The views out to the sparkling Indian Ocean are stunning. I’m told that the waters off lovely Port Elizabeth are some of the best in the world for dolphin-spotting, but I’m busy exploring the city and the Route 67 art walk this visit, so the dolphins will have to wait for next time.
The Boardwalk Hotel, one of Sun International’s properties, has a prime location in sunny Port Elizabeth along the Golden Mile. You can enjoy the spectacular views from the balcony of your room (each of the 140 rooms faces the ocean), from the pool on the second floor, or through the immense windows of the first-floor restaurant and lounge. Or cross the street to the beach to take a swim and admire the view back to the hotel’s Victorian-style architecture. There’s a chance of seeing dolphins from each location.
The Boardwalk’s well-appointed spacious rooms and suites have a private balcony with views out to the sea. They come with all the accessories and comforts you’d expect, plus a gorgeous bathtub in addition to the separate shower room. Whether you’re in Port Elizabeth with kids, for a relaxing vacation, or for work, you’ll be pleased with your stay at the five-star Boardwalk.
The hotel is located within The Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment World. In addition to the casino, there are on-property shops and dining, including several places ideal for kids. Don’t miss the twice-nightly (thrice on weekends) Lake Spectacular Light Show with dancing fountains. There’s also dining within the hotel, including the buffet breakfast, included in rates.
Port Elizabeth is known as South Africa’s Friendly City and you will feel welcomed and relaxed as you stroll along the beach, through town, or admiring the works of art that make up Route 67, the art walk celebrating the 67 years Nelson Mandela spent in political activism.
The Table Bay is THE address in Cape Town. Not only for travellers who want a five-star stay and the best views of Table Mountain and the V&A Waterfront. Not only for Nelson Mandela himself (it was his favourite hotel in Cape Town). But The Table Bay is the Cape Town address preferred by Oscar the Fur Seal and his descendants.
A fur seal made friends with a fisherman and visited him at the waterfront every day, even coming into the quay from the open water between Robben Island and the city’s shores. When this immaculate five-star hotel was being built in the late 1990s, workers would join the seal and the fisherman, Oscar, on the waterfont, impressed with the unlikely friendship between the two.
Oscar died shortly after The Table Bay opened, but the seal would still come to the pier every morning looking for him. Staff named him Oscar, after the fisherman, and he continued to visit with his pups until he died. His great-grandpups still bask in the sun on Table Bay’s jetty. Danie De Jager created a sculpture honouring Oscar, which sits outside the hotel’s stunning lounge. Whether you’re sitting on the patio or inside, be sure to make a toast to the seal and to friendships made in South Africa with an Oscar Lager.
The Table Bay is the rare hotel that gets the combination of friendliness and service perfection right. The hotel is luxurious but you don’t feel like anyone is judging you whether you’ve chosen to dine at the Atlantic dressed to the nines, just want a relaxing and casual day visiting the spa or hanging out at the pool, or return tired after exploring the top of Table Mountain but want to sit down for a snack.
The Table Bay’s luxe rooms are decorated in beautiful shades of Sun gold (the hotel is a Sun International property). They have every amenity you could want, as well as twice-daily turndown service to make sure your towels are fluffed, your Nespresso machine and shortbread cookies stocked, and you have anything else you might need. There’s a huge range of accommodation types so you can have a room or a suite with views of the sea, Table Mountain or Signal Hill.
Hotel facilities and services include a heated outdoor pool (which is in the sun throughout the day), a spa, a health club and gym with views out to Robben Island, formal afternoon tea, complimentary shuttle service to various highlights in Cape Town, and even a foraging tour with hotel chefs.
Given Cape Town’s water crisis, The Table Bay has an impressive strategy to reduce the use of this precious commodity. This includes significant water reduction activities as well as encouraging guests to make sustainable choices (for example, you’ll need to ask for the plug for your beautiful bathtub, and are instead encouraged to take a two-minute shower, as well as use hand sanitizer and even a toilet water neutraliser to reduce flushing; you’re even asked to use bottled water rather than tap for drinking and for making coffee and tea).
Like Nelson Mandela and Oscar, you’re sure to love your experience at The Table Bay.
Located on what is known as Africa’s “richest square mile”, The DAVINCI is a modern city hotel ideal for those visiting Johannesburg on business or for pleasure. The hotel is in Legacy Corner, part of Nelson Mandela Square in Johannesburg’s suburb of Sandton.
Entering The DAVINCI, I’m struck by the stunning black and white vases decorating the entrance way and by the tall ceilings of the sitting area. Up one floor to reception, there’s more vivid art waiting in welcome, with cozy corners for relaxing. Off the lobby is a two-tiered deck with umbrellas surrounding the infinity pool.
More beautiful design in blacks, whites and greys is up in the rooms and suites. The tree branch wallpaper behind the bed reminds me that I’m in South Africa with its incredible national parks. Guests can choose a king bed or two twins, or suites with up to three bedrooms. Some rooms have patios with views over the swimming pool.
I loved the spacious bathroom with tub, separate rooms for shower and toilet, and the organized closet with a space for everything beside the sink. The Charlotte Rhys amenities revitalized me after my long flight. For those travelling with someone else, the bathroom can be separated from the rest of the room with sliding glass doors and curtains.
With mini-fridge, Nespresso maker and the 40-inch TV with more than 50 channels, it is tempting to just curl up and relax in this comfortable room. But you can’t be in Johannesburg without seeing the sites around the hotel as well as those in and around the city. Johannesburg’s top sites, like Constitution Hill and Soweto, will surely be on your list. But don’t miss the contemporary art galleries and boutiques in the Keyes Art Mile and save lots of room for sampling the array of snacks at the Neighbourgoods Market in the Braamfontein neighbourhood.
While I’m sure The DAVINCI’s room service is excellent, don’t miss breakfast at the Maximillien Restaurant, below the lobby off the mall. You can order off the menu or choose selections from the elegant buffet (or both). Staff are warm and friendly and dishes go well beyond typical buffets. The light-filled room is also open for lunch and dinner.
Dining is also available surrounding the swimming pool and in the DAVINCI lounge. Sample some of the world’s rarest whiskies (accompanied by a cigar, if you like) at the Maxim Lounge.
The Legacy Group also has beach resorts, safari lodges and city hotels in South Africa’s best destinations and beyond.
The small, three-story O on Kloof Boutique Hotel and Spa has only has eight rooms and the staff know how to make you feel special. From the moment of inquiry to the moment we left, the staff was amazing. They had champagne ready on arrival, they talked to us about our day and our upcoming plans. They asked what we’d already seen and wanted to help with the rest of our stay. They really made an effort to get to know us. For that reason alone they have a lot of repeat customers. I know I didn’t want to leave and already wanted to start planning my next stay.
On reservation, you can reserve the room of your choice, whether it be an ocean view or a view of the mountain. Each of the eight rooms is unique. Our room was pool side and opened up to a spacious balcony. It was a quiet escape from downtown Cape Town and the tourist strip of Camps Bay, yet a short walk to the ocean and many great restaurants. If you don’t want to walk, the staff is on standby to call a great cab company (with fair rates, which can be an issue in Cape Town).
The hotel may be small but there are plenty of amenities, including a pool, workout room and spa on site, as well as a comfortable lobby that feels like home. You don’t need to leave the comforts of the property in order to be pampered.
Breakfast is included in your stay and served on the balcony or in the dining room overlooking the ocean. The staff is there to make sure you have everything you need to start your day off on the right foot. They are also there to make sure you have a great end to your night, including complimentary sherry or cocktails made to order. It’s a great spot to watch the sun go down in the comforts of the leather couches.
O on Kloof is small in size but big on style and service. You won’t regret your stay at this beautiful boutique hotel. All the comforts of home with the pampering of a large hotel.