When I give tours I often get asked the best place to go for a spa treatment. And my honest reply is that I've only ever been to the one place - the SoSpa at Sofitel Santa Clara. To say that I have always been satisfied is probably the biggest understatement of anyone in the history of the world ever.
The whole experience begins when you enter the luxury hotel, pass the crisply uniformed staff, make your way past the enORmous pool, try not to stare at all the hot brazilian women rocking their thong bikinis, climb the grand staircase and open the doors to the spa. It's cool. It's fresh. It smells like a combination of white florals and tropical fruits. Friendly people greet you. Yes. You think to yourself. This is going to be nice.
You fill in the form and hope no one sees you stuffing your face with the mountain of complimentary dark chocolate squares that fill giant glass vases on the tables. Ditto to the granadilla you crack open and eat. Those friendly people bring you a mint or lavendar infused cold compress and delicious fruity ice-tea served in pretty little cups. You're in bliss and you haven't so much as stuck a single foot into those complimentary white slippers, let alone started any treatments.
Depending upon the treatment you choose, you may also receive access to the pool, gym and turkish steam room as part of the experience. Don't pass this up! I would actually suggest making the appointment for the afternoon, and then spending the morning getting sweaty on the treadmill then in the steam room (they call it a Hammam), showering in showers with actual hot water, sunning yourself by the pool, doing laps, and using the enormously large fluffy towels and high end toiletries. By the time the treatment actually happens you'll be in a state of total feel-good relaxation it wouldn't matter if the your massage was performed by a clod, it would still feel amazing.
But ofcourse, this being Cartagena's number 1 luxury hotel, the lovely people giving you your treatments are definitely not clods. They are very professional, experienced, smiley, sweet, gentle angels who aren't afraid to rip into your tensed-up muscles if that's what they need. All the Spa services you would expect from a five-star establishment are available: massages, exfoliation, full full-body wraps, pedicures, manicures, beauty etc etc Although most items on the treatment menu use expensive-feeling nature-derived products from Sisley (so nice!), there's also treatments that use the energising and anti-celulitis properties of Colombian coffee, and recently the Spa has developed an extremely special treatment that uses Colombian emeralds as the centrepiece of the treatment.
My first time to the Santa Clara SoSpa was to celebrate the birthday of my gorgeous friend, Tess. We were scaley, dirty, dry and damaged after months of travelling on a budget. The Spa day totally revived and renewed us. As we sat in the post-treatment tea room, clean and plumped by products, wrapped up in giant white towels and nibbling on almonds and walnuts drizzled with honey, we caught each other's eye and just started giggling at the incredible luxuriousness of it all.
Anyway, it all adds up to an amazing treat of an experience.
What's the damage?
I'm going to have to check this, but I think we chose 3 items from the spa menu - an entree (I think this can be a pedicure or maybe an exfoliation), a main (this can be a massage or facial maybe) and a dessert (maybe a wrap?), then we got to use the Hammam steam room, gym, pool, eat chocolates and nuts and fruit AND use the straightening iron in the bathroom all for around 310,000 COP (to be confirmed).
And I think the amazing Sisley 2-hour facials cost around 200,000 COP (again TBC).