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Where nature & luxury meet, Grootbos was born…

As a Capetonian, I thought I had pretty much at least heard about every nook & cranny of my province and that’s if I hadn’t been there already myself. And so yes, you guessed it, Grootbos  Private
Nature Reserve was new to me and I hopped at the chance to experience it when they invited me recently.

They’re about 2 hours outside of Cape Town and 30 minutes from Hermanus and that’s where the fun started – it’s a really beautiful drive getting there…

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Halfway there and we could already tell there was a storm brewing…

You’re reminded of your surroundings from the minute you walked in. Along with the welcome note, there was a gift of a small plant/tree for us to either take home or plant on the reserve. I remember being so confused seeing brown paper bags line all the bins in our cottage, and then it clicked it my city-slicker head. There’s an enormous respect that you can feel and see right away for the environment and the community. At dinner one night a praying mantis landed on our table and I realised I don’t think I’d seen one since childhood. Walking back from dinner to our cottage on the wet paths we made sure to tread carefully with snails and frogs competing for the sidewalk with us. It really is a very special place…

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And tucked neatly tucked away, the lush Grootbos appears almost out of nowhere…

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Our cottage for the weekend (in what felt like) the centre of a forest…

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Wooden floors, fireplace, double walk in shower, Charlotte Rhys amenities, panoramic views – this will do 🙂

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A short staircase from our private balcony put us smack in the middle of the ancient Milkwood Forest…

Our plan for the weekend really was just to rest, so the rain suited us just fine. And anyway who doesn’t love the charm of listening to a crackling fireplace while against the backdrop of the pouring rain…

Lust

  • As soon as we parked and walked into Grootbos the luxury pretty much started. We did the necessary paperwork while we were handed hot towels and non alcoholic cocktails – so welcome after the drive (not that I did much any of the driving!).
  • What will always stand out about our time at Grootbos is the incredible sense of service from the staff. From the barman to the waiters to the receptionist and even the guy I called out at 11pm to help restart our fireplace (I really am hopeless at outdoorsy stuff) – they were not just friendly but polished and always wanting to do more than was needed.

Love

1. The space. Space has always been a huge part of luxury to me. It took a full 10 minutes before we even realised that there was a 2nd bedroom (& 2nd bathroom) when we found the staircase leading down to the 2nd level of our 90 square meter cottage.

2. The view. Oh my goodness the view! And it didn’t matter which window you looked out of – even laying in the tub there was lots to feast your eyes on.

  • The food was good and be warned, there’s a lot of it! The rate is not bed & breakfast like most places but full board (i.e. includes lunch and dinner too). On both days we skipped lunch altogether since dinner was 6(!) courses. There were a few dishes I highly recommend like the curry won ton, the potato bake (off the breakfast menu) and the crème brulee (so good I asked for it on the 2nd night too, when it wasn’t on the menu).
  • There’s lots to do and the staff  are really invested in making sure you get the most out of your time with them. You’ll indicate your preference for activities on check-in and many are included in the rate such as horse riding, whale watching, guided walks, 4×4 flower safaris, beach picnics, cave tours, the list really does go on & on…

Loathe

You’ll be hard pressed to find something you loathe about Grootbos but I do think a few things would perk the experience up a tad

  • I really look forward to the turn down service and I love finding something sweet of my pillow so I’d suggest they add chocolate/biscuit or something small
  • Our DVD player didn’t work but I have to say they made a valiant attempt to help us get it fixed
  • We didn’t use it (we didn’t need to) but I think the 2nd bathroom could have done with an update, it just looked a bit tired and not quite 5 stars like the rest of the cottage.

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When I say there were great views everywhere I mean everywhere20131116_150044_1

I think I sat here for hours…

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This potato bake was one of my favourites…

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The dining room/restaurant where we had our meals

20131116_190059_1I loved the impromptu places and spaces to just park off, chat or read (in good weather that is)…

Three unexpected details on the food side that really made us feel at home was:

1.  Finding out that they serve Bean There (our favourite brand of  coffee) and it was also in our cottage with a plunger.

2. I wouldn’t even have thought to ask but the menu mentioned that the steak was Karan beef (halaal) which really was such a bonus.

3. On our 1st day, a knock on the door tuned out to be a delivery of popcorn, a movie and hot chocolate for each cottage. With the weather not allowing many of the usual activities, this was a great gesture.

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So yes, the much R&R was had…

Need to know

If I ran the place

  • I’d probably move in. Permanently…

I didn’t think I was enough of a tree hugger to really appreciate a weekend in a private nature reserve, so I surprised myself when at the end of the weekend I wished we could stay on another day. Grootbos gets you as close to nature as if you were camping under the stars but a heck of a lot more comfortably.

W

 

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