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Taking your body and soul on holiday

If you need a short timeout from the city’s madness, you can opt for a massage and spa day at Entim Sidai, a peaceful sanctuary in the Karen suburbs of Nairobi

Zen water sounds meet us as we make our way into Entim Sidai Wellness spa and sanctuary. Beautiful water fountains and lush green lawns entice our eyes as brief well-thought-out notes strategically placed near our paths lead us right to the reception.

The ambience and the verdant scenery almost convince me that I am not in Nairobi. I soon forget the drama at work last week and our getting lost en route.

Located on Rura Drive off St Elizabeth Street in the suburbs of Karen, Nairobi, Entim Sidai opened in 2016. The street happens to be the first left turn after Karen roundabout if you are coming from town (Ngong Road), which is easy to miss if you are a speed whizz or don’t follow Google maps.

I settle for a full body massage (at a fee of about Sh7,000) and a paraffin wax pedicure at about Sh2,000. After filling in a form with my health information, I proceed to a warm beautifully scented dimly lit room.  Judy, my masseuse, introduces me to Narropil massage as soft string music plays in the background. This is a massage that uses essential oils and is geared towards rejuvenation.

Afterwards, I feel relaxed and languorous, basking in endorphins and relaxed muscles. I dress leisurely in a robe and join my colleague and the spa manager for a spot of tea.

Lucy Imison, the Entim Sidai manager, says ‘Entim Sidai’ is a Maasai word for ‘beautiful’ forest while ‘Rura Drive’ means peaceful. “We put special emphasis on naturally healing the body through water and the indigenous trees, which we take care of in the 14-acre forest. We also use local products and Kenyan-trained therapists,” she says. 

Lucy has a wealth of knowledge on not just the healing treatments that the spa offers, but also on useful fun tidbits about the spa. The beautifully renovated house is said to be the fourth stone house to be built in Kenya in 1924 by a Dr Patterson, also instrumental in construction of Kenyatta National Hospital.

The newest additions to the farmhouse are residential homes. The lodgings are open beginning this month for anyone who needs longer treatments or a quiet timeout from the city for longer than the 14 hours that the spa is open.

After tea, we tour the facility as we make our way to my pedicure appointment.  There is a hydrobath room where one can get a hydrotherapy treatment — said to be great for circulation and boosting immunity. Spa means healing by water; this is the room where that meaning is actualised. The glass treatment room (I am told it’s the only one of it’s kind in the world) blows me away. Situated underneath a Bombay tree, one can get a massage or any treatment they want while being one with nature.

Next to the glass treatment room are pathways which lead into the forest. One can take lone or guided walks into the woods, listen to the chirping of the birds, breathe in the fresh air, set the monthly goals and clear creative blocks. Or simply exercise to make you a better person healthwise and professionally.

We then head to the nail salon and facials bar,  all-glass-walled and ceilinged and set in a corner of the forest. I get my crusty feet waxed and coaxed into soft, cute appendages that I barely recognise.

I wonder, how good my face would look if I had a facial? I learn about the different rituals, signature treatments and packages that they have to offer. It touches me that they have an offering for 60-year-plus people — my mum’s age bracket —where they can do a choice of exercises and treatments followed by a campfire-sit-down.

I buy my mum a gift package for a whole day treatment, which I think is affordable, though she need not know. She absolutely loves and now I am her favourite daughter. I am also still on endorphin high, thanks to Entim Sidai and definitely coming back for more.

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