Five best breaks in Plettenberg Bay

Posted by Fatima Anter on 12 September 2014

Originally named Bahia Formosa (beautiful bay) by Portuguese explorers, it’s easy to see why thousands flock to Plettenberg Bay for an annual coastal holiday. Here are five of our favourite places to stay.

Where to stay in Plett

1. Grand Café and Rooms

Grand Cafe and Rooms

Grand Cafe and Rooms

 

The setting
At a traffic circle on the quieter end of Plett’s busy main road, you can’t miss the rooftops of the dusty-pink Grand Café peeping out from behind ivy-covered wooden fences. Its elevated location makes for impeccable views.

The vibe
Quirky with ornate antique furniture, coupled with framed French posters, candelabras, dated photographs, screed cement floors – all that’s missing is a pink feather boa. The bright, airy courtyard contrasts with the heavy hues of the bedrooms and dramatic common areas.

The crowd
You’ll bump into European couples stopping over for the beach part of their bush-and-beach holiday and hipster South Africans seeking something different to a standard hotel.

The rooms
Seven rooms are decorated in a bohemian boudoir theme with shades of red and deep purple. Ground-floor rooms open onto the pool area, but first prize goes to the upstairs rooms with ocean views. For more privacy, book the Bath House with its own plunge pool.

The food
An à la carte menu is available at the Grand Café for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There’s no shortage of eateries a short walk away but if you’re staying for dinner, try the prawn, mussel, courgette and feta pasta.

Highlights
The on-site café is known for its cocktails, so a sundowner set on the shaded deck is a must. Second to that is a relaxing soak in the Victorian freestanding candelabra-lit bath with sea views in room six.

Need to know
The signature iron-framed French beds are about a metre above the ground. A step is provided but if sundowners get out of hand, climbing into bed could be tricky. Under 12s aren’t allowed.

Contact
Tel: 044 533 3301, www.grandafrica.com

 

2. The Plettenberg

The Plettenberg

The Plettenberg

 

The setting
Dominating a rocky point overlooking the Indian Ocean, the luxurious, blinding-white Plettenberg stands tall on either side of the road at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac.

The vibe
Although it’s a five-star retreat in The Collection by Liz McGrath, it has a laid-back beach feel. Rooms have a contemporary style in blues and earthy tones, while seaside-themed common areas are modern with bright aqua cushions.

The crowd
A good mix of local and foreign guests, special-occasion couples and families travelling up the coast.

The rooms
All 37 rooms have flat-screen TVs, air-con and other standard mod cons. From the sea-view rooms (try book one of these) you can see the pool and the Outeniqua range in the distance. The fully equipped self-catering villa (sleeps six) and four-sleeper beach house have private pools.

The food
The on-site Seafood at the Plettenberg restaurant has a full English breakfast spread and a` la carte lunches and dinners. Don’t eat anywhere else. The food is mouthwatering and dishes look as good as they taste.

Highlights
Watch seagulls line up on the edge of the infinity pool to steal a sip of the crystal-clear, cool water. Then swim over to the rim to watch the little islands at the Keurbooms River mouth disappear as the tide comes in.

Need to know
If you stay in the West Wing (across the road) you’ll have to walk over to the main hotel for breakfast and dinner. There’s a lunch restaurant and lap pool here and the sea views are equally impressive.

Contact
Tel: 044 533 2030, www.collectionmcgrath.com/plett

3. Oupa Jannie Family Suite

 

Oupa Jannie Family Suite

Oupa Jannie Family Suite

The setting
Set high above Plett’s main beach, with views of the landmark Beacon Island Resort, the main house is more than a century old and various buildings on the plot have been converted into self-catering accommodation.

The vibe
According to a sign on the front gate, the place belongs to ‘a free-range boere chick’ originally from Bloubergstrand. This secret-garden-like hideaway is just as laid-back as its owner, with rustic décor, old black-and-white photos and thoughtful messages dotted about.

The crowd
Expect to meet budget travellers from all over, including honeymooners, families and journal-toting barefoot adventurers.

The rooms
What used to be two backpacker dorms is now a four-sleeper family unit and a separate dorm. The communal lounge has couches so comfy you’ll stay there all day, unless you prefer the tree-shaded deck with a spa bath.

The food
Use the fully equipped communal kitchen or try one of the eateries within walking distance. The Table (044 533 3024) is the closest and has a bar, indoor and outdoor seating and a great selection of pizzas and pastas.

Highlights
Take in the history of the main house and browse the photos and other bits and bobs – just ask first as the owner lives here too.

Need to know
It’s off a very busy road on a dangerous and steep corner – be alert when driving. There are other self-catering rooms and cottages available and Oupa Jannie forms part of a larger accommodation offering called Stone Cottage.

Contact
Tel: 044 533 1331, www.stonecottage.co.za

4. Soul Arch

 

Soul Arch

Soul Arch

The setting
You’ll look twice to figure out what Soul Arch is – the weird shape and alternative building materials may throw you off. On a steep corner overlooking a vlei and the hills of Robberg, it’s easily mistaken for a modern-art museum.

The vibe
An architectural eco-masterpiece of reclaimed wood, glass and tin. The U-shaped, three-storey house semi-circles a pool, braai area and outside seating, and is surrounded by perfectly green grass.

The crowd
The set-up favours families or a group of friends. Locals in the know return for annual visits, while others may have seen the house in high-end décor magazines.

The rooms
The colourful, three-sleeper kids’ room has a triple bunk and a loft play area, while the airy en-suite master bedroom and a third bedroom open onto the pool deck. Extras include a rock-climbing wall and an outdoor shower.

The food
The contemporary open-plan kitchen (with separate scullery) is equipped for self-catering but there’s no microwave. There’s a handful of eateries in Plett’s main road and near Central Beach, both a short drive away.

Highlights
The master bedroom has an indoor shower that feels like it’s outdoors. Surrounded by glass, it’s divine to let the water rain down on you and through the wooden floors. Don’t miss a chill session in the hanging egg chair or an afternoon nap on the oversized beanbag in the TV room.

Need to know
The pool is unfenced and very young kids might struggle to climb up the bunk beds. The sprinklers come on before dawn, so if you’re a light sleeper and in the double room, you’ll hear the spray against the wooden wall.

Contact
Tel: 021 790 0972, www.perfecthideaways.co.za

Sea Breeze Annex

Sea Breeze Annex

Sea Breeze Annex

 

The setting
Sea Breeze Beach House and Annex is made up of the cosy, white-picket-fenced main house in a quiet street across the road from Robberg Beach and a refurbished, palatial annex a few metres from the water’s edge.

The vibe
Don’t be intimidated by the slick marble floors. It’s actually very relaxed and the beach-themed decor and floral and striped prints add to the casual feel of the pastel rooms.

The crowd
Sun-worshippers flock here because of its position on the beach. You’ll see students, families with older kids and a few longer-stay guests who return each year.

The rooms
Accommodation is simple but elegant in a family suite and four en-suite rooms. I stayed in the biggest of these, which is fabulous with a Hollywood mirror (the light-framed kind), walk-in closet, spa bath and luxurious three-head shower.

The food
Breakfasts of yoghurt, fruit, muesli and egg fry-ups are served in the dining room or on the pool deck. The nearby Surf Café’ (044-533-6801) has delicious dishes from well-known surf countries (try the Mexican enchilada or mee goring, a popular Indonesian noodle meal).

Highlights
Take advantage of the long stretch of beach on your doorstep. Walk on the sand towards Robberg Nature Reserve on the one side then make your way all the way down to Beacon Island Resort.

Need to know
Besides beach activities, there’s not much to do within walking distance. If you absolutely have to watch TV, the communal lounge has DStv.

Contact
Tel: 082 923 7107, www.seabreezeplett.com






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