When it comes to planning a road trip in the Western Cape, it should come as no surprise that the Garden Route is one of the most popular choices. Maxine Volker followed the route all the way to Plett, with The Plettenberg Hotel as the final destination.
The Garden Route, which stretches from Mossel Bay in the West to Storms River in the East, is a beautiful drive – one of the very few routes that people prefer to travel by car, as the landscapes and scenery are unrivalled.
We began our trip in Cape Town and made our way up the Garden Route, through Knysna, the Wilderness and finally Plettenberg Bay. As a South African who has visited these towns before, there was not one aspect of our trip that I did not enjoy.
However, when we arrived in Plettenberg Bay – our final destination – and made our way to The Plettenberg Hotel, I knew that this was the place. Our three-day stay at the hotel was everything I imagined it would be … and more.
Every year, tourists and locals alike make their way to the seaside town of Plettenberg Bay. Sitting along the famous Garden Route, with its glistening ocean and beaches that seem to stretch on forever, Plett exudes an aura of relaxation.
Situated on a rocky headland about as close to the ocean as one can get is The Plettenberg – a place that showcases the most breath-taking vistas in Southern Africa. With spectacular views of the ocean, mountains, and endless stretches of golden sand, The Plettenberg is the crème de la crème of beach hotels.
From the moment I arrived, I was impressed by the genuine warmth of the hotel staff and I knew immediately that the reputation of this hotel precedes it. Additionally, the five-star Liz McGrath Collection hotel has recently undergone a revamp to embrace contemporary cachet whilst still retaining its tasteful charm.
The interior redesign project was headed by the daughters of the late and much-loved Liz McGrath. Lesley Kelly and Susan Nathan co-own the hotel along with their brother Michael McGrath, who is the current chairperson of the Liz McGrath Collection. Kelly and Nathan have both had extensive interior design experience, and this, coupled with their many years of travelling and visiting other international five-star hotels, has resulted in a flawless revamp.
Although much of the hotel has undergone interior refurbishment, the primary goal was to overhaul its newly renamed Garden Room, Blue Room, and private villas to embrace everything that The Plettenberg stands for. The goal was to bring a contemporary feel to the Garden Room and Blue Room as the designers felt that these rooms were not in keeping with the rest of the hotel.
The aptly titled Garden Room, which was previously decorated in a more subtle style, offers guests a magnificent view from Robberg to Nature’s Valley and the mountains in the East. My attention was grabbed by the new striking botanical wallpaper. With its clean and natural lines, the wallpaper is a focal point in the room, providing a bold counterpart to the surrounding sea view.
“It is a special room to soak up the view of the beach, mountains, and ocean, so a strong wallpaper was selected and accentuated with white pots and lush indoor plants, and cream sofas with lovely turquoise cushions,” the sisters explain. I am no expert in interior design, but even I knew right off the bat that they got it right.
When it came to the redesign of the Blue Room – the other common area of The Plettenberg, and one which I could see myself curled up on the couch reading for hours – Kelly and Nathan explain that they intended to create an aesthetically-pleasing space which invites guests to sit back and relax.
“We decided that because The Plettenberg is situated at the most spectacular site overlooking the ocean, we would introduce the wonderful colours of the sea and the Plett skies. These same colours are reflected in the suites and rooms throughout the hotel, where turquoise tones and blues prevail,” they explain. In addition, inspiration was drawn from a famous hotel in Capri where the colours used are similar to the darker sea areas of Plettenberg Bay.
Upon walking into the Blue Room, guests are greeted with a dynamic sense of life and leisure. A striking darker shade of blue now sets the tone, which contrasted with clean white lines and shapes results in a calming yet dynamic aesthetic, which is rather easy on the eyes.
Lastly, and secluded from the all-access rooms, was the revamp of the private villa interiors. We were lucky enough to call one of these villas home for a few days. The villas, which are spacious and flooded with natural light, are awash with the hues of the ocean. One of the newly refurbished villas, the Lookout Villa, gives guests stand-out views of the bay. With a private patio and pool, this villa is the perfect choice for those who are after a luxurious yet classic beach holiday.
Personally, I love a good road trip. There is something about driving down a seemingly never-ending open road that somehow puts things into perspective. My trip through the Garden Route was an experience I would not forget, but my stay at our final destination, The Plettenberg Hotel, was the highlight of the trip for me.
The revamp was undoubtedly a success. The hotel and private villas embody everything that a seaside getaway entail – beauty, luxury, and relaxation. ”
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