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Overview: We spent 2 nights near Hermanus in a 5 star hotel with spa and golf.

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Arrival, Spa, Golf, Nearby, Departure
Satellite Photo: See this South Africa satellite map with pushpins and then zoom in at least once.
Arrival: We arrived in Hermanus from Stellenbosch by rental car around dusk, checking in to our luxurious 5-star Western Cape Hotel & Spa, part of the Sheraton Luxury Collection. A little decadent 3-night splurge, two of them free thanks to Susan's frequent hotel points.
The lobby reminded us of a chalet/lodge with lots of wood beams and a soaring roof. Interestingly, the ground-level lobby is actually on the top (5th) floor of the building, as the ground drops away from the driveway and parking lot down towards the lagoon.
Our large room was gorgeous, with a plush King bed and a japanese-style sliding wood panels separating the soaker tub and bathroom from the bedroom. We had a large balcony overlooking a golf hole and the lagoon, with the ocean visible in the distance. Each morning we could see the golf course being groomed.
We enjoyed an excellent dinner in the hotel's Jamani resto; afterwards we danced on the deck overlooking the cold pool, to the music of a poolside wedding reception.
On another evening, we had an even tastier dinner at the hotel's swankier Premiere resto, with a full fine dining experience.
Ready to Spa Spa: As expected, the spa was superb. We relaxed in the indoor/outdoor pool and ordered a fruit shake (which was delivered to us in the spa). We enjoyed simultaneous massages (Susan's masseur was particularly good) then relaxed in clothing-optional Hammam before our divine 45 minute Rassoul Chamber treatment. What are those treatments, you might ask?
The hammam was one area of the spa that contained a brine pool, sauna, steam room, jacuzzi tub, cold plunge pool, showers and a winter garden with lounge chairs. The round brine (salty) pool let you float very easily and the water movement slowly rotated you around the pool, staring up at the painted stars on the ceiling.
On another day after golf, we enjoyed the hammam again, and Susan fell asleep during her foot refloxology treatment, so it must have been very relaxing!
The Rassoul Chamber treatment was divine: a small sauna-sized steam bath room with 2 showers in the private ante-chamber. The attendant gave us instructions and then left us alone for the 45 minute treatment. First we used a sea salt and oil scrub on each other prior to showering; then we put soft clay on our faces, like a beauty mask. Entering the hot steamy dark chamber, we found more silky soft clay to rub all over each other's naked bodies, a most delightful feeling. Occasionally more steam would be automatically injected into the chamber to keep it tropical rain-forest hot and humid. There were also some cool water hoses with which we could cool down. Towards the end of the session the ceiling "rained" cool water down on us, rinsing most of the clay from our bodies before we exited and showered again. Highly recommended!
The spa treatment left us so relaxed and tired, we only ordered a little room service in bed for dinner.
Golf Golf: We pre-ordered breakfast room service, splitting one big breakfast plate, before heading downstairs for our 9:30 golf tee time. Yes, the golf pro shop was in the ground floor (relative to the back of the building towards the lagoon) of the hotel, which was most convenient! We rented two sets of golf clubs and a golf cart (while our rounds were included in our package, the clubs/cart were not).
The 18 hole course was very nice, with only minor brush fire damage -- for which we had received a letter of apology from the manager! The course had narrow fairways and views of the lagoon, in addition to having a few lagoon-side holes. We even lost less golf balls than we expected to :-) Unfortunately the weather was a little cool and some rain sprinkles hit us that day, yet that did not stop us from enjoying our round of golf, and the post-golf relaxation in the hammam.
Hermanus Nearby: One morning we drove 20 minutes to Hermanus, a quaint retirement/tourist town on a bay, which happens to be the whale watching capital of South Africa (not in season at the time). After another odd parking experience -- the lot had meters, but the "attendant" appeared to use a card in the meter and told us to "pay whatever" when we returned -- we enjoyed a delightful breakfast on the 2nd story deck of Savannah Cafe, enjoying the view of the bay.
I went for a haircut at a nearby barber shop (suggested by a waiter) and listened to the middle aged white gay hairdresser talk about his talk on current race relations in South Africa.
After picking up some provisions at Woolworth's, we stopped at Bogeyman Golf Shop for some "cheap" golf balls on the way back to the hotel.
Another morning we drove 10 minutes in the other direction to the sleepy waterside town of Kleinmond, where our guidebook resto choice was no longer in existence (yet again!) and we ended up in a little café where my "cheese grill" was not a grilled cheese sandwich, rather it was a pair of sausages with cheese inside (don't ask me how they make them).
Departure: After checkout, we stopped by the Arabella golf estate sales office, and ended up spending several hours with the agent, looking inside 3 houses and asking plenty of questions comparing real estate practices/issues in South Africa to Canada/US.
We left mid-afternoon in our rental car for the 3-4 hour drive along the N2 highway to
Mossel Bay up the coast, at the start of the famous Garden Route (the western end of it).
Breakfast at Savannah CafeR84 + tip
vegetarian quicheR40
"baby whale" breakfastR34
cuppaccinoR10
Provisions at Woolworth'sR59
1.5L mineral waterR7.45
Cadbury chocolateR7
2x 340mL sparkling juiceR5 each
crisps (potato chips)R10
750mL passionfruit coolerR24
shopping bagR0.23
Arabella Golf Club
round of golfR550 each
club rentalR250 each
cart rentalR220
sandwich at the turnR14
golf shirtR400

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