When I was a kid, my parents loved to go to the Drakensberg. We’d stay in great hotels and enjoy buffet breakfast and then really just enjoy the area around the hotel. As I got older, and I started travelling by myself through work, the novelty of hotels wore off. They became places that were really just about clean sheets and a hot shower. Other than that, I never expected much else, and never really received anything to brag about. Mostly, I’d just come home with stories of the strange people that had shared the same hotel as me.
Arriving in Plettenberg Bay a few weeks ago by way of the Otter Trail, I was ready for clean sheets and that hot shower. I’d been staying in a tiny hut for four nights without power, hot water or a pillow. My standards were pretty low at that point.
Stepping into The Plettenberg hotel was an experience in itself. The immediate charm came from the blend of the staff and the modern interior of the reception area. We were greeted and told in basically the same breath that as soon as we were ready, we’d be heading to Fresh Wellness Spa for a massage. It was the equivalent of somebody offering me my own personal island, and I was going to enjoy every moment of it.
After a bath, a nap and a change of clothes (it was so amazing to put on clean socks), I headed down to Fresh Wellness just outside the entrance of the hotel. It’s a great, little spa that I’ll blog about a little more another day. In short, the massage was ridiculous and instantly remedied me of any aches and pains remnant from finishing the Otter Trail that morning.
Dinner that night was on another level. Sitting down at SeaFood to experience their tasting menu was a pleasure, looking at over Plettenberg Bay’s curve of the beach while enjoying each excellently-paired wine is something I’d recommend to anybody visiting this popular holiday town, even if you’re not staying at the hotel. Course after delectable course floated across my place setting, each offering something different in it’s own unique fashion. Being part of The Collection by Liz McGrath, this hotel’s menu is overseen by executive chef Peter Tempelhoff, so you need to understand that this wasn’t just any meal.
My photos of the meal are terrible and do it absolutely no justice, so I’ve decided not to put those up. But trust me, it was a beautiful, beautiful thing that dinner.
Cleaning off the last dessert plate, I climbed the stairs and collapsed straight into bed. One of the great pieces of advice I got from a previous guest of The Plettenberg was to be up early enough to see the sunrise from my window. Drifting off, I realised I hadn’t set an alarm and was too exhausted to get up and do it either, figuring a sunrise was as good as it could be anywhere.
Waking up though in the dark (who knows why), made me curious enough to get out of bed and drag my blankets to lie next to window in the dark. I made myself some coffee, got my camera and wished myself Happy Birthday, almost forgetting leading up to the day that I was turning 29. I can’t describe how happy I was that I’d woken up when I did. Looking out over the bay at the purple fading to be replaced by the telltale streaks of an orange sunrise, I’ve never felt more content, or more excited for the next chapter in my life.
What scared me about my birthday this year is that I’d be by myself, no family or close friends to wake up with, no boyfriend snuggles (he’ll blush if I tell you how much I missed him that day). I chose to take a trip, half work half play, that separated me from my life for three weeks, it just so happened that my birthday fell right in the middle of it. After a long period of reflection, I got dressed in something red, as I always do on my birthday, and headed down to breakfast.
A champagne breakfast overlooking the ocean was definitely a good way to start. Bubbles, fresh fruit, the tiniest of delicious pastries and even some sweeter-than-sweet birthday wishes made me feel like queen for the day.
Sadly, my visit was short, but I definitely would like to go back and spend some more time as a guest at The Plettenberg. The staff, big rooms, delicious fare and excellent spa are more than enough reason to return.
I’m not sure if it was the combination of hiking for five days and dehydration, or really just the hotel itself, but either way, this hotel reminded so much of being a kid and staying in traditional, warm hotels that had personality. Even for the staff that work here, it’s really apparent that this is more than just a job. Each and every person I spoke to was genuinely invested in my experience of The Plettenberg. It was refreshing for me.
Travellers looking for a luxury experience in Plettenberg Bay would be silly to miss out on this gem. The hotel is great for couples and families and is ideally located for anybody that wants to explore the town on foot. Ask for a room with a sea view if you want to catch the sunrise and don’t even think of leaving without trying one of the signature cocktails at the Sand Bar!
My stay at The Plettenberg was complimentary of The Collection by Liz McGrath. As with all my posts, all editorial content is my own.