SW1 Spa Retreat in Somerset West

Posted on by Anouschka in Reviews, Spa Reviews

I was treated by a dear friend to a half day spa experience for two at SW1 Spa Retreat in Somerset West.

I’m going to come right out and say that I have mixed reviews about our experience. I had looked up their website and did have high hopes, but they had cancelled on me once as two of their staff had just resigned, so I was holding thumbs.  I finally got my husband to agree to take some time off work (as their weekends were fully booked) and off we went. I had a bit of a cold but am always ready to be pampered.


SW1 is in Somerset West and is situated in a residential area. The outside does not really do it justice as once you enter, it feels like an intimate version of a holiday resort. There are stunning views over the ocean and it is extremely peaceful and quiet.


We were greeted and welcomed by the friendly Lodge receptionist who showed us to the Spa. On arriving at the Spa, we found at that our booking was not in the diary – you can imagine my husband’s face and disapproving look. Oh dear, this is so going to be the last time he comes out for a Spa day with me.

However, she did make an effort to accommodate us as we had driven 45 min from Cape Town. We were told that they could do our massage at 11:15, then break for lunch and then do our pedi’s there after.  So we only had to wait about 30 min and we were offered a cup of coffee on the patio in the meantime.

Spa Suggestion: This would have been a great opportunity to show us around the Lodge as we had loads of questions about how long it had been there, and when it had been renovated etc


The Lodge is maintained extremely well and has a Euro-African feel to it. Everything is exceptionally clean and neat and the staff are all friendly and welcoming.  We thought that it might have just been renovated but were told that it has been there since 2006, so obviously just really well maintained.

There are 2 pools, a Jacuzzi, sauna and lovely ‘loungy’ deck chairs to relax in. The bar is fully stocked and the dining room has stunning views over Somerset West to the ocean.

On our way out we had a peek in one of the rooms which is very opulent indeed.

The Spa itself had just been upgraded and renovated and has a Zen African feel to it.


SW1 Spa Retreat uses South African products that are free of animal testing which is a huge plus in my books. They are associated with Nimue Skin Technology, Kalahari Ancient Desert Secrets, SpaRitual and Beaucience.

Treatment and Prices

They have an extensive treatment list which is priced well, especially when comparing to Cape Town  Spas.

The treatment

We eventually started our massage just after 12pm so we had been waiting for over an hour, but as they did not have our booking , they were trying their best to fit us in. At this stage, my husband had ‘ants in his pants’ and we were ready to get our Pampering on!

The room was warmed by a gas heater and we even had big fluffy duvets over us to keep us toasty. The décor is lovely and we settled in for our massage to (what my husband calls) ‘plinkety plonkety’ music. Unfortunately the head rest on my husband’s bed was broken, which to me is unacceptable.

Suggestion: Get one of the many staff working there to fix the head rest before doing any more massages as it really lowers the high standards that you are setting otherwise.

The massage was good. Not the best I’ve ever had to be honest. I could feel that she was keen to do a good job but that she might be lacking in experience. She unfortunately ignored my should blades and shoulders while I was on my stomach, so when she finally got to massaging my shoulders after I turned over I actually wanted to yell out loud “Yes, Yes, Yes” but even in my head that sounded a bit wrong.

At 1pm we were escorted to the patio to have lunch. Immediately we were brought some orange juice and very quickly we were brought a lovely chicken wrap – soft chicken in a slightly crispy wrap with 1000 island dressing and salad. Yum!

After a relaxing lunch we went back to the Spa and had to wait for the other couple to finish their treatment. We decided to wait in the lounge but in hindsight I think we should have gone back to our room and relaxed under those lovely duvets again. They probably would have found me snoring.

The pedicures were good as well. Again, not the best I’ve ever had but my heels are softer and my toes are pretty.  So I walked away with happy feet.

My husband does not see the need to spend money of having a pedi but he has such baby soft feet, so has no idea as to how much I need and love my pedi’s. After being sufficiently ‘froofed’ (my husband’s words again), we took a slow drive back to Cape Town, definitely a lot more relaxed than we were on the way there.

Oh and they gave me a pair of slippers so that I wouldn’t ruin my just polished toe nails or walk outside in bare feet – which was definitely very thoughtful.


All in all an agreeable afternoon spent away from the hussle and bussle of everyday life.  SW1 Lodge and Spa Retreat has all the facilities that you’d find at a holiday resort, but is much more intimate. The staff are friendly and welcoming. I have been racking my brain and trying to figure out why I was not blown away by the experience.  It was pleasant, the people were welcoming, and the treatments were decent but all in all I think that there was a lack of experience. For a 5 star Spa, I expect the best of the best and although it was good, it wasn’t the best I’ve ever had.

However, I think that if you lived in the area or wanted to get away, especially in Summer when you can relax by the pool with some friends, then it could be a stunning get away.  Get some girlfriends together (with a designated driver – or spend the night) and make a Spa day out of it. They have group deals and discounts for students so I’m sure they can work out a great Spa Day Deal for you and your ‘besties’.

Positives:  A well maintained intimate resort style retreat with friendly and accommodating staff.

Negatives: Did not have our booking and the massage table was broken.

About Anouschka

Anouschka is a full time mom and part time Spa addict and pamper fanatic. After taking a 'mommy break' from working in the advertising industry, she started managing facebook fanpages for businesses and fell in love with social media. She divides her time writing for PamperMeNow!, managing the ‘ILoveBeingPampered’ fanpage, and running after her two young boys, with a little bit of Spa action in between.

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