Compiled by Naomi Larkin Photographs Greg Cox, supplied COASTAL HIDEAWAY WHAT The Anchorage WHERE R305, Stilbaai, Western Cape, 028-754-3730, theanchorage.co.za WHY WE LOVE IT Set in tranquil surrounds on the Goukou River, The Anchorage is tucked away enough to be private, but only three kilometres from Stilbaai and its beach. Charming and peaceful, each en suite bedroom has all the necessary kitchen essentials, plus there are outdoor braai facilities. Relaxed and friendly hosts, Craig and Annette Thorne, make guests (including little ones) feel right at home and there are plenty of pleasant outdoor pursuits: take canoes out onto the river, or explore nearby nature trails. THE X-FACTOR Bare all in the open-air shower hidden in the veld, overlooking the river and surrounding grassy fields. GARDEN ROUTE GETAWAY WHAT Hyatt Regency Oubaai Golf Resort & Spa WHERE 406 Herolds Bay Rd, George, 044-851-1234, oubaai.regency.hyatt.com WHY WE LOVE IT With its earth tones, understated design and tufts of fynbos, the hotel complements its natural surroundings. Guests will feel instantly soothed by the views of the Indian Ocean and Outeniqua Mountains. The on-site Freesia Spa is your passage to the ultimate sensory journey. X-FACTOR It’s become an art lovers’ mecca, having hosted Mariette de Villiers’ Paint a Future and Layers exhibitions, and will soon showcase sculptor Anton Smit’s work. Chic Traveller Joburg Director of the College of Digital Photography, Udo Kieslich shares his tips for improving your holiday snaps… What is the most common mistake people make when shooting portraits? They use a horizontal (landscape) composition and place the subject in the centre of the frame. Rather use a vertical (portrait) composition and place the subject’s eyes in the top third of the photograph. Where should the sun be? Behind you, illuminating both the subject and the background. Any tips for group photos? Make sure that the group is standing in the same intensity of light. No two heads, when placed next to each other, should be at the same height or directly on top of one another. What’s your top tip for landscape photos? Start really early in the morning, use a tripod and don’t let bad weather stop you – dramatic, stormy skies can look amazing. What’s the best way to make wildlife snaps more interesting? Avoid busy backgrounds, get in close and shoot during the ‘golden hours’ (early morning or late evening). What can and can’t you fix in Photoshop? You can make minor colour adjustments, fine- tune the contrast and exposure, and crop your pictures. Photoshop can’t fix focus or badly under- or over-exposed images. Any other tips? Get a few smaller memory cards rather than one massive one and continually download your images. Back up regularly on an external hard drive. And charge the battery. 086-11-PHOTO (74686), codp.co.za. SPA OF THE MONTH Where other spas emulate exotic island or Moroccan retreats, The Arabella Spa at The Westin Cape Town embraces its urban context. Amazing 19th-floor city and sea views engage you through floor-to-ceiling glass (except while lying, eyes closed, on a massage bed!).You’ll also have access to excellent facilities such as the heated indoor infinity lap pool, Jacuzzi and sauna. But what makes this spa special, along with a wide range of treatments and attractive packages, is the sensual Ligne St Barth range from the Caribbean island of St Barth (think fragrances such as papaya, vanilla and coconut), as well as the Africology range. Arabella Spa at The Westin Cape Town, Lower Long St, Cape Town, 021-412-8200/01, westincapetown.com. This article was originally featured in the January/February 2012 issue of House and Leisure.