Frances Geoghegan, Managing Director of Africa Travel, muses on her latest South African find.
It’s always a joy when you find a new space in a country that you think you know intimately, but when you also find a stunning new bolt hole, then it’s time to celebrate. And so it was my recent discovery of Gordon’s Bay and the perfectly formed Chocolate Box that set my pulse racing. Gordon’s Bay is a real find – a mere 40 minutes from the centre of Cape Town, 20 minutes from the wine region, and the same to the teaming whale waters of Hermanus. It’s blessed with some of the best beaches in the Cape – picture postcard white sandy beaches (it’s even got its own blue flag Bikini Beach, so you can rock your Heidi Klum bikini), shallow waters and, crucially, warmer waters than the freezing waters found on the Cape’s Atlantic coast.
The Helderberg Mountains majestically act as a backdrop, and where better place to discover this area than from the Chocolate Box, under the expert care and guidance of the two men in the know – Olaf and Brad. This 5-bedroom luxury boutique hotel will draw you in, capture your heart, and make you instantly feel at home. All the elegantly-styled bedrooms are bright and airy, with captivating views, and every imaginable whim catered for. I particularly loved their multi-prong USB charging columns, no faffing around for travel adaptors here. And of course the oversized beds with their super-comfy mattresses that ensure you will never sleep better. Breakfasts are warm and hearty; local fruits and cheeses, fresh juices of the day, a full English, a healthy alternative or my favourite, Olaf’s omelette filled with mushrooms, gooey cheese, chives, bacon and tomato, all sourced from the local farmer’s market.
The star turn is the art that adorns the walls - vibrant, haunting and uplifting. It’s worth the visit alone. Brad is an art expert, and will happily fill you in on South African art and its artists. He knows the best galleries, and has access to the established artists as well as the new kids on the block. Whilst South Africa has a huge array of stunning hotels, large and luxurious, you will never feel so connected as you will at somewhere like the Chocolate Box, because it’s owner-run by Olaf and Brad. They are Capetonians, they know their space, they know the best restaurants to eat in, the great drives, the coolest hangouts, the best olive oil and wine producers. That’s the real difference, and why I was captivated by this little gem.
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