21 January 2014 by Kate Turkington

Get your mojo back at Brookdale Health Hydro, KwaZulu-Natal

I recently took myself off to arguably South Africa’s classiest and loveliest health hydro − the Brookdale Health Hydro in the rolling green hills of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.

Charming rooms cluster around lovely courtyards

Just over two decades ago, Tony and Wendy Somers-Cox decided to leave the Highveld and go to the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands to pursue a dream. Their vision was to build a health hydro where visitors could de-stress and learn about healthy lifestyles, correct eating and the importance of exercise, while at the same time being pampered with massages, beauty treatments and delicious, healthy food.

Today their dream is a reality.

An early morning walk An early morning walk

Choose between 22 rooms ranging from a standard room to a Forest Suite, and decide which of the Brookdale ‘packages’ are for you (three- or six-day); or just come for the day. And forget the fancy clothes and out-of-the-bandbox look; you’ll be in a comfy gown most of the time, and everybody sports the ‘Brookdale hair-do’ – wet, oily or dishevelled locks.

I was there for the three-day package. I arrived on a Wednesday afternoon, hot and bothered from a five-hour drive from Johannesburg (it’s only an hour or so from Durban) and was escorted by one of Brookdale’s charming therapists (jobs there are very highly sought after) to my small but comfortable and elegant room.

There’s no pressure, no rigid regimen – you choose your own pace.

My blood pressure taken and medical history and any special needs noted, it was off for a quick swim in the outdoor pool (there’s also an amazing indoor heated one with jacuzzi, steam room and sauna) and then time for dinner – butternut and feta phyllo baskets served with a home-made tomato sauce and a green garden salad, followed by a 'legal' chocolate mousse.

Small but welcoming... Small but welcoming...

The next morning, a typical Brookdale Health Hydro day started with a walk at 7am (choose the ‘flat’ walk or the very brisk one) over rolling hills and through pine forests, followed by breakfast (buckwheat crumpets topped with scrambled egg, garlic mushrooms and herbed cottage cheese) and thereafter aquacise, or a massage or beauty treatment. The rest of the day can be spent just chilling out; lazing on the wraparound deck and watching birds; meditating or just thinking as you walk the labyrinth; sitting by the river; attending a lecture; snoozing; or swimming.

There’s no pressure, no rigid regimen – you choose your own pace.

The guest book says it all: 'Simply fantastic, great food, great staff, wonderful! Will be back.' Another entry reads: 'Everything here is a gift to the soul!' And yet another, from one of Brookdale’s male guests, 'It doesn’t get any better than this.'

I couldn’t agree more. Go see for yourself.

Delicious meals alfresco Delicious meals alfresco
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