I booked this place with a health kick and a bit of pampering as a pre-wedding treat in mind and also because the website boasted of a team of experts and your stay is "all about you".
On arrival, it wasn't clear which was the main door, I noticed scaffolding and some building materials. I thought the exterior looked a bit shabby. I checked in and my fiance reluctantly left me as he already had his reservations. I was led up a corridor and to my room, the door was almost prefab in appearance. The room was clean and had a small balcony.
I was given an appointment for my "Lifestyle Consultation" with a Sister! This involved me filling a form about my eating habits, and basically any ailments I had. The meeting lasted five minutes, I was asked about the weather, and told to pick two fruits, and the parting comment was give me a number of your next of kin "in case you keel over".
I then proceeded to the dining room, a drab affair. The buffet consisted of a big bowl of lettuce leaves, slices of cucumber, cous cous, with some butternut squash, and warmed sweetcorn kernals. There was also some lentil soup. I was under the impression from the website photos, that an array of tasty vegetarian food would be on offer.
I went to bed early and hungry. I forgot my toothbrush and paste, and rang reception to ask if they could help me out, and basically they said bring some money tomorrow we might be able to sort something. I got up for the walk the next morning, it was on a dirt track, nice scenary but a shame that all the trees have been torn down. I ask the instructor do most people come here to loose weight and he said yes, and that it used to be much strictor, now they allow honey for the herbal teas!! I returned had my two fruits for breakfast and a tiny bowl of cold porridge. The breakfast was left on a tray with clingflim over it, at this point the word "hospital" came to mind.
I consoled myself that the hydro treatments I had booked would cheer me up. The first treatment was 15 minutes in a big old jacuzzi with enough clorine to strip your skin off. Next I was moved into what is called Kneipp Therapy. I was put sitting in a dirty double sink, cold water in one side and warm water in the other, both had flies in it and the paint was peeling off the sink, it was so old. I felt like crying. There and then I decided this place was a joke and not for me.
This place advocates extreme weight loss through starvation and exercise. Everyone walked around with a pained miserable look on their faces, through sheer exhaustion and no food. No where on the website does it say that its a place for people who want to loose a lot of weight in a hurry. When I booked I said I was a bride to be in need of some de stress and pampering. Not boot camp, rotten facilities and to cap it all, they are renovating and there's drilling and scaffolding and work going on all day.
If you want to atone yourself for your sins, or like paying decent money to be starved, go ahead be their guest! If like me, you are looking for a bit of luxury, nice treatments and a spa type experience, stay away from here. You won't like it. I checked out after 24 hours, as I felt it was having a damaging effect on my mental state and my body. I was charged for checking out early, despite all the problems with the place.
The Hydro calls itself South AFricas Premier Natural Health Resort. Maybe it was about 30 years ago but I suppose the fact that there was only 12 people on site despite it having 47 rooms, speaks volumes.
One to avoid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
This is a response to the review titled “Hydro from Hell”
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Between September and early December 2007, The Hydro underwent major renovations. These renovations were hugely anticipated and provided a much needed improvement to the building. The roof of the main building was replaced, a new reception was built as well as a new patio. In addition, many cosmetic improvements were made to our therapy and skincare areas, including new carpeting, new furniture and a new shop. To complete this project a substantial amount was invested in the improvement of our rooms’ décor, including the complete rebuilding of 4 bathrooms. Further improvements will follow.
During that period we decided not to close The Hydro and launched our “Earplugs and Hardhats Promotion” offering substantial discounts to guests choosing to visit us during that time. We informed the guests before arrival about the situation at The Hydro to enable them to make an informed decision. A few guests chose to visit us during the renovations, hence only the 12 guests on the premises mentioned by the writer.
Today The Hydro is running smoothly, in all its beauty and the disruptions of the renovations are long gone. The Hydro was very busy from early December until today, as our visitors returned in full force and Guests are enjoying the hospitality and benefits one can expect from such a destination.
The Reason that guests visit
The Hydro has developed programmes that are specially designed to assist nature in rejuvenating vital forces within us. In line with this, our simple philosophy is to ensure that our guests unwind totally. By following the recommended programme, the stresses imposed by modern living simply melt away.
Nestling in the tranquility of the Idas Valley near Stellenbosch, the magical woodlands and crisp air combine to make this one of the most beautiful havens on earth. Here, nature’s benevolent determination to heal and rejuvenate is equaled only by the warmth and dedication of our staff, whose primary objective is to care for you.
Guests do not visit The Hydro to loose weight, at least not primarily, they come to establish the right habits through education on healthy lifestyles, and subsequently they continue to follow these guidelines at home and start to get sustainable results. Other reasons for visiting The Hydro include, stress relief, relaxation, post or pre surgical conditions, trauma counseling or simply pampering.
The eating plan and exercise programme
A guest’s program on a typical day may include a massage, Hydrotherapy consisting of a jet bath, steam or sauna and Kneipp therapy, progressive relaxation, yoga, guided walks and water aerobics. You are also encouraged to attend the instructive lectures on diet, exercise and natural healing.
Naturally we place great emphasis on correct food and nutrition. A selection of seasonal fresh fruits and salads are inventively prepared using only the finest ingredients. Although no meat is consumed on the premises, you will be amazed by the tasty array of fruit and salad dishes prepared for your enjoyment.
The Hydro does not recommend a frantic exercise schedule. At The Hydro our qualified fitness team offers professional advice and personal guidance in the use of the in-house equipment and facilities. You can also book a personalised appointment with the fitness Instructor or Biokineticist to help you formulate a personal health and fitness plan.
The Lifestyle Consultation
The writer refers to her lifestyle consultation which she claims lasted five minutes. Our Medical Sisters are trained to facilitate your introduction to The Hydro through a simple process assessing your health profile and offering you guidance for your stay, this takes approximately twenty minutes. Had the guest stayed follow up consultations would have taken place on a daily basis as this forms part of the normal program. Depending on the length of your stay, additional consultations are offered and further advice is given on lifestyle and nutrition. Once your profile has been assessed, you are advised on whether you should follow a fruit diet or to enjoy the vegetable and salad buffet. Although we do not serve meat, the buffet caters sufficiently for everyone’s nutritional needs. The guest was at liberty to ask for more food if as she claims she was starving.
The writer also comments on our guided walks. The walks take place in the adjacent forest, which offers a tranquil yet challenging variety of routes as well as breath taking views. The City cut down a number of trees as part of a fire management process.
The Hydro Treatments
The guests contention that the Jacuzzi contained “enough chlorine to strip off your skin” is simply not true and neither is her contention that the Kneipp Therapy baths are old and contained flies. The Kneipp Therapy baths are in fact brand new and a small amount of paint peeled off during the first few days after installation.
We do not advocate extreme weight loss through starvation as suggested by the writer. The guest stayed for one night only and yet makes wide sweeping generalizations about our facility. The writer also makes no mention of the response that was e-mailed to her by Hydro management and in fact she was promptly refunded for all costs incurred during her stay.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.