Cathedral Peak Hotel

Jonathan and Sophie Ellaby check out this iconic retreat in KZN’s Drakensberg mountains

We’ve been incredibly fortunate to visit some of the most outstanding hotels in the world, but Cathedral Peak Hotel, nestled in the majestic Drakensberg Mountains is without a doubt the one that tops them all when it comes to location. With the soaring peaks of The Bell, Cathedral Peak itself, Inner and Outer Horn and the Chessmen towering above us, the views are nothing short of breathtaking. From every corner of the hotel, be it the lounge, restaurant, your room or the pool, you won’t miss out on the view, the mountains.

P1050188 (1)But this place is not just about looking at the mountains. A visit to Cathedral Peak Hotel is all about enjoying and experiencing what this place of great natural beauty has to offer. And the list is long. The hotel offers daily activity programs for adults and children alike; horse-back riding, swimming, climbing Cathedral Peak (not for the faint-hearted), guided walks to nearby waterfalls, quad biking or golfing on the spectacular 9-hole golf course. The list goes on and on. There are even two tennis courts, a volleyball and squash court…oh, and there’s a bowling green…and yes, a spa to relieve those sore hiker’s muscles. And with its guest-carrying capacity of over 200, it’s ideal for not only weddings (it has the most picturesque chapel on site) but also for larger conferences. Yet, despite its size, the hotel manages the personal and intimate feel for all guests and you never feel ‘lost’.

P1050175 (1) The hotel was a vision of Albert van der Riet whose original farmhouse from 1907 still stands on the property. The hotel itself opened in 1939 and was revamped most recently in 2008, now offering even more luxurious rooms, including honeymoon suites and a presidential suite. The hotel is still family-run and most of the staff come from the nearby village. From the moment we arrived, it’s obvious that they cherish this place and are proud to be working here. As we often conclude about the places we visit, it’s the people and smiling faces that make that last little difference to an overall experience; and at Cathedral Peak Hotel we were welcomed with big smiles from the security guard to Michelle at the reception, to our porter and to Siraaj, the banqueting manager who gave us an extensive tour of the grounds.

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We were lucky to visit during two days of wonderful sunshine in April, with the Berg lit up in endless shades of green from the summer’s rainfall. From our room we do some bird-watching from our deck and spot a Swee Waxbill before heading down for the sumptuous dinner buffet; we stuff ourselves with yummy starters and mains before realizing that there are more than 20 delectable desserts on offer as well… needless to say that we weren’t particularly hungry when it came to the following morning’s massive, delicious breakfast buffet!

A two-night stay here is the absolute minimum if you want to take full advantage of what the hotel has to offer. And if you’re a family with small children, this place might just be heaven: babysitting can easily be arranged at a nominal fee, children have their own dining room (with supervision) and there’s pony rides, mini-golf, painting competitions and tractor rides on offer for the littlies.

The Cathedral Peak Hotel defines the concept of a mountain retreat, it’s a South African icon, loved by many families who return here generation after generation. It may be 4-star, but nonetheless provides 5-star service, food and 10-star views! There’s nowhere else like it. We love it.

L’Ermitage Luxury Hotel in Franschhoek, South Africa

Francois talks about his experience at L’Ermitage.

Franschhoek beckons to all those wishing to escape the city and bask in the sheer pleasures of mountain, Fynbos, wine tasting and tourist attractions. L’Ermitage offers 4 star hotel accommodation in the luxurious form of Chateaus and Villas that provide peace and style to compliment the surrounding beauty. Situated on the Fransche Hoek Wine Estate, L’Ermitage hotel accommodation allows you to experience the best of the Franschhoek country lifestyle. Fynbos and mountains provide the perfect backdrop whilst quaint cobbled streets offer the extra French touch.

Klein Collection: How far is L’ERMITAGE from Cape Town?

Francois: L’ ermitage is located in the Franschhoek valley about 60 km from the Cape Town city centre.

Klein Collection: What made you decide to stay at L’ERMITAGE?

Francois: It was my birthday and we decided to escape to a luxury hideaway for an evening – leaving the kids with my parents.

Klein Collection: What was your first impression of L’ERMITAGE on arrival?

Francois: Beautiful French inspired boutique hotel on a security estate in the Franschhoek mountains.

Klein Collection: What was the service like?

Francois: The service was very personal and they made sure that we had a memorable experience. They arranged a private dinner for us on the balcony outside our suite – and also figured out that it was my birthday (based on my ID number I gave them at check in) and surprised me with a birthday cupcake during breakfast. Just an example of how they go the extra mile.

Klein Collection: Is it child friendly?

Francois: Yes, they definitely cater for families – especially with the villas with fully equipped kitchen and appliances.

Klein Collection: What activities are offered at L’ERMITAGE?

Francois: Nature walks, wine tours, dinners, weddings, conferencing – all within close proximity of the Franschhoek town.

Klein Collection: What was the food like?

Francois: I thought their food was very good – I can definitely recommend the fillet!

Klein Collection: What was the highlight of your stay at L’ERMITAGE?

Francois: Spending time with Carien at this special boutique with beautiful setting, views and facilities. We were in the honeymoon suite – really very spacious and luxurious.

Klein Collection: What should potential visitors take note of?

Francois: Bring your running gear – you will want to go for a walk/ run with the beautiful surrounds and setting.

Klein Collection: Who is L’ ERMITAGE ideal for?

Francois: L’ermitage caters for all types of guests – but I think it is especially suited for guests preferring to be out of the hustle and bustle of Franschhoek town.

Point out of 5
Service  5
Location  5
Food  4
Facilities  4
Décor  4
Attention to detail  4
Value for money  5

Should L’ ERMITAGE sound like music to your ears, contact Klein Collection at info@kleincollection.com to book your stay.

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

Francois talks about their trip to GROOTBOS

Only 2 hours from Cape Town en route to Hermanus and the Garden Route, Grootbos is centred in the heart of the Cape’s abundant sea, floral and wild life landscapes. The reserve boasts some of the world’s most distinct and unique plant, bird and animal species.

Klein Collection: How far is GROOTBOS from Cape Town?

Francois: Grootbos is located about 180 km from Cape Town driving though Hermanus and Stanford respectively.

Klein Collection: What made you decide to stay at GROOTBOS?

Francois: We love Grootbos for what it stands as well as the experience. Grootbos is also a winner for our two boys (aged 5 and 3).

Klein Collection: What was your first impression of GROOTBOS on arrival?

Francois: Unobstructed views of fynbos and ocean (The Walker Bay) as far as the eye can see. You just know that you have arrived at a very special place.

Klein Collection: What was the service like?

Francois: Grootbos staff are very friendly and attentive to all needs. They are particularly good with children (e.g. entertaining the kids while the parents can have dinner alone)

Klein Collection: Is it child friendly?

Francois: Yes, the Garden Lodge accommodates families with children of all ages. The Forest Lodge is not open to children, being a good strategy for those adults not wanting noisy children around…

Klein Collection: What activities are offered at GROOTBOS?

Francois: What is great about Grootbos is the fact that all meals as well as most of the activities are included in the rate. Horse riding is a must for the kids. Nature walks, picnic at the beach or going to the limestone caves are all memorable activities.

Klein Collection: What was the food like?

Francois: The food at Grootbos is included in the rate and the selection at every meal is very good. Food quality is top end and they make a conscious effort to cater for the children’s tastes as well.

Klein Collection: What was the highlight of your stay at GROOTBOS?

Francois: The nature setting, views and simply feeling spoilt. And of course seeing my boys’ faces on the horses. Grootbos is a personal favourite of mine.

Klein Collection: What should potential visitors take note of?

Francois: You need to try and stay at Grootbos for at least 2 nights – if the bank balance allows it…

Klein Collection: Who is GROOTBOS ideal for (i.e. the type of client you would sell this product to)?

Francois: Discerning nature lovers with an appreciation for understated luxury.

Point out of 5
Service  5
Location  5
Food  5
Facilities  5
Décor  5
Attention to detail  5
Value for money  5

Should GROOTBOS sound like music to your ears, contact Klein Collection at info@kleincollection.com to book your stay.

Introducing Klein Corporate

We’re very excited to introduce you to Klein Corporate, a division of Klein Collection that focuses exclusively on the corporate market to offer our clients even more absurd discounts without losing that personal touch.

Click on the ‘Klein Corporate’ link above on on the image below to find out how we can help your business and to learn about how we can serve your business needs.

Experiences brought to you by Klein Corporate