When I disovered that the place we usually stay at just outside Johannesburg was fully booked, my heart sank. However, the owners there recommended Riverview Spa to me- and I am so grateful they did. This a most beautiful place that I feel compelled to write about.
Riverview Spa is a spa and guesthouse (also with some self-catering cottages) located in Muldersdrift, around 40 minutes drive from Johannesburg. It lies just above a river, and makes maximal use of the surrounding scenery- there are benches, picnic tables and jacuzzis dotted throughout the grounds- all giving some personal private space. The garden around the main building is mature and was filled with gorgeous blooms when we were there. There were also really nice touches such as fresh flowers floating in a water fountain each day, and hand-picked flowers in vases on the dining tables. There is a swimming pool set in the gardens.
The whole atmosphere of the place is relaxaion and well-being- you feel incredibly calmed and pampered. We arrived there rather tired after a lot of travelling, and left feeling refreshed and uplifted, and I have no doubt that this was due to the superb staff, good food and wine, lovely surroundings, flowers, gentle music, and the spa.
Riverview Spa offers bed and breakfast, but also lunch and dinner. Tea and coffee is constantly available in the main areas, and also in the rooms by way of tea-making facilities (thumbs-up here, me being a Brit who dislikes being without tea in a hotel room!). Breakfast was delicious and beautifully served- mixed fruit and yoghurt, then a cooked option. Lunches were a mixture of choices- quiches, salads and so on. Picnic hampers were also available such that you could take a hamper and go and sit quietly in the gardens and enjoy the peacefulness of the place. Dinner was excellent, and there was always the temptation of a decent bottle of wine to offset the healthiness of the spa side of things!
I am now getting to the main point of what makes this place so special- for us, this was the staff who run it. The personalised service and the way things were so efficiently run was absolutely outstanding, especially when you consider the low prices charged here. Elmari and Ane were the two ladies who ran the place- they seemed to be everywhere and know where everyone was all the time. We never had to wait for anything or wonder what we ought to be doing or where to go. Everything was explained gently, our names were remembered immediately, and nothing was too much trouble. As well as being in charge, Elmari and Ane served meals and drinks, were always there with a smile to ask how you were doing and if everything was okay- and it was all done in such a pleasant and gentle way. This was typically exemplified when we had a slightly traumatic experience one day of being involved in helping at a very serious road traffic accident on the N4- again all the staff but in particular Elmari and Ane were so caring and concerned that we were okay.
The major feature of Riverview Spa is (not surprisingly) the Spa- we were not necessarily planning to have any treaments, but decided we would- a very good idea, we thoroughly enjoyed it and found it very relaxing to have treatments whilst sitting on a balcony overlooking the gardens and river. The prices for the spa are also very good. As this is a spa, people do wander around in their dressing gowns- there are also day visitors, but it never felt like there were too many people there.
We had the benefit of staying in both a guest room and a cottage during our time here. Both were very clean with nice decor and pleasant lighting. The room had a very comfy bed with crisp white cotton sheets, and a great bathroom. The cottages have a lounge with DSTV, small kitchen and a lovely roof terrace.
Overall, I cannot recommend this place enough- it was beautiful, tranquil, relaxing, and very personalised. It is excellent value for money; I had spent a while looking up many other (much more highly-priced) places on the internet, but am so glad we chose this one. You leave feeling like you are saying goodbye to friends rather than just another hotel. We will definitely return, and it is now going to provide some stiff competition for us with regards to the other place that we usually stay at!
I feel like keeping this lovely place a secret from the wider world, but to do so would be unjust to a place that so clearly deserves acclaim and recognition for the stunning haven that has been created here.