Luxury rehab centres started popping up in the 1980s and yes, for a long time they were the domain of the rich and famous. If you were fabulously wealthy or enjoyed celebrity status, you could slip away discretely and spend time recuperating at a high-heel rehab centre. If you weren’t, you more than likely found yourself subjected to a punishing regime at a facility that favoured a bootcamp approach to treating addiction.
The no-frills approach where inpatients find themselves making their own beds, peeling potatoes and washing dishes has its roots in the 12-step programme that advocates the need to humble an addict; to cultivate resilience and gratitude in a physically-demanding or uncomfortable environment to get them to acknowledge their addiction and make them take responsibility for it.
The hard-core bootcamp approach works for some but certainly not for the majority, if you take a look at the historically low success rates of complete recovery. It perpetuates the notion that addiction is a ‘punishable’ offence and fuels the stigma associated with seeking treatment for alcohol and drug addiction. It certainly does nothing for the men and women who already battle with low self-esteem and chronic self-depreciation.
Why luxury rehab is growing in popularity
Luxury rehab emerged to meet the demand for more privacy and comfort but today the resort-like addiction treatment centers like White River Manor have a far more serious role to play. This is because there has been a striking shift from ‘punishment’ to compassion when it comes to understanding and treating addiction. And don’t be mislead into thinking compassion is a weaker approach.
The true meaning of compassion means “to suffer together”. It’s defined as the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to relieve that suffering. It’s not the same as empathy or altruism, though the concepts are related.
If you pick out the dominant emotion “feel motivated to relieve that suffering”, you’ll understand why compassion is such an integral part of the philosophy that underpins the new-age approach to treating any addiction. Compassionate treatment means treating the whole person; mind, body and soul.
Luxury rehab: is it worth the money you pay?
Kit Harington who played Jon Snow in the legendary Game of Thrones television series recently booked himself into a luxury rehab for stress and alcohol use, reportedly spending $120 000 for the month. Both Britney Spears and Ben Affleck have paid more than one visit to the posh Promises Treatment Centre at a cost of about $36 000 for a 30-day stay; and David Hasselhoff and Stephen Baldwin both paid $40 000 for four weeks at the Passages Rehab Facility.
These are some of the figures you’ll hear bandied about when the press pick up on a celebrity discreetly slipping off to the California rehab highway. And when you look at those price tags, it’s no wonder luxury rehab centres like White River Manor in South Africa are growing in popularity as an international destination for addiction treatment.
A 30-day all-inclusive stay at White River Manor costs you in the region of USD$7 000 (about R100 000), which is roughly $250 per day (about R3 650 pd). That’s the basic price and increases if you book into the Presidential Suite or one of their private executive villas. It excludes your return flight to South Africa and the medical detox if needed.
If these figures leave you feeling somewhat gob smacked, you may wonder if luxury rehab is worth the price you pay.
Firstly, luxury is relative. Each stand-alone executive suite at White River Manor is stylishly decorated and the grand manor house has been elegantly refurbished. The 100-year old garden is gorgeous and serene and healthy meals are prepared by an executive chef. However, all this is the norm for the type of client that arrives at White River Manor; who’s opted for an addiction treatment centre that promises exclusivity and anonymity.
The real cost lies in the rehabilitation service offering. White River Manor approaches addiction treatment or executive burnout with a multi-disciplinary team that ranges from a psychiatrist, psychologist and counsellors to a trained nursing sister, executive chef, cognitive behaviour therapist, music and art therapist, physiotherapist and professional life coach.
Everyone is specialized in the field of addiction treatment and has years of experience in treating addiction, executive burnout and mental disorders that co-occur with addiction.
White River Manor advocates an open-trust approach to addiction therapy so clients have access to free Wi-Fi and a fully-equipped business centre which allows them to continue with their daily lives relatively uninterrupted. There’s also a deli onsite that provides clients with delicious coffee and healthy snacks between the main meals of the day.
A luxury vehicle is available to take clients to Akeso Hospital for their medical detox, for daily excursions and round-trip transfers from Johannesburg and the local KMIA airport. White River Manor is fenced and fully secure, with 24-hour security and guards patrolling the property.
A laundry service and turn-down service are standard and a beautician and masseuse visit White River Manor when needed. There’s a sparkling pool for refreshing swims and daily sports and recreational activities in the garden.
More than luxury and exclusivity
If you take luxury and exclusivity as a given at White River Manor, it’s location is what sets it apart and offers clients more for their money. Located in the lush Lowveld (Mpumalanga Province in northern South Africa), White River is the gateway to the iconic Kruger National Park and the premier safari destinations in Greater Kruger. It’s ideally located to the major tourist attractions in the region, including the famous Panorama Route, Kaapsehoop and Hazyview.
When White River Manor’s clients are ready to join in on the daily excursions, they have the choice of a full-day safari tour in the Kruger Park, elephant interaction at Elephant Whispers, helicopter rides over Blyde River Canyon, adventure sports in Hazyview, horse riding or Sedgeway rides in Kaapsehoop, golf at the legendary Leopard Creek golf course, mountain biking and wonderful day hikes in the stunning Lowveld surrounds.
The best that the Lowveld has to offer is all a reasonable drive away in a luxury air-conditioned car. And if you’d like to venture further as an extension to your stay; White River Manor is a 2-3 hour drive from the popular coastal resorts in Mozambique and the Big 5 premier game reserves in Swaziland.
So, what do you get for the price you pay for 30-days at White River Manor in South Africa?
A multi-disciplinary team dedicated to your full recovery; healthy eating, exercise and daily excursions to restore mind, body and soul; compassionate and caring staff committed to making your stay as pleasant and comfortable as possible; an opportunity to explore one of the most scenic regions of southern Africa; and luxury accommodation and facilities that take the ‘punishment’ out of rehabilitation and boosts self-esteem.
It’s hard to put a price tag on your recovery but it does sound like luxury rehab at a destination like White River Manor is worth the cost.
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