Some 40 years ago, Madeleine and I went on a trip down the Garden Route or is it up the Garden Route. It’s East, so perhaps sideways? We spent a couple of nights at the old Lookout Hotel in Plettenberg Bay. There was a restaurant on the beach called The Why Not, where we had more than our fill of the Belgian owner’s fabulous food. It is a memory we will hold dear.
Plettenberg Bay is the ultimate holiday resort. Capetonians love “Plett”, especially in the June school holidays as the weather is mild with lovely warm sunshiny days. The late Gerald and Liz McGrath loved their time in Plettenberg Bay and bought the hotel with a resolution to one day recondition the building. Later Mrs McGrath bought a small shopping centre in which she opened an art gallery. In 1996 The Plettenberg was transformed from the virtually derelict but superbly situated one-star Lookout Hotel, to what it is today, a place where the rich and famous could enjoy one of the most dramatic and beautiful views in the world. During 1996, Mrs McGrath acquired another property opposite the hotel. Here she built the Blue Wing, which consists of 15 rooms and suites boasting even more breath-taking views. Today, The Plettenberg, which is situated on a rocky headland overlooking Lookout Beach, is a beautiful 5-star hotel and sister to the Relais et Châteaux The Cellars Hohenort Hotel in Constantia, in the southern suburbs of Cape Town and The Marine in Hermanus.
And The Grande Dame of Plettenberg Hospitality has had a recent makeover. The interior redesign was headed by the daughters of the late and much-loved Liz McGrath, Lesley Kelly and Susan Nathan, who co-own the hotel along with their brother Michael McGrath, the Liz McGrath Collection’s current chairperson. Lesley and Susan add their aesthetic style to all three of the group’s hotels, including the Marine in Hermanus and the Relais & Châteaux Cellars-Hohenort in Constantia. The duo has had extensive experience in interior design through developing their own luxury properties and from their many years of travelling and experiencing other five-star hotels around the world and have lent their expertise to crafting the new look at The Plettenberg.
The Plettenberg has 35 beautiful bedrooms and two family villas, the Lookout Villa and The Beach House.
The Lookout Villa has three en-suite bedrooms, a spacious open lounge dining room and a well-stocked galley. All the mod cons of Satellite TV, DVD players, a private swimming pool and magnificent views of the Southern Indian Ocean with its whales and dolphins. I won’t mention the squawking seagulls! Too late, they add to the lovely maritime scene.
Guests staying at The Beach House have easy access to the hotel and all its amenities in the adjacent buildings, while being able to relish the privacy this accommodation option offers. Two bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms lead off a large sitting room with fireplace, a dining room and a small service kitchen. The house has all the bells and whistles with flat-screen televisions, satellite TV channels and DVD players. The Beach House is perfect for families or friends travelling together.
The world-class cuisine from the kitchen team headed up by Executive Chef Kaylinn Shabalala, can be experienced at SeaFood at The Plettenberg, where fresh seafood is the order of the day. Drawing on the bounteous seafoods found in Plettenberg Bay, Blackened Tuna Tataki and Mossel Bay Sole, is on the menu, while Grass-Fed Beef Fillet and Laingsburg Lamb will meet the carefully created eclectic wine list. Kaylinn works closely with local suppliers in order to ensure that ingredients are always seasonal and kept at a superb level of quality.
The more casual Café Menu offers hearty dishes such as ‘Proper Fish & Chips’, Charcuterie Platters and the PlettenBurger [There’s no Burger like a PlettenBurger]. Guests may also book ahead to enjoy High Tea at the restaurant, or indeed any place of their choice in the Hotel. The indoor dining section of Seafood offers beautiful views of the pool and ocean, while the outdoor terrace is perfect for alfresco dinners, with mesmerising ocean vistas – especially at sunset.
There is much to do in the area. A forest canopy tour, a visit to the Elephant Sanctuary, Monkeyland or Birds of Eden and several wineries. Polo also has a home in Plettenberg Bay.
Leading off The Sun Lounge of The Plettenberg, The Sandbar is an exquisite, contemporary cocktail bar and lounge frequented by local patrons, as well as South Africans who choose to holiday in Plettenberg Bay. The glass, white leather, marble and natural oak finishes blend to form a striking design, highlighted by clever lighting. The large photographic panels on the walls offer an outdoor perspective of the Plettenberg Bay area. Throughout the day, The Sandbar is the perfect meeting spot for drinks and tea, and in the evenings, it is ideal for enjoying award-winning South African wines, a variety of champagnes and an array of carefully crafted signature cocktails.
The Fresh Wellness Spa menu features a range of indulgent signature treatments and spa packages for ladies, gents and couples. A key focus of all treatments at Fresh Wellness Spa is the use of natural and indigenous ingredients such as plant and marine-infused skin and body care products, which are used in the massages.
For your comfort please read through the Spa Etiquette & Policies prior to arrival on the day of your treatment.
Winter Open Times (1 May to 30 September)
Monday to Saturday: 09h00 to 18h00
Sunday: 09h00 to 14h00
If you are looking for class and comfort, The Plettenberg is the place. If you are looking for fine cuisine and an eclectic selection of wines, cocktails and other beverages, The Plettenberg is the place. If you want outdoor activities, on the beach or at the many attractions, The Plettenberg is the place.
Just get there. Soon.
To read more about The Plettenberg – CLICK HERE