SECRET STAYS AND HOLIDAY INSPIRATION IN SOUTH AFRICA
Now I am a little older and lucky enough to have friends all over the world. I was invited to a school friend’s wedding in South Africa as her bridesmaid. Such an honour, I could not turn it down - or the opportunity for an adventure.
Initially, I was plagued with anxiety. I worried about the cost of the flight, and, particularly as I was travelling alone, the danger.
So l started to look for places online in the village she was getting married, Franschhoek, which is next door to the better known Stellenbosch. I found a deal on booking.com for the last room available at Lavender Farm Guest House. I looked at the website and it was about the most dreamy thing I had ever seen; these little cottages surrounded by lavender fields. And it was at an amazing price. The next thing I knew I had taken the plunge and booked the room and thought I will work out the flights later. Then I let my friend know I was all set to come.
As an expat in Sydney, I live an enviable life. I enjoy running on the beach, a warm climate and delicious food. All of this is amazing, but it doesn’t replace your friends and family and sometimes you just miss them.
So I asked one of my best friends in the UK if she wanted to meet me there for that week. Excitingly, she accepted and even luckier for me she’s a whizz at booking hotels. So here is my write-up for four beautiful boutique hotels we stayed at. They were all so wonderful, with friendly, helpful staff, well-priced and incredibly relaxing. I hope this inspires you to make South Africa your next destination.
O On Kloof
O On Kloof was our first stop and I must say was the best start to our trip we could have hoped for. I arrived later than my friend and was greeted by a balcony, a glass of champagne, and my friend. We were allowed to sit on the balcony for hours catching up, drinking, smoking and generally having a wonderful time. I even had left over sushi and dumplings which were absolutely delicious. By the way, the food in South Africa is just incredible, from the sushi to the seafood to the fine dining - they do have it all.
O On Kloof feels like a boutique, city hotel with plenty of creature comforts and quality. It had the most amazing bath and huge shower which made me happy and relaxed, especially after a bath with Epson Salts on my first two mornings. Then we would have breakfast with a full spread of fruits, cheese, ham, bread and cereals or a cooked breakfast if you prefer. Coming from Sydney, the coffee is, of course, not quite as good as I’m used to, but overall it was a great start to the day.
Patricia, the manager, welcomes you with a friendly smile and is extremely helpful with anything from advice to bookings or a cheery chat. South Africans love to chat!
Here are some photos below. It’s fair to say we absolutely loved this place, the decor, the friendly staff and the location. It was a beautiful luxurious, small hotel and really got us in the mood for our week away. See more on their website, http://www.oonkloof.co.za
Lavender Farm Guest House
Lavender Farm Guest House was all it was cracked up to be and more. Close to the main strip of Franschhoek it was a little white building surrounded by lavender fields, ponies, mountains and wineries. What more could you ask for?
We got there and we had a half a little cottage, with a front room area with coffee, tea, a wardrobe and a sofa and then the main bedroom which was a decent size, had little windows each side of the bed with lavender artwork to decorate the room.
It was the perfect place to stay for four nights. They had a decent breakfast, a beautiful pool and it was a wonderful stay. It’s a short walk from the main town which is renowned for its art galleries, restaurants and wineries. Surrounded by mountains and sunshine it couldn’t have been more delightful.
Franschhoke is about the most dreamy place you can imagine
Recommended by Lavender Guest House, one morning we went on an early morning ride with Peter and Paradise Stables
Peter chatting away happily on horseback
Lavender Guest House early in the morning. See more on their website, http://www.lavenderfarmfranschhoek.co.za
The Boschendall is the absolute ultimate wedding venue and has the most beautiful cottages you can stay in. Although I didn’t spend the night here, I did spent time in the cottages for the day before the wedding getting ready and looking around. Photos below, if you ever get the chance to visit Franschhoek I would highly recommend looking into staying here.
An African Villa
We ended our trip at An African Villa in Cape Town. The owners have converted three town houses into a beautiful villa. The decor is rather fabulous showing a real passion for the African culture of South Africa. Everywhere you look there are sculptures, paintings, ceramics (which SA is famous for), cloth and photographs.
You really feel like you are in an African villa.
We were greeted by Keith who was extremely helpful even though I was tired and hung-over from our wedding celebration extravaganza. He kindly pushed on and showed us around the kitchen, where to book a taxi, how to get in after 8pm. I must say it’s not as glamorous as O On Kloof but it is organised extremely efficiently and we really appreciated that.
The breakfast was yummy with homemade healthy bread, cheese, tomatoes, the best fruit salad we had seen, seeds and yoghurt and of course eggs done any way you want. They also had free cake, amazing! And on our last morning warm frittatas and plenty of ladies to help pour you more coffee or feed you to your heart’s content.
We were extremely comfortable in our two nights here. It seemed to be a safe district and a short walk from some really nice bars, restaurants and cafes. Our last meal was at a Mexican where were enjoyed tacos and a margarita and then a short walk home to get a decent night’s sleep before our travels.
It’s fairly easy and cheap to get taxis to the shopping malls, or the beaches or Long Street which is where a lot of the restaurants and nightlife are, so I would highly recommend this as a great place to stay for a few days while enjoying all that Cape Town has to offer.
Click to visit website here: http://www.anafricanvilla.co.za