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Jenny Kouwenhoven was ardent about bringing an elevated beauty experience to Cape Town’s shores, and had the vision to create a luxury boutique spa. Her “atelier”, as she aptly named it, is located on the ground floor of the Capital Mirage complex — the building best known for boasting the most expansive rooftop views in the city — in the upmarket De Waterkant quarter.

Lume Beauty Atelier is no ordinary spa; rather, at Lume cosmetic disciplines combine to create a serene and opulent one-stop pamper enclave right in the heart of the city. Lume boasts a state-of-the-art hair and nail salon, a medi-spa, and three treatment rooms, but it took the designers’ exhaustive ingenuity to optimise and transform the modest 217m² space into the slick urban oasis it is today. Interior specialists ARRCC — part of the Saota group — were on hand to translate Kouwenhoven’s artful interior vision.

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Hands-on project director Jon Case devised the spa’s seamless layout. “The genius of the space is how we have managed to fit all the offerings into a compact building shell without it feeling claustrophobic,” he says. The splendid transformation of the “shell” into an ultra-modern, maze-like sanctuary imbues a luxe sense of privacy and serenity from the onset. The store-front reveals a nail bar steeped in contemporary boudoir finishings, and perfectly lit display shelves showcasing premium beauty elixirs, sourced and tested by Kouwenhoven on her global travels.

Entering the opulent foyer, one is struck by Lume’s alluring motif of white and gold — the plush Italian Minotti furniture and lavish slabs of veined white marble are a reassuring nod that no expense has been spared. Mirrored walls and vertical French oak panels between nooks create a trompe l’oeil illusion within the space, a detail carried out in gold throughout the glass walls.

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Lume has imported anti-ageing medi-spa techniques coveted by A-listers, making the reversal of time finally accessible to all who yearn for it. The treatment menu reads like an encyclopaedia, and while the full body massage was heavenly — every treatment room has its own en-suite marble bathroom, complete with Axor Starck glass taps, stone basins and a steam shower — it is the vast array of facials performed in hi-tech treatment chambers that sets Lume apart from the rest. With more than a dozen facial options, including the Age-Defiance facial, Optimal Nutri, Hydreclat Moisturising, Oxygenating VIP O2, and the like, using Biologique Recherche, Académie Scientifique de Beauté, and Terres D’Afrique products, Lume has a cure for whatever ails your visage. Halfway through my cleansing facial, nodding off to the soothing sounds of whale calls, permeating essential oils, and my therapist’s gentle hands, for a moment I believed I’d drifted off into a futuristic world designed by Apple and decorated by Versace — I didn’t want to wake up.

My imminent return will definitely include a haircut: the chairs simply look too inviting and it’s about time I tested out the famed Oribe product range.

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