decadent shea butter massages and clay body wraps infused with either rooibos and lavender (good for eczema or inflamed skin) or detoxifying coffee and mint. Inspired by a traditional negativity-clearing blessing service, the signature Intonga Amasatchi is a deep massage in which handcrafted wooden sticks are used to gently stretch muscles and encourage toxin release. mountnelson.co.za

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