The preceding few weeks had been hectic and my stress levels were at an all-time high. A weekend away sounded enticing but a long drive to get there didn’t. I had been wanting to visit Valley Lodge and Spa for a while and its proximity to Johannesburg was a plus. Then the cold front attacked South Africa and I was concerned that I would spend my weekend there freezing. The concern was unwarranted – my chalet was fitted with an electric blanket, an air conditioner heater and underfloor heating. Sheer bliss!
We left the confines of the concrete jungle on a Friday afternoon and arrived at Valley Lodge within an hour. Soon we were settled in our chalet overlooking the meandering Magalies River. I stood on my deck and savoured the view. Towering trees lined the riverbank and peppered the lodge grounds, bathing the manicured lawns in dappled sunlight. The benches on the riverbank provided the perfect place to relax with a good book. A pair of resident zebras had come to the river for sundowners and birds chirped merrily. Pampered felines sauntered around as if they owned the place. The winter afternoon sun cast a warm golden glow over the scene before me. And I felt my stress levels diminish rapidly.
Valley Lodge and Spa is a four-star country retreat nestled in the historic Magalies Valley of Magaliesburg. It comprises 76 elegantly refurbished rooms and suites, a floodlit tennis court, a gym, a massive swimming pool, a world-class spa and conference facilities. The lodge recently won six awards at the 8th West Rand Tourism Awards including four Platinum and one Gold awards.
The accommodation consists of three different room types –standard, luxury and superior. Our comfortable, well-heated room consisted of an open-plan bedroom with a king-sized bed, a lounge area where the kids had their own sleeper couch and an en-suite bathroom. Our internet connectivity was taken care of by the free wi-fi and our caffeine fix was taken care of by an espresso machine. We were provided with fluffy towelling gowns and slippers and at turn-down, delicious chocolate-coated fudge goodies were placed on our pillows.
The lush grounds provided a lot of open space outdoors for children to run around and burn their excess energy. It was such a pleasure to see my children enjoying nature instead of being glued to their electronics as they normally are. When they finally got tired of playing outside, they chose board games from reception and played with them in our room.
Meal times are something we really looked forward to at Valley Lodge. We lunched al fresco as friendly cats rubbed against our legs. In the evenings, our sumptuous buffet dinners consisted of a wide array of starters, mains and desserts. The mouth-watering dessert options alone included malva pudding with custard, chocolate brownies, cheesecake, fruit salad and milk tart. After meals, I loved sitting in the huge airy lounge with its hearty fireplaces. It was the perfect place to relax with a coffee and a newspaper.
The award-winning spa was just what the doctor ordered. The plush, opulent décor was uber-chic making me anticipate my treatments even more. It boasted an indoor mineral pool, a jacuzzi, saunas and a refreshment centre where guests can help themselves to beverages and snacks when they’re not in the treatment rooms. I was pampered with a luxurious Africology Balancing Rose Facial and a back, neck and shoulder massage. My treatments were so relaxing that I fell off to sleep- twice during my spa session.
The lodge was home to the Portugal team during the 2010 Fifa World Cup. It is also popular with corporates for conferences and team-building events and there were various groups in and out during our stay. Weddings are often hosted here. But the most frequent guests were those looking for a relaxing getaway near Johannesburg, like me.
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