Spa Fun in Badplaas

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The renovated spa at Badplaas
Helen Grange

Helen Grange reports on the massage, the phone, and the laundry basket

My companion, an old geezer called Terry, has a habit of falling asleep during a back massage. It’s a sort of litmus test of how good the masseuse is, and if she’s really good, there should be snoring sounds within five minutes. No such sounds were forthcoming on the occasion of the recent opening of the Hydro and Spa in Badplaas, however. In fact, from where I was getting my own massage in the therapy room next door, it was ominously quiet.

Not that I needed much reason to fret. I was fretting anyway, trying to communicate the need for a lighter tread of hands and fingers apparently made of leather-covered muscle, the kind that can scrub blankets spotless in the sink. Luckily, our hosts had decided to sausage-machine the media in and out of there with 10-minute massages, so it wasn’t too long of a countdown.

Hurriedly clothed, I spat myself out and began looking for the old man, but he was nowhere to be found. His masseuse was a young Malawian woman with caterpillar eyelash extensions and a jaunty gait, so maybe he’d brokered the kind of massage that men like. But I quickly reconsidered that proposition on visualising it, and continued up to reception.

There, the young lady in charge was a little wide-eyed and sans her special spa smile. ‘Are you looking for your friend? He’s sitting outside. I don’t think he’s very happy,’ she offered. Terry was perched on the wall, like Pooh gazing out toward a hill, feet and arms dangling. ‘I spent most of the time in there undressing, then dressing again. My back got poked a few times, but not much else happened,” he moaned. Knowing what a palaver it is getting his boots on, I was surprised he didn’t need extra time.

An eisbein dinner in the Forever Resort hotel cheered him up, and by the time we climbed into our beds in our little brick chalet, all was forgotten. Until the next morning.  Rudely awoken by the sentence, ‘I can’t find my cellphone?’  After a turmoil of patchy, wine befuddled memories of where last he’d been, it took all of 30 seconds to strike fake gold. The spa!

Spying snaky laces on boots strewn on the floor, and knowing time was of essence, I told grumpy to stay put and jumped into my tracksuit, braving the chill to briskly retrace my steps from the evening before.

‘She threw my clothes and jacket upside down into a cupboard,’ Terry bleated as I shut the door.

I blurted out my bother to the receptionist and streaked past her to the therapy room he’d been in, casting open the door without any regard to who’s naked corpus I might happen upon.  Alas, the cupboard was empty. Losing hope, I called his number. Bingo! A muffled marching tune was emanating from …. the laundry basket! Snatching it from under a rumpled towel, I made noises of gratitude, stalked up to the chalet and we were packed and gone in less time than it took to get our massages.

So all’s well that ended well at Badplaas Spa, but not necessarily with a nice neck rub.