There is nothing like staying in different hotels a few nights in a row to sort the wheat from the chaff …
I am going to start, not at the beginning, but from the top.
The Crags near Plettenberg Bay
From slick check-in (a glass of bubbly and a clipboard with a form requiring just a few scribbles) to a bedtime story left on the bedside table at evening turn-down, Hog Hollow exceeded every expectation.
Getting there was easy, thanks to confirmation email including clear directions and information about dinner on the first night.
Our suite, set on a slope overlooking layers and layers of forest and mountain, was fitted very stylishly and left us wanting for nothing. A fireplace was laid and ready for the pyromaniac, the mini-bar was stocked and ready for the rock star. There was even a music system and a few CDs.
We were tempted to order room service but the enormous, blazing fire pulled us back to the main terrace.
We were sorry to miss the full dinner, three courses served at communal tables or in smaller groups if you prefer, but a very nice seafood platter earlier at Joe Fish at Cape St Francis Resort had ruined us. We ate from the lighter menu: tasty little tarts (we do like those) filled with bacon and feta and salad, and a generous meat and cheese platter. Thumbs up to everything!
The setting is glorious. You feel as if you are deep in the Tsitsikamma Forest, which makes the lodge’s story of being built on land reclaimed from the invasive and murderous Australian Black Wattle all the more interesting.
From removing a spider from our room (not killing it, I was assured) to rushing over in minutes to fix a toilet that would not stop running, the staff could not have been friendlier or more obliging.
Our only regret was that we were there for just one night! This is definitely worth a return visit to enjoy the dinner and for a ride or walk in the mountains in the morning.
B&B: 40 Fraser
Howick, KwaZulu Natal
Friendly and comfortable accommodations with a hearty breakfast.
Perfectly nice although the bathroom in our room could have done with a deep scrub. Oh, and a little niggle, nowhere to hang a towel.
When the man of the house told me his story, I thought,
“How lovely … it takes all sorts etc … ho hum-de-hum …”
Him and his wife retired relatively young, and bought this place and did it up to sleep 14 paying guests. The B&B brings in enough to keep the wolves from the door and this warm and hospitable couple get to meet all sorts of interesting people – from a rocket scientist who works at Nasa to a worm farmer from Brits.
“How lovely, how earthy ho hum-de-hum …”
All went swimmingly well until our last morning when I thought I had cause to fear a clash of civilisations. A mixed-race lesbian couple were packing their car alongside a group of old Safrican petrolheads who were testing their sound systems and prepping their cars for a local motor show. The ladies averted their eyes; the blokes revved their engines and danced to Blarney Brothers-type classics. The End.
Good value, friendly, comfortable.
When satnav started failing us after a long day of dodging goats, road works, cows, road works, sheep, tractors, road works, donkey carts and road works we felt a little stressed. So we called the hotel for directions.
We were approaching Grahamstown so were delighted when the person who answered the telephone said:
“Ah Grahamstown, yes, that is where I am staying.”
Imagine our surprise then when he could not tell us anything about the route between where he works and where he lives except that it was
After another few calls and conversations with various other people, we had started to guess that students had been left unsupervised at reception. Thankfully, one Thomas came to the phone and rescued us.
MyPond is a training hospital … I mean hotel … and I wish we had been told when we made the reservation on booking.com, a hotel reservation site we use regularly. This information would have made quite a few mysterious moments (always attended by a cast of thousands) seem less so.
The location is great. My favourite thing about this hotel is the fact that it is just across the river from a micro-brewery.
The hotel is stylish, shiny and clean (as one might expect from a four-star boutique hotel), but it lacks the flair and sex appeal one might expect from a four-star boutique hotel. No USP here, as far as I can tell.
The dinner failed to excite and the breakfast was disappointing (crusty old croissant, stale toast). You would think one of the huge crew attending each encounter might have noticed (it took four people to deliver dinner to our room and three to deliver breakfast).
Even tho’ I learned recently (from the distiller at Inverroche, no less) that it takes some skill and effort to make a good G and T My Pond takes to apprenticeship to another level. Dozens of young people milling around us and the one other couple in the restaurant yet it took about 20 minutes to get our G and Ts to the table.
Game raising required!