Will Edgcumbe finds his zen at Granny Mouse Country House & Spa
We were in a mostly frazzled state driving into Granny Mouse Country House & Spa’s grounds. Though the slow, winding meander past farmland and homesteads, along the R103 through Balgowan, up in the KZN Midlands, had already begun some of the healing needed after a particularly crazy work week, my wife and I both knew something drastic had to be done to return us (and me in particular) to our usual mellow vibe.
We were confident that we were heading to the right place though – as a Midlands Meander ‘founder’ establishment, Granny Mouse has only improved with age, and its reputation for being friendly, luxurious and consistently brilliant has been truly hard-earned.
We had arrived an hour before our spa booking, so we strolled down to the picturesque length of the Lions River that burbles below the hotel. Looming willows and jumbles of boulders make the river course particularly lovely, and our walk on the path through the grassland towards the small waterfall, accompanied by the buzz of cicadas sizzling on the air, and the electric-blue splash of a half-collared kingfisher diving into the water, helped us unwind even further. Stress? What stress?
After a quick shower to freshen up a bit in our room, we made our way to the Camelot-managed spa; set in a tranquil garden shaded by some large oak trees and surrounded by the sound of running water from a number of water features.
Even on a hot, still Midlands day, the grounds somehow felt cool. We were very warmly received and sat down to what has become the spa’s welcome ritual – a foot bath with added scented salts and essential oils, and that’s when the relaxation really began in earnest. I have never been one to go for spa treatments myself, but my wife is an expert and had cajoled me for years to take her advice and join her for a morning; my treatment had not even started and already I had to admit that she had been right all along.
Robes donned, we lay down in our couple’s treatment room and the healing continued. My wife had opted for the spa’s signature treatment; it starts off with an invigorating salt scrub with freshly picked lavender and rosemary from the hotel’s garden, followed by a relaxing therapeutic massage. By this time, I was more or less asleep, so afterwards she explained that a seaweed wrap, infused with a variety of active ingredients and trace elements, had been applied to her back. Then, while she had relaxed in the wrap, her therapist had performed a C-Spa rebalancing facial with active aromatherapy oils.
Being new to all this, I had opted for a simple back, neck and shoulder massage, and within minutes of my therapist starting on my neck and working in those oils, I had almost forgotten my name and where I was, so overwhelming was my Zen-like calm. Hovering at the border post between consciousness and sleep throughout the treatment, I was in a delicious daze when it was over, and it was with the greatest reluctance that I gathered the few wits I needed to stand up and head to the steam room to sweat out the last of my worries.
In the meantime, my wife had gone the whole hog with a caviar pedicure – a foot soak so named for the additives that swell into little caviar-like balls when immersed in water. Aromatic thanks to a variety of essentials oils, the treatment nourishes and tones the skin and nails.
Scrubbed, pink, and in something of a trance, we somehow managed to dress and complete the short walk back to our room, where we promptly fell asleep for the whole afternoon.
Photography: luke patterson