What Kurland Hotel (a Relais & Châteaux member)
Where Plettenberg Bay, Western Cape, 044-534-8082; kurland.co.za
Why we love it Sumptuously decorated Cape Dutch-style buildings surrounded by 700 hectares of gardens, polo fields and the Tsitsikamma Mountains – what’s not to love! And the welcome mat is out for kids in a big way with loads of activities, loft rooms decorated specifically for youngsters, and a playroom. Add excellent cuisine, friendly service and guaranteed privacy, and it’s the top choice for a family holiday or a romantic weekend getaway.
The X-factor Many South Africans may not realise it but Kurland offers great value for families. Low-season rates apply from 1 July (the hotel is closed in June) until 30 September, starting at R1 250 per adult per night. Best bet: a Luxury Loft room, sleeping two adults in a large room downstairs and two children under 12 staying free of charge in the loft, for a total R2 500 per night. This includes full breakfast, all non-alcoholic beverages, Shetland pony rides, and use of the spa, gym, quad bikes and tennis courts, plus tea and cake on the verandah.
What Cape Grace
Where V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, 021-410-7100; capegrace.com
Why we love it A multimillion-rand refurbishment that embraces the Cape’s heritage and ‘floral kingdom’ has elevated the Cape Grace from a great hotel to a landmark property. The bespoke interiors, which include striking hand-painted fabrics and individually sourced antiques, are a marriage of modern luxury and traditional Cape culture. Extras like the renowned Bascule whisky bar and Signal Restaurant ensure guests need never leave.
The X-factor The Weekend Treat winter offer – a three night stay but you only pay for two – is excellent value.
You don’t have to go all the way to Londolozi Game Reserve to bathe in African opulence. It’s captured the Savannah’s essence in its luxurious 1926 Body Oil Range (londolozi.com).
Joburg-based jeweller and frequent flyer Zoja Mihic’s tips
What do you never leave home without? An inquiring mind, passport, business cards and international currency.
Do you travel heavy or light? As a frequent traveler I’ve been forced to refine it to an art – I travel light. A well-curated suitcase, with something for every occasion.
Three travel essentials? Lancôme Nutrix cream for the plane, a silk blanket that doubles as a shawl and my ‘ifamily’ – iPod, iPad etc.
Overcoming jet lag? Don’t drink alcohol on the flight and don’t sleep when you get there, go straight into your destination’s time zone. Try to adopt the time of the place you are travelling to the day before. It requires discipline but it works!
Your ultimate travel destination? Somewhere with history, an appreciation of food and the meeting of old and new worlds. Japan and Argentina are next on my list.
Your favourite SA getaway spot? Cape Town – every time I go I have a special moment that takes my breath away. There’s something magical about the light. Few places on earth offer as much variety in a condensed place, from wine farms to ocean and mountain.
Any advice for long-distance travellers? Take the time to strike up a rapport with the person checking you in; it can make the difference between an upgrade or entire row to yourself and a screaming baby next to you the whole flight.
Which is the best hotel you’ve stayed in? I have stayed in some amazing places (and some ugly ones too). For best pampering and service it has to be the Amansara in Cambodia.
This article was originally published in the July 2011 issue of House and Leisure.