The Vaucluse spa retreat offering sanctuary far from the madding crowd
The tropical flowers bloom lushly at The Botanica. Wandering up the path from the street to the building housing Sol Spa is like stepping out of Sydney and onto some oddly-relocated tropical island. The foliage is dense, the scent heavenly. The urge is to linger and breath deeply.
It’s a beautiful introduction to this unusual complex. One part of the grounds is dominated by The Botanica, a restaurant with a reputation for offering health-minded soul food, the other by these thriving gardens that belong to the large main building beyond, housing what has to be Sydney’s most glamorous retirement village: the Mark Moran Vaucluse. You could be mistaken for thinking it a Balinese resort. Old age never looked so promising.
But I’m not here to enjoy the benefits of retirement. Rather, there’s word about that a luxe, somewhat stealth spa facility operates within the complex and my aim is to be primped, massaged and relaxed, stat.
Sol Spa is located downstairs from the expansive main reception area in a space looking onto more gardens. Open a door to the spa and find yourself in yet another tropical-type locale. The sense of leaving Sydney behind is strong, which suits me, especially when the therapist produces a fluffy white robe and a glass of Veuve to begin. Farewell, cares.
Treatments, many of which have an Ayurvedic leaning, focus on “natural and spiritual therapies for the body, mind and senses”, starting from a 45-minute acupressure stress-release facial to a five-hour ultimate signature spa treatment that includes a Himalayan-salt body scrub, massage, facial and hand and foot treatment.
I’m here for a three-hour Botanica Luxe package, an extravaganza of pampering that begins with a full-body exfoliation designed to “stimulate the senses and nourish the skin”, followed by an intensive remedial massage (there is the choice of other massage variations if preferred) chased by a one-hour facial with Mukti organic skincare products (there’s Guinot for those who prefer French products).
The purpose is not only to refresh the skin and the body but to offer a beautifully-paced escape from the world; time to relax and refresh.
In such a quiet and removed place, and in such competent hands, the outside world really does melt away and you may enter a semi-conscious state of submission that has the simultaneous benefit of kneading out knots from the muscles and smoothing away stress lines from the forehead.
Three hours drift by rather too quickly. But there’s no sense of my being pushed out the door. The treatment is finished with lunch in the spa’s charming pink-hued anteroom. A bento box filled with salads made by the in-house chef is taken with a cocktail (or mocktail, if preferred). A suitable fortification against the return to the material world outside.
Elizabeth Meryment was a guest of Sol Spa
Sol Spa at the Botanica Vaucluse
9366 7005; thebotanicavaucluse.com.au
Treatments from $95; The three-hour Botanica Luxe signature package is $350