The first thing you need to do is to treat yourself to a weekend of divine decadence. Round up a gang of friends and head somewhere gorgeous where you can eat, drink and be merry. Here's a selection of fabulous spots where no one's going to raise an eyebrow when you order the fifth bottle of Champagne or the second chocolate mousse, or sleep till midday. Choose from one of these fab foodie getaways.
Le Quartier Francais
This is where you get to pretend you're in one of those arty French movies where the women are beautiful and the men say, 'Voulez-vous couchez avec moi ce soir?' and sound like they really mean it. Tucked into the heart of Franschhoek, this auberge is where you get to have breakfast in bed, oysters at sunset, Champagne anytime you want and all your meals prepared by an award-winning team of women chefs. You are definitely going to overindulge, so the best thing is to give in completely û then head for aromatherapy, shiatsu massage and reflexology.
Call (021) 876-2151 or e-mail Susan.
The Artists Cafe
Spend a weekend in celebration of the senses. The Artists Cafe Guest House on the edges of Sabie is a guesthouse, art gallery and restaurant rolled into one. Perfect for a weekend of long, slow meals, lazy mornings and retail therapy. Once a stationmaster's humble home, this plum-coloured building is now one of Mpumalanga's trendiest spots. People come here from far and wide to eat, sleep, relax and be fed endless amounts of gorgeous food. There are four charming rooms here (to get to them you have to walk along the railway line) and dinners are a ceremonial occasion, prepared by chef Brenda Tod and inspired by the sensual flavours of rural Tuscany.
Call (013) 764-2309 or e-mail the Artists Cafe.
Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse
Favoured haunt of discerning foodies, Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse is tucked into the mountains of the Drakensberg and has earned a reputation as KwaZulu-Natal's leading gourmet getaway. Run with great cheer and joviality by Richard and Mouse Poynton, Cleopatra offers exceptional food and service, postcard-pretty mountain scenery and a whole lotta soul. There are nine individually decorated guest rooms here û and when you're not eating, drinking and laughing, head out along the banks of crystal clear rivers or take gentle strolls into the hills.
Call 082-373-1949 or e-mail Cleopatra Mountain.
Post new years recovery
By the time January comes, your mind, body and liver will be in need of a decent break. So if you do just one sensible thing in November, keep this handy list of places where you can escape to peace, quiet and wellbeing when you need to.
Temenos Country Retreat
This retreat in McGregor in the Western Cape is surrounded by mountains and nature reserves. It offers traditional Cape cottages set in magnificent indigenous gardens. They offer several tranquil meditation spaces, health therapies, a lap swimming pool and a library. Booking is essential.
Call (023) 625-1871 or e-mail Temenos.
In Tzaneen, Northern Province and part of the five-star Coach House hotel, this designer spa offers you the chance to be rubbed, massaged, pampered and patted as you overlook some of the finest mountain views in the land. The garden suites are gorgeous and quiet, and there are lovely forest walks, an indoor and outdoor pool, and fine menu offering fresh local produce.
Call (015) 306-8000 or e-mail The Couch House.
Leodorus Health Hydro
This intimate thatch and brick spa in the Magaliesberg mountains offers tailor-made treatments for victims of the festive season. You can de-stress, detox and unwind in a lovely setting. There's a pool, gym, sauna, steam bath and all kinds of rejuvenating treatments available.
Call (012) 253-0370 or e-mail Leodorus.
Bijla Cana Wellness Centre
This beautifully restored old farmhouse on the edges of the lovely village of Prince Albert in the Karoo, offers you serious solitude and peace along with a range of holistic treatments that will sort out just about everything from your chakras to your karma. Their meditation and therapy rooms are set in tranquil Karoo gardens, and you'll get treated to wholesome, healthy food and awesome scenery.
Call (023) 541-1872 or e-mail Bijla Cana.
Mountain View Cottage
This Swiss-style thatched timber cottage is set in space and greenery in the heart of Swellendam in the Western Cape. Self-catering, charming (fresh colours, a fireplace and a loft) with room for four û Mountain View will arrange a team of healing angels to come to the cottage and perform assorted aromatherapy, reflexology, meditation and energy healing sessions.
Call (028) 514-3799 or 083-703-7986 or e-mail Mountain View Cottage.