Great Escapes

Thinking of taking a break this Easter? Here are some fabulous, affordable destinations and experiences that the whole family can enjoy, be it for a quick break or a complete holiday.

Lanzerac Hotel & Spa
Stellenbosch, Western Cape

Set against the magnificent backdrop of the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve and mountains, the historical whitewashed Cape Dutch buildings of the Lanzerac Hotel & Spa are located on a magnificent wine estate of the same name. When strolling around the vineyards and the peaceful gardens, you’ll find it very hard to believe that you haven’t even left the bustling university town of Stellenbosch.

As you drive from the centre of the town and you enter the Lanzerac Wine Estate through its majestic oak lined driveway, you can almost feel time slowing down and history settling around you. With 327 years of history, this Stellenbosch landmark boasts an old-world charm that is an unrivalled drawcard for day visitors and hotel guests alike. And now, thanks to an extensive refurbishment, the elegant estate can lay claim to the best of both worlds – contemporary, sophisticated facilities, coupled with rich, Cape heritage.

It’s the ideal getaway, whether for a lunch, an afternoon of drinks and chatter, a weekend or a holiday. While the hotel itself offers every convenience and comfort, there’s plenty more to do – if you feel the need – in and around Stellenbosch, while Cape Town is just a 40-minute drive away. You can go for hikes in the nature reserve, do some mountain biking, visit nearby Franschhoek, sample the lively student-populated eateries and pubs of Stellenbosch, visit some of the magnificent nearby beaches of False Bay, hop across the mountain to the charming hidden gems of the Overberg, take a drive to the many attractions of Cape Town, or simply relax in the hotel on the estate.

From the magnificent Manor House, to the manicured gardens, rolling vineyards and the dramatic mountain backdrop, the estate is the perfect setting for the many activities and facilities on offer. All of the guest areas have been designed for comfort, relaxation and countryside romance, graced with original artwork hung alongside a collection of timeless, antique furniture. The estate is home to a number of unique spaces to suit your mood, whether you prefer to read your paper in the majestic Governor’s Hall or socialise in any of a variety of restaurants and bars.

Steeped in a history dating back to 1692 and nestled in the foothills of the idyllic Jonkershoek Valley of Stellenbosch, the 327-year-old Lanzerac Wine Estate is synonymous with old-world charm and rich Cape Heritage.

With 53 luxurious rooms and suites, this country estate exudes an air of intimacy and provides the ultimate in personalized service. The hotel boasts four unique restaurants – all-day dining at the Lanzerac Deli, classical dishes reimagined at the Manor Kitchen, gourmet pub style flare at the Taphuis, and sharing plates in the Craven Lounge.

The six newly renovated conferencing and function venues are ideal for corporate and private events, whilst the Manor Lawns offer the perfect opportunity for exclusive outdoor events.
Relaxing treatments at the Lanzerac Spa take place against a stunning backdrop of mountains and vineyards. Guests staying at the Lanzerac Hotel & Spa are offered the following complimentary services:

⦁ Breakfast – a full continental buffet and hot breakfast on order, complete with tea & coffee
⦁ Select mini bar, replenished once daily
⦁ Complimentary use of the Spa’s hydro facilities
⦁ A complimentary wine tasting of 5 Lanzerac Estate wines at the – Lanzerac Tasting Room
⦁ A complimentary cellar tour of the Lanzerac Winery (tours run daily at 11am)
⦁ A complimentary transfer service between the Hotel and Stellenbosch town at set times
⦁ Turn down service daily, including bottled water
⦁ Wireless internet
⦁ Stellenbosch tourism levy

Experience the finest hospitality the Cape Winelands has to offer, indulging guests with warm and friendly service, the finest wine and cuisine and exquisitely styled interiors.

⦁ Contact details: Tel +27 (0)21 887 1132 or Fax +27 (0)21 887 2310; Email ⦁ info@lanzerac.co.za or ⦁ reservations@lanzerac.co.za or ⦁ restaurants@lanzerac.co.za or ⦁ spa@lanzerac.co.za; and website ⦁ www.lanzerac.co.za for more information.

Fern Hill Hotel
Midlands, KwaZulu-Natal

If you have never been to the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands or have longed to return there after your last visit, Easter is the perfect time to do so, and the Fern Hill Hotel is a superb choice for accommodation and to serve as a base from which to explore the many surrounding delights.

The Fern Hill Hotel is one of the leading hotels in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, perfectly situated just off the N3 highway, yet tucked away enough to escape the passing hustle and bustle. It is the ideal base for those wanting to explore the Midlands Meander, unwind in the country, or host an unforgettable wedding.

For those with a penchant for superior food, Fern Hill’s Snooty Fox à la carte restaurant is an experience not to be missed. It boasts an impressive and dynamic à la carte menu that runs all day, 7 days a week. Leading the way in vegan dishes, producing the best curries in the region, melt-in-your mouth gourmet brioche burgers, spectacular desserts and home to the best pork belly dish you can find. There is both a toddler and kid play area off the restaurant and a fun kiddie friendly menu on offer too.

This beloved ‘old lady’ of a hotel has buildings that date back to the 1800s. In 1989, after being left neglected and in a derelict state, she was lovingly and painstakingly brought back to her former glory by passionate hoteliers, Karen and Gion Poltera. Envisioning a family-run and family-friendly hotel, they put their hearts and souls into making Fern Hill the success it is today. Now managed by their children, Fern Hill continues to grow and develop every year, with extra care taken in ensuring the grand old lady moves with the times without forsaking her old-fashioned graces.

Throughout the extensive buildings, guests can find glimpses of the past and striking contrasts where contemporary meets quaint country charm. For those guests interested in the older parts of the hotel, booking the Signal Box for a private dining experience is a must. The old railroad train signal box is one of the oldest buildings on the property, with the long-gone train tracks once running where the hotel’s buffet section now stands. Throughout the main hotel building, there are numerous, hidden snippets of history to be found.

With 25 spacious rooms, suites and luxurious accommodation to choose from, Fern Hill meets the individual needs of every guest. Whether travelling for business or leisure, a family group or solo, each room is designed to provide the utmost comfort and style as your home away from home. The Mandela Presidential Suite, where former President Mandela stayed when he received the freedom of Howick, is particularly popular.

Fern Hill is also the perfect base for mountain bikers, runners, cyclists, swimmers, mountain climbers and more. Situated opposite Midmar Dam and close to multiple trails makes it easy for sports fanatics to enjoy the area. There is also a plethora of activities to enjoy from canopy tours, horse riding, hot air ballooning, wine tasting, cheese making, coffee roasting, the Mandela Capture Site, golf, and fishing.

So whether you wish to immerse yourself in activities, run the berg, swim the mile or simply relax and unwind while indulging on delicious cuisine, Fern Hill has something for everyone.

⦁ Contact details: Tel +27(0) 33 330 5071; Email ⦁ functions@fernhillhotel.co.za; or Web ⦁ www.fernhillhotel.co.za.

The George Hotel
Manzini, eSwatini (Swaziland)

This Easter, if you are anywhere in Gauteng, southern Mpumalanga, eastern Free State or northern KwaZulu-Natal and feel you need a soul-refreshing break, you are within easy distance of hopping across the border to Manzini in eSwatini and The George Hotel. It’s the kind of place to which you are likely to return again and again.

Located right in the centre of Manzini, The George Hotel is one of the finest establishments that cater to the needs of business and leisure customers alike. With 110 well-appointed rooms, the hotel aspires to meet and exceed its customers’ diverse needs and wants.

The George Hotel has two restaurants, which are arranged and organised to accommodate both guests who enjoy quietude during their meals and those who appreciate a more exuberant mealtime environment. Guests can try the scrumptious buffet, when available, or they can order ‘a la carte’ from a host of other delectable meals and dishes.

For those who want to host workshops, conferences or entertainment events, the hotel has four multi- functional conference facilities that can accommodate anything between 5 and 500 guests at a time. The conference rooms are located to favour quiet proceedings without much disturbance.

Everyone needs downtime to unwind. To cater to this need, the hotel has a reception bar, sports bar and a poolside bar, each offering a selection of alcoholic and non- alcoholic beverages. Each bar offers a unique atmosphere and guests can choose from any of these according to their mood and preferences.

The George Hotel also has an in-house health and beauty spa that provides soothing body massages, manicure, pedicure and a steamer. A session at the spar is bound to leave you energized and stimulated. There’s also a swimming pool for guests who appreciate a refreshing dip in the pool.

Trying to provide for all their guests’ needs, the hotel also has porter services, a coffee shop and Internet services designed to make anyone’s stay as comfortable and convenient as possible. As an added attraction for those seeking the greens of relaxation, the hotel is just a mere 5-minute drive from an excellent 9-hole golf course.

Of course eSwatini, previously known as Swaziland, has plenty more to offer by way of its bustling towns, casinos, nature and game reserves, mountain and forest hikes, and plenty more.

⦁ Contact details: Tel +268 2505 2260; or go to their website at ⦁ www.tgh.co.sz.

Casambo Exclusive Guest Lodge
Nelspruit, Mpumalanga

Wanting to explore the Lowveld, the famous Kruger National Park and other nearby game reserves and attractions such as the Blyde River Canyon, God’s Window, Pilgrim’s Rest, Three Rondawels, Pinnacle rock and many more but need a comfortable, all-amenities base?

Look no further than the Casambo Exclusive Guest Lodge ideally situated centrally between Nelspruit (Mbombela), White River, the Kruger National Park and just 5 minutes’ drive from Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA). It’s an award-winning 4-star lodge offering superb accommodation set within the magnificent secluded Mbombela region. And if you are travelling from Swaziland and Mozambique, you can also enjoy the convenience of staying in quality accommodation in a safe and secure environment en route.

Casambo was born from a vision to create self-catering lodge accommodation that comers with luxury, style and distinction, set against the exquisite backdrop of the African veld, while being only a few minutes away from the central business districts in Nelspruit and White River. As such, Casambo lives up to its promise of offering guests peace, tranquillity, service excellence and quality accommodation in a secure environment. It is a private and exclusive retreat, offering 4 self-catering suites and 11 rooms catering for couples, families and business travellers.

Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie, wildlife and birding enthusiast, keen golfer, just after a get-away-from-it-all holiday or seeking an adventure to escape the busy city life and rejuvenate, this may just be the place for you.

The distinct style and ambience of 115@Casambo is the perfect venue for any occasion or business function that offers guests a sumptuous variety of cuisine with superb service. The venue comes alive at night with state-of-the-art sound and lightning, a trendy VIP lounge, cigar lounge, private bar and large wooden deck, all complimented by upmarket décor and a fun, yet relaxing ambience.

Africa Hall is large private venue tucked away in peaceful and tranquil location and setting that is part of the premises, making it an ideal venue for conferences or gala dinners. Offering a traditional design, the large wooden deck outside overlooks a panoramic view of the beautiful Lowveld.

The lapa and swimming pool area are ideal for smaller functions, informal gatherings or children’s parties. The fauna and flora that surrounds the lodge creates a tranquil environment as a natural extension of the beautifully landscaped gardens. And at the Casambo spa guests can enjoy a professional beauty and revitalising experience.

The staff members are passionate about what they do and embrace the values and ethos to which Casambo strives.

⦁ Contact details: Tel +27 (0) 72 277 6830 or +27 (0) 13 007 0163; Email ⦁ admin@casambo.co.za or
reservations@casambo.co.za; and Web www.casambo.co.za.

Shell Lodges
Hermanus & Plettenberg Bay

Looking for the ultimate intimate little getaway? Look no further than Shell Lodges’ four small, very intimate, delightfully situated lodges in the coastal towns of Hermanus and Plettenberg Bay. These are the ideal retreats along the scenic Western Cape coast and Garden Route this Easter.

Abalone Guest Lodge is situated on the magnificent ocean front of the popular coastal town of Hermanus, little over an hour’s drive from Cape Town. The lodge offers luxury accommodation for travel, business or leisure. A combination of South African art as part of the interior décor and unsurpassed views as the exterior ‘décor’, make this accommodation so unique.

The lodge has direct access to the well-known and scenic Cliff Path, a part of that which has turned Hermanus into the land-based whale watching capital of the world.

Further up along the coast at Plettenberg Bay on the Garden Route, Periwinkle Guest Lodge is a beachfront lodge offering panoramic views of Robberg Beach and the Tsitsikamma mountain ranges. Here you can watch the whales and dolphins frolicking in the waves whilst enjoying a scrumptious breakfast.

Starfish Lodge is a two-minute walk from the swimming beach of Robberg. It overlooks a landscaped indigenous garden with salt water pool. All six its spacious en-suite rooms have been individually appointed and only the finest linens have been provided. A fully equipped kitchen allows for a self-catering option.

Scallop Lodge is tucked away in a peaceful neighbourhood where peaceful earthiness encounters modern Africa and is a mere 10 minutes’ walk from the pristine “Blue Flag” status Robberg Beach. Scallop’s spacious luxury accommodation provides absolute privacy, whether you’re planning a romantic retreat or a family holiday.

All four lodges have an artistic feel, while no attention to detail has been spared. Only the finest linen is used throughout all our spacious rooms, offering en suite facilities with private patios and balconies. Under floor heating and heated towel racks are just a few of the special features of these lodges. And providing excellent service is their pride and joy.

⦁ Contact details: Tel +27 (0)28 312 3744; Fax 086 648 4590; and Email at info@shelllodges.co.za.