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Washing our Guests’s hands at JAN (A Custom since 2016)

Something I’ve always found fascinating is how certain customs move in and out of our lives over time – like the tide. Barely 6 months ago, our concept of hygiene looked very different to what it does now, but quite coincidentally, about 3 years ago, we introduced the concept of offering our guests at JAN an old-fashioned hand wash in an old bowl, much like our great grandparents’ generation did before the conveniences of modern-day plumbing.

To me, it was a way of transporting my guests to the world of my heritage – one which they would have found familiar, as our ancestors would have lived similar lives. It was a port of call of sorts, as if to say we’re not that different; and of setting the scene, offering a preview of what they were about to experience.

As the seasons change, we make minor tweaks to the fragrance and temperature of the water; from a gentle lavender, buchu and cassis handwash in cold water during the summer months, we switch to a lukewarm wash infused with potpourri rose petals and rooibos herb for our autumn guests.

JAN | Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen | Washing our Guests's hands at JAN (A Custom since 2016)

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always found solace in my heritage. Whenever life throws me a curveball, I usually find my answers in the past. Who was it that said, “The past is like a foreign country?” I say travel broadens the mind.

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