In recent years The Caledon hotel and spa has been associated with the Casino and little mention is made of the hot springs – which is the main reason that there is an establishment there at all.
My family and I recently spent a couple of days at the resort. I recall spending family holidays at the Caledon springs in the early 1970’s, when it was a campsite and the accommodation on offer were thatch rondavels with cement floors, shared ablutions and an outside braai area. The Victorian baths was the only pool and looked the same as it does today – with the small change rooms lining the one side and the French doors (which used to lead into separate bathrooms) now open onto the magnificent gardens.
The hot spring are geothermally heated groundwater that rise from the Earth's crust. It produces over a million litres of water daily with an average temperature of 65 degrees Celsius at the source.
The hot springs were discovered by the Khoi people and it was considered to be a sacred place as the springs were known to heal various ailments. With the natural hot springs attracting so many visitors, a bath house was finally built in 1797.
Caledon hot springs is one of the few places in South Africa that incorporates all aspects of a traditional Roman-style hydrotherapy spa using natural spring waters, including a style Turkish steam room, sauna with a cold plunge pool, floatation pool, a Jacuzzi pool, and three other rock pools situated on the mountain where the water temperature varies from 36 to 42 degrees.
The lush gardens are watered from the springs and there are loungers where guests can relax and enjoy the serenity of nature. The Zen garden is situated next to the spa and guests are encouraged to sit in silence whilst enjoying the tranquillity of the space.
A visit to the hot springs is not complete without a spa treatment – and the spa is situated right next door. I could not resist spending a few hours in the spa after relaxing in the warm healing waters of the Victorian baths.
From the extensive spa treatment menu I chose a full body hot stone massage which complimented the warmth of the hot springs, leaving my aching tired muscles in a wonderfully relaxed state. To ensure that there were no crystals of lactic acid blocking my meridians I asked my therapist to include a forty-five minute Reflexology treatment, which was heavenly – I found myself drifting to sleep a few times during the treatment – which, being a super-stressed full-time working mom of 3-year old twin girls is a luxury that I am rarely afforded. Not forgetting my stressed skin, and to complete my spa experience I opted to have a tailor-made luxury Dermalogica facial – which included a lifting treatment that stimulates collagen production (collagen is what keeps the skin firm and wrinkles at bay). I left the spa three hours later walking on a cloud and feeling completely relaxed.
Now, during this three hour relaxation session of mine – you may be asking where my young children were – well, the hotel has a fully staffed crèche for young ones aged 3 months to 3 years, where kids can stay for up to three hours at a time, and another play area for kids from 4 years to 12 – also fully staffed and with activities. There is also the option of a babysitter – which I opted for – and a wonderful lady entertained my little ones whilst my husband and I relaxed.
The crèche and children's playstation is open until 10pm – allowing parents to enjoy a romantic dinner, knowing that the children are in the safe hands of the capable ladies at the crèche.
The gardens are extensive and perfect for children to run around and explore. The resort was full with families – and I can understand why it is such a popular destination. I had been trying to book a weekend for a few months and everytime that I called the resort they were fully booked – so a word of advice if you are planning to visit the Caledon Resort, you will have to book well in advance.
Day visitors can visit the hot springs anytime. The rate for the springs is R165 pp.