Ultimate rejuvenation in Arniston

2013-03-18 14:26

It kind of feels like the end of the road, Arniston. In the best possible way. You drive and drive and drive (just more than 200km from Cape Town) through rolling farmlands, towns like Caledon, Napier and Bredasdorp, there are sheep along the way, and cows and the occasional silo... and then suddenly a collection of white-washed houses and the scent of the sea.

Unlike many other towns along South Africa's coastline, Arniston doesn't have a road running through it. The R316 that connects it to Caledon (and ultimately the N2) via Bredasdorp comes to a picturesque dead-end, practically forcing you to stop. Breathe. Recharge. 

There are no shopping centres, not even one of those beach cafés that sell kiddies' fishing nets and marshmallow mice (at least not that I could find), just holiday homes separated by patches of green lawn and quiet streets on the one side and the heritage fishing village of Kassiesbaai on the other. A little harbour. A bay with white sand, smooth rocks and turquoise water. And at the centre of everything - the Arniston Hotel & Spa. 

Rather than standing out among the holiday homes, the large white building blends in perfectly. Two generous patios stretch out on either side of the main entrance, drawing passersby and guests alike to wile away late afternoons in lazy style with a glass of wine. 

Just beyond the lobby, deck chairs arranged around a clear blue pool offer a tempting alternative to the beach and a tranquil view for rooms that don't face the sea. 

The hotel carries a four-star rating and has four different room offerings: luxury sea facing, superior sea facing, ground floor sea facing and pool facing. The luxury sea facing rooms are the largest and have a separate lounge area, some also have a fireplace to add an extra bit of coziness, especially during a winter break. All rooms have private balconies, en-suite bathrooms and a mini bar that can be stocked on request. 

What sets Arniston Hotel apart from its city counterparts are the delightful personal touches here and there - fresh rusks to go with delicious plunger coffee, staff who are always ready for a chat and even a little flask of complimentary sherry/port for guests to enjoy. Every evening housekeeping slips in to fold back the covers and leave a little chocolate on your pillow. 

Ideally while they're doing this, you should be indulging in a delectable meal at the in-house restaurant. While the Arniston Hotel Restaurant is renowned for its fantastic seafood dishes, it also has a delectable offering of meat, poultry, vegetarian and pasta dishes. Get into local mode by ordering a glass (or bottle) of Arniston Bay wine to compliment your food. 

Breakfast is included in your hotel stay and takes the form of a generous buffet blending continental and hot fare. It's served in the restaurant between 07:00 and 10:00. If, however, you miss breakfast due to a much-needed sleep-in, the adjacent hotel bar serves a mean lunch, with options ranging from salads to burgers to line fish. 

The hotel is within comfortable walking distance of Arniston's biggest attractions: the beach, Kassiesbaai heritage town and the Waenhuiskrans Cave. The gorgeous 200-year-old fishing village of Kassiesbaai is a national heritage site and a photographer's dream. Take a stroll through the narrow gravel streets, and stop off at Willeen's restaurant for a bite to eat. The Waenhuiskrans Cave, is located in the opposite direction of Kassiesbaai and is only accessible at low tide, adding something of a thrill to the outing. 

The Arniston Hotel & Spa has bicycles that guests can book out for further exploration, and don't worry, the surrounding area is pretty level - you won't even work up much of a sweat! 

Finally, once you've spent the day exploring to your heart's content, check yourself into the Ginko Spa for one of their toe-curlingly divine treatments. The rapid tension release back and neck massage comes highly recommended, and also won't break the bank. 

Check out the Arniston Hotel & Spa website for more information. Also take a look at our suggestions of five fun things to do on your roadtrip to Arniston

To end off my trip, I used the Europcar Roadtripper app to map out the route I took. It's a fun way of reminiscing about your favourite journeys or planning ones you've been dreaming about. Check out Europcar's Facebook page to find the app and read this article for more information on how it works. 

Thanks to Europcar for the trusty Chevy that took me all the way from Cape Town right to the Southern Tip and back again. 

Read more on:    travel south africa
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