From the moment we arrived at Valley Lodge and Spa, my madam tendencies were on fleek. I mean, what’s not to love about an old-school family-owned country hotel just an hour or so outside Joburg with a bubbling brook, random zebras grazing outside your room, a luxury spa and a buffet that goes on for days? (Short answer: the buffet, but we’ll get to that.)
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Valley Lodge is the kind of place where you and your best friends get together to celebrate a birthday weekend – and what happens at Valley Lodge stays at Valley Lodge. Or where you take gran for a special getaway treat or head to for a romantic getaway.
The guests at Valley Lodge are as young and black as they are white and older, and everything is designed for relaxation. The rooms – huge thatched abodes – are private, with baths and showers that easily hold a couple. Step on to your own balcony and a small dazzle of zebras can be found meticulously manicuring the expanses of lawn. And there’s even a giraffe or two.
We only discovered the little piece of madam heaven that is the lodge’s spa on our last day, else we would have moved in and taken all our meals there. Built specially for Portugal’s national football side when they booked out the lodge as their base for the 2010 World Cup, the spa is cool and stylish, with awesome therapists who are gentle in presence but present in technique. Here a deep-tissue massage means a deep-tissue massage, girlfriends.
Guests are encouraged to take lunch before checking out, with none of the usual pressure to clear the room. Don’t be shy to skip the vast dining hall and order a picnic that you can take down to the pretty banks of the Magalies River.
But one really has to ask some hard questions about the lodge’s listing itself on its website as a culinary destination.
“These people hate vegetarians,” I muttered to my partner as we surveyed the lunch menu. For mains you can choose between the vegetarian pizza and the vegetarian pasta. Not even the usual third option of a large watery mushroom pretending to be meat. When you do order the pizza, some bright spark in a white hat has decided to replace the tomato base with mayonnaise. And our chef’s special vegetarian dish for dinner was stuffed aubergine that had survived a nuclear holocaust. The meat eaters seemed happy enough with their roasted chunks of flesh.
But who needs stress in this environment? Forget the veggies and exhale as you gaze across the pool and the inviting river in the distance.
Blignaut was a guest of Valley Lodge and Spa. A luxury room for a couple, plus kids and breakfast and dinner, starts from R2 655* per night. For more info click here and look out for special offers, free meals and a lavish Christmas lunch offering
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