There’s a Luxury Underground Spa Hidden in Cape Town: Come with Us to The Grotto

There’s a Luxury Underground Spa Hidden in Cape Town: Come with Us to The Grotto

With the rise of wellness design, luxury spas are taking their aesthetics to a whole new — and utterly relaxing — level in an effort to stand out amongst the crowd. Cape Town is awash with luxury hotel spas, so The Grotto at The Capital 15 on Orange had a herculean task when distinguishing itself from the rest of the luxury rub and scrub spots in the Mother City.

When it comes to aesthetics, The Grotto Wellness Spa certainly makes a statement; the subterranean wellness centre is unlike anything you’d find in Cape Town. As you descend to the lowest levels underground the hotel, it’s clear that you’re about to experience something extra special. Stepping out of the elevator you find an oasis of peace and tranquility where the stress of city life melts away.

Going underground has never been so glamorous and this urban retreat is the perfect place to escape the city buzz for a few hours without having to leave the city. The Grotto is luxury personified and you’d be hard-pressed to find a more relaxing place anywhere in Cape Town’s CBD.

Inspired by the underground caves (Grotta) in Italy’s volcanic region just west of Florence, The Grotto is an underground haven like no other. Decorated in dark and sumptuous hues, this uniquely luxurious underground spa combines opulence and mindfulness to create a calming and inviting environment.

The mood board is more Tibetan monk catacomb than the modern minimalist spa aesthetic we’re used to, and the design team has fashioned stone and wood finishes into a masterclass of meditative curves complemented by forgiving dimmed lighting. To delve further into the meditative sanctuary mindset, all guests don ultra-soft cotton robes in black and white.

Obsidian Prelude Lounge, The Grotto Wellness Spa.

This is one spa that deserves to call itself groundbreaking. The wildly ambitious subterranean spa is the ideal place to get away from it all for a few hours. The spa features world-class amenities and facilities that set it apart from competitors in the market, ensuring that guests get the ultimate relaxation experience. With eight treatment rooms, isolation sleep pods, a heated pool, a Wim Hof cold plunge pool, a Turkish bath, a sauna and a steam room, The Grotto Spa Bar is the perfect place to disappear from the world.

Your journey starts in the Obsidian Prelude Lounge and Bar; where spa guests can go for a bite to eat or to enjoy a glass of champagne in between treatments. All hand and foot treatments, like manicures and pedicures, take place in the Hand and Foot Oasis adjacent to the Obsidian Lounge. If you’re visiting the spa for body treatments, then you’ll begin your experience relaxing in the Obsidian Lounge while completing the client form your therapist will use to customise your treatments during your visit.

Relaxation lounge, The Grotto Wellness Spa.

From there, already enrobed in your spa gown, you’re ushered through an automatic sliding door, down a ‘star-lit’ passageway into the breathtaking relaxation lounge and thermal cave area. Collapse into a marshmallow-soft sofa bed while you sip on a glass of cucumber-infused water and wait for your treatments to start.

The dimly lit thermal area gives you the feeling of being enveloped by calm and serenity far away from the maddening crowds. Here you can experience the rejuvenating thermal symphony of facilities The Grotto has to offer; a harmonious blend of soothing heat from the Steam Retreat and Sauna Oasis followed by an exhilarating Polar Plunge Pool immersion, before ending in the Reflection Heated Hydrotherapy Pool or Mineral Mist Rasul. You’ll leave this area feeling revitalised and at ease… And your treatments haven’t even started yet.

Relaxation lounge, The Grotto Wellness Spa

The relaxation lounge is also home to The Grotto’s unique Serenity Nests sleep pods — a cocoon of wellness that allows you to tune out the world. These one-of-a-kind ‘business-class’ pods offer the opportunity to embark on a blissful 30-minute journey, cocooned in a cosy covering, for the ultimate in private relaxation.

An introvert’s dream, the dimly lit private pods include a bed-like sofa complete with a twinkling ‘starry night’ sky ceiling. They’re fully enclosed with luxurious drapery to ensure the ultimate in comfort and privacy for guests who want to relax with no disruptions. The pods offer guests the chance to experience an unforgettable journey of mind, body, and soul, guided by the hands of The Grotto’s highly experienced, deeply intuitive therapists.

Serenity Pod, The Grotto Wellness Spa.

When booking a Serenity Pod you can customise your session with two enchanting options: Immerse yourself in a meditation experience or enjoy the healing power of a sound therapy session with a heated eye pillow. With both options, as your senses drift into deep relaxation, you can add a rejuvenating foot massage, melting away tension and leaving you in a state of utter serenity.

The Grotto Spa experience

My relaxing half-day experience at The Grotto Wellness Spa began in a couple’s treatment room with a restorative full-body exfoliation treatment. For this treatment, my therapist used gentle yet invigorating techniques to help eliminate dull, lifeless skin cells and stimulate the skin. The treatment concluded with an in-room shower to wash off the scrub and help induce deep calm and relaxation before the massage.

Climbing back onto the massage bed, my skin now baby-soft from the scrub, I prepared myself for the 60-minute customised massage treatment that followed. This deliciously indulgent treatment is carried out using oils I had selected upon arrival. Before embarking on the day’s spa journey, guests are invited to deeply inhale the aroma of the oils and choose a massage oil that speaks to them on the day.

The options include a variety of oils and scents from the Spalicious range including Arnica & Mint Muscle Ease; Hawaiian Coconut Hydrating; and Jasmine Flower Uplifting. My therapist was a master at her craft and the massage was exactly what I needed to ease muscle stiffness and achieve ultimate relaxation. I emerged from the treatment room feeling completely relaxed, my deep tissues tingling from the results-driven massage treatment.

Thermal lounge, The Grotto Wellness Spa.

Ravenous after the treatments, my partner and I headed back to the Obsidian Lounge for a light lunch. I tried the Chicken Cashew Pad Thai while my partner ordered the Roast Chicken and Mayo toasted sandwich, served with chips. The menu offers a wide selection of light meals, grills, salads, and vegetarian dishes to suit any taste as well as a selection of drinks including alcoholic options and refreshing non-alcoholic soft drinks and juices. The Cashew Pad Thai dish was just the right amount of spicey with noodles cooked to perfection.

After lunch, we returned to the thermal lounge to indulge in the facilities and relax. If you’re visiting The Grotto you simply have to set aside some time to use the facilities. The spa invites guests to move through a cycle of hot-cold-relax, proven to both energise and rest the body, improve blood circulation and aid detoxification. Hot cycles take place in the steam room, dry sauna, and heated pool while a cold plunge pool encourages you to cool off.

Polar Plunge Pool, The Grotto Wellness Spa.

Hot and cold therapy is incredibly beneficial for your well-being and the spa facilities offer the opportunity to relax before and after treatments. When you’re not indulging in the hot and cold water immersion therapy or the wet and dry heat therapy of the sauna and steam room, you can relax on a lounger with just your thoughts or a good book. The spa is a mobile-free zone but the spa does offer a cellphone babysitting service which includes a phone clean and recharge in a comfy sleeping bag.

Even if you’re not visiting the spa for treatments I would highly recommend booking to use the world-class facilities for a few hours. Even just a few hours unwinding in the thermal lounge will prove to be a rejuvenating experience. Use of the hydrotherapy facilities is included when booking treatments at the spa but you can also opt to book a half day (4 hours) at R400 or full day (7 hours) at R600 to make use of the Sauna Oasis, Steam Retreat, Reflection Heated Hydrotherapy Pool and Polar Plunge Pool.

Hand and Foot Oasis, The Grotto Wellness Spa.

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