South Africa, Day Five: KnyssaMay 13, 2010 By: Jena Tesse Fox
The lobby of The Views Hotel
After a second report from the trade show floor of Indaba in Durban, South Africa, Jena Tesse Fox takes a quick flight to Knyssa, for some unique property tours and, more, wildlife encounters.
Airlines throughout the United States, please take note: Even when flying short distances of two hours or less, South African Airways checks bags for free, provides at least two drinks onboard and offers at least a sandwich. It can be done, guys. I’m just sayin’.
So after several days of running all over Durban, we caught a quick flight over to Knysna (the “k” is silent, I’ve learned, and the name rhymes with “Liza,” but with an “n”) in the Western Cape Province and headed over to The Views Hotel, a brand-new property right on the beach that really lives up to its name. (From my window, I can see nothing but ocean and sky. It’s wonderfully Zen. From my balcony, I can see the beach. It’s still Zen.) The boutique property has just 19 rooms and suites, only five of which don’t face the sea. The rooms themselves match the sea-and-sky-theme of the view, with polished driftwood for the flooring and tiny, smooth pebbles in the open-plan bathroom. (General Manager Jackie Joubert can be reached at Jackie@viewshotel.co.za.)
The main restaurant at The Views, Sails is headed by executive chef Craig Bloemsma, who creates a new menu each day depending on what is fresh and available. Generally, he limits the menu to four starters and three entrees, though he did say that he’ll accommodate any special requests possible. (My beef fillet with mustard sauce was quite tasty.) For breakfasts, the hotel offers a first course continental buffet and a hot second course—no one in the group tried the bacon-and-eggs ice cream, but it certainly sounded intriguing. (If anyone does try it, please drop me a line and tell me how it is…or what it is, for that matter.)
A Suite's bedroom at the Pezula
We also checked out Pezula, a six-year-old seaside resort that will be hosting the French team for the World Cup. (Ha! You thought I’d get through an entire post without mentioning soccer, didn’t you?) The property has fireplaces everywhere, and—with low buildings set into hillsides—gives off a comfortably luxe vibe. The wine cellar (90 percent of which is local vintages) doubles as a tasting room; the spa has a post-treatment room with massage waterbeds; guests can borrow bikes for getting around; and there are champagne, whiskey and cigar bars for various tastes. All of the suites (both the Villa and Studio) categories have balconies, heated floors and (of course) fireplaces. Cool touch: The Presidential Suite has a dedicated butler.
If a dedicated butler isn’t enough, the ultimate place to stay at Pezula is a complex down the road from the main resort (accessible by free shuttle) called The Castle, made up of two full apartments that can be rented individually or together. A private chef and butler are included, as are all meals and activities. Ten adults can stay in the complete complex, and rates for the full property start at about $11,885 per night. For more information or special requests, agents can contact Russel Binks, director of hospitality at email@example.com.