GOR­GEOUS GET­AWAY

Fairlady - - CONTENTS - By Marli Meyer

Bliss­ing out at the sea and in the veld

Bush and beach break­aways may seem like po­lar op­po­sites, but here in SA you can tick both boxes in one trip. We spent a week away bliss­ing out in Plettenberg Bay and In­zolo Lodge – a world-class lo­cal get­away and road trip, worth ev­ery penny!

Coast­ing along the Gar­den Route…

Truth be told, I’ve never been a big fan of Plett. Hav­ing only ever spent time there dur­ing De­cem­ber, it seemed like an over­crowded, over­hyped beach town – why would you mill around with the masses when there were so many other beau­ti­ful Gar­den Route op­tions close by? But this visit changed my mind. In the off-sea­son it’ idyl­li­cally peace­ful: I can’t wait to re­turn.

Des­ti­na­tions are im­por­tant but a road trip up the N2 has the unique abil­ity to trans­port your headspace, and fast. By the time you reach your hol­i­day spot you’re fully re­laxed.

The route from Cape Town to The Old Rec­tory Ho­tel & Spa boasts a few quin­tes­sen­tial road trip views and

ex­pe­ri­ences: the un­beat­able Gar­den Route land­scape dot­ted with lit­tle sheep fam­i­lies, moun­tains in earthy hues at the edge of the hori­zon and a stop in Rivier­son­derend for a flaky, melt-in-your-mouth spring­bok pie and Boot­leg­ger cap­puc­cino at Ou Meul Bakkery for break­fast. And if you don’t have a good hat for your bush break, the lit­tle shop next door to the bak­ery has some ex­quis­ite but af­ford­able panama-style hats with ad­justable strings on the in­side for a snug fit.

Bou­tique Ho­tel Liv­ing: The Old Rec­tory Ho­tel & Spa…

We ar­rived at The Old Rec­tory just in time for a late lunch at the bou­tique ho­tel’s restau­rant (more on that later).

The beau­ti­fully re­stored her­itage build­ing, which dates back to 1777, is the old­est struc­ture in Plettenberg Bay. It mor­phed from be­ing a school­house to a black­smith’s workshop to a rec­tory for the Angli­can church, and now the orig­i­nal build­ing houses a fine din­ing restau­rant, a bar and a re­cep­tion area. The orig­i­nal yel­low­wood floors and trusses have been pre­served to cel­e­brate the build­ing’s in­nate his­tor­i­cal charm and the re­stored fire­place makes for a very cosy spot to en­joy a glass (or two) of red wine.

I loved the at­ten­tion to de­tail – the bath­room in the re­cep­tion area is ex­quis­ite, with a palm-leaf roof fan and cov­etable wall­pa­per. The lo­cal art­works are also care­fully curated: don’t miss the dis­play of small sculp­tures of a woman in dif­fer­ent yoga poses on the wall out­side, and the ver­ti­cal gar­den next to the pool deck.

The in­fin­ity pool is a cen­tral fea­ture sep­a­rat­ing the 18 rooms, the spa and the orig­i­nal main build­ing. The sound of wa­ter is all around: if you’re not close anough to hear the con­stant trick­ling of the pool, you are al­ways in earshot of the ocean, which is only a cou­ple of me­tres from the ho­tel.

Eat & drink

If you’re in Plett and stay­ing else­where, be sure to eat at the restau­rant here – it’s open to the public and so worth it. The menu is un­pre­ten­tious but im­pres­sive, show­cas­ing lo­cal, sea­sonal in­gre­di­ents. (Keep in mind that the menu changes as the in­gre­di­ents’ avail­abil­ity does.) The mushroom risotto, crispy

Asian-style pork belly salad (on the lunch menu) and the panna cotta were se­ri­ously de­li­cious.

The break­fasts are just as de­lec­ta­ble: freshly baked crois­sants, eggs Bene­dict and fresh fruit, tasty crunchy home­made gra­nola and more. And if you’re af­ter a sun­downer or night­cap, the bar is an ex­pe­ri­ence – gor­geous fab­rics cover the chairs and they have an ex­cel­lent se­lec­tion of gins.

Balance

I’m not ex­ag­ger­at­ing when I say I had one of the best mas­sages of my life here. Ther­a­pist Bessie did an ex­cel­lent job of the Moya Crys­tal Mas­sage bal­anc­ing treat­ment. I don’t like in­tense pres­sure mas­sages, and this was just the right balance of soft touch and gen­tle pres­sure. The spa is scented with calm­ing es­sen­tial oils and the Moya prod­ucts used for the treat­ments. I left there in a re­laxed trance – highly rec­om­mended!

Ex­plore

A ma­jor ben­e­fit of our stay at The Old Rec­tory was how close it is to Cen­tral Beach and Rob­berg – a short walk from both! I even went for an early-morn­ing run along the 4km stretch of beach, meet­ing lo­cals and their dogs (and lots of friendly seag­ulls) along the way. For se­ri­ous walk­ers, there’s also the Rob­berg hik­ing trail – I opted for re­lax­ing in the pool in­stead.

Pit stop: Kay and Monty Vine­yards

Af­ter un­wind­ing at the beach, we headed off on the next leg of the trip, to be spent in the Eastern Cape bushveld. But not without a proper pit stop, of course – lunch at Kay and Monty Vine­yards. It was pour­ing with rain, so their roar­ing fire, sat­is­fy­ing plat­ters and beau­ti­ful wines were just what we needed. The Crags, which is the area be­tween Plett and Na­ture’s Val­ley where the vine­yard is si­t­u­ated, is well worth a day trip if you’re in the area.

Clock­wise from this pic: The tran­quil In­zolo plunge pool over­look­ing the rock face that in­spired their logo de­sign; the breath­tak­ing view from In­zolo’s main area; lunch at Kay and Monty Vine­yards

Clock­wise from top left: Look­ingInto Your Sky – a sculp­ture by Marieke Prinsloo-Rowe; the bright and airy Old Rec­tory room; me in the in­fin­ity pool; the amaz­ing bath­room.This pic: Tak­ing a stroll on Rob­berg beach. Be­low: A de­li­ciously fresh Old Rec­tory break­fast.

Left: Lunch at Kay and Monty Vine­yards – worth a day trip (as is the fire­place)!Right: Later we stopped to say hello to the horses along the road. From the pool deck to the spa and rooms, the Old Rec­tory is a sanc­tu­ary in ev­ery sense.

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