Idyllic getaway for the romantic

Dudu Busani

Dudu Busani

Fabulousity has been defined by one American diva as beauty, power, comfort and not achievable to the tasteless and uncreative.

My recent visit to Mount Grace Country House and Spa in Magaliesburg helped me understand what the diva was raving about.

The place is a true reflection of fabulousity.

Although resorts of a similar kind make perfect family holiday destinations, I think that this one makes a good lovers' holiday destination.

The rooms make you want to stay indoors and cuddle, the view makes you want to take a walk, the spa makes you wish to be pampered and the food will force you to abandon that non-effective diet programme you've been on forever.

Mount Grace has been around for more than two decades but has recently undergone a R135million refurbishment.

The new, modern, stylish and versatile resort looks nothing like the old granny house built of stones and artificial waterfalls, although it was always unique.

Dreading that long drive from Gauteng on a Sunday afternoon, I almost turned down the invitation by general manager Leon Meyer to view and experience the new Mount Grace.

Little did I know then that when he said, "we are building on the history of this superb country house and spa, and the refurbishment signifies a new and exciting era for the resort, adding fresh elegance and grace to the famous views of the mountains and valleys of this magnificent countryside", he meant every word.

The afternoon began with a 30-minute rest in my exquisitely- designed room. The furniture is dark brown but everything else, from accessories to closets to bedroom linen is brightly coloured. Each room is spacious and comprises a lounge and bathroom with tub and shower.

"The overall effect is energising, breathing a sense of well-being in luxurious comfort," as Leon put it.

Next stop was the health spa, and because the place is over and under a mountain, golf carts are used to transport guests.

The spa is at the top of the mountain.

As soon as guests arrive, they are directed by ushers to a locker room where they are required to change into robes and slippers.

The treatment rooms are built in between fountains. There's nothing more relaxing than listening to the sound of running water while lying on your stomach and enjoying a back massage.

The hydrotherapy spa gardens are said to offer ultimate relaxation. In these natural surroundings, there's also a heated outdoor jacuzzi, rock pools and a liquid-sound flotation pool.

The conference facilities include a double-storey building that can seat up to 250 people at the top level and 250 at the bottom. The venue can also be used as an exhibition centre and can be reconfigured into six separate conference rooms.

What is fabulousity without fabulous cuisine? Mount Grace has taken all to extremes - and has imported a chef all the way from France.

Executive chef Franc Lubbe's brief is to ensure that the restaurants' famous country cuisine at the trademark Twist Restaurant and the newly conceptualised a la carte restaurant, The Rambling Vine, will tantalise the palates of guests from all over the world.

"We are offering more than a good plate of food at Mount Grace; we are offering an eating experience," Lubbe says.

A walk-in wine cellar, with 70 different fine wines, allows guests to choose ones that complement their meals, with the guidance of an expert sommelier.