Weekend breaks: It’s all relative

2013-03-12 09:32

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“Time is relative to your state of motion.”

So says Einstein.

As I lay alongside the overflow pool of the Protea Hotel President in Bantry Bay, this made complete sense. For my little ones frolicking and having fun splashing in the huge kiddies’ pool, time was probably passing too quickly.

For me, the opposite was true. Feeling like one of the play dough figures they had constructed earlier, I lay sprawled on a sun lounger enjoying the fresh-ocean air wafting towards us from just beyond the pool.

Yes, it was all very relative.

More and more our worlds demand engagement, motion, and movement from one idea, thought or text to the next. If you work online like me – the operative word is on. We’re always switched on it seems. From checking the last email before going to bed at night to trying not to wake with a jolt to scan the headlines in case something major has happened during the night. For some, the addiction goes as far as updating that status while stumbling from a sleepy state.

As a race, we’ve succeeded in creating an avalanche of things to occupy our space, minds and time. And then sum. Yet there just never seems to be enough time, wouldn’t you agree? It’s the one thing we’ve failed dismally at reproducing. Sometimes I wonder if feeling rushed is as much a constant state of being for everybody else, as it is for me.

Unless of course we actively decide to counter-balance our hectic lifestyles by slowing down and switching off. I decided to put this theory into practice.

Checking out of our normal routine for the weekend and checking in along the 'platinum mile' for a stay at this luxurious 4 star Protea Hotel, all gadgets, phones and devices were switched off. Since my kids are both under four and my husband is a self-proclaimed technophobeocrat, all of this switching off would essentially apply to me.

The pool

Considering my phone is my camera, it was going to be slightly difficult. But I limited myself to one or two shots and then that too was put away. I couldn’t resist capturing this attention-to-detail welcome they put together for us.  The hotel is delightfully child-friendly with its semi-self catered apartments and connecting rooms.
Being able to go from the toilet, to mom and dad’s rooms, to the lounge and then back into your own room in one ring-a-Rosie swoop is surprisingly pleasurable for little toddlers. I appreciated the adjacent kitchenette, with all the trimmings about as much - especially since my youngest is still bottle-feeding.

But the point of the weekend was to get out and about. Besides the activities at the hotel, the child-friendly pool being the biggest draw card, there is ample to keep the kids entertained and outdoors.

Parks are a plenty. A short walk finds you along the Sea Point promenade, or head over to the Green Point Park at the foot of the Cape Town Stadium. The worst part of the unplugged weekend was trying to locate friends without making a quick call. I think some cheats are definitely in order. While this park gets real busy, especially on weekends, the enclosed play areas really do provide peace of mind as you relax and enjoy a picnic or simply spread a blanket and catch-up on some reading. A book that is. The V&A Waterfront also has a great play area if you have to drag yourself to the mall.

If your kids happen to be in the transport-crazy phase like mine, a Red Bus tour of the Mother City might also be a real treat and it's surprisingly informative even from a local's perspective. Tours depart from the Aquarium at the city-side entrance of the V&A Waterfront.

The spacious self-catered apartments

And after a busy day without any gadgets or TV you can head back to the spoils of the hotel. Being semi-self catered is useful, especially when it comes to picky little eaters. While the hotel’s themed buffets sound exciting, I wouldn’t recommend this for kids under 12. Visit the Protea Hotel President’s website for more details on the themes which include Mexican, Japanese and Moroccan. If you’re not in the mood to cook, simply order from the room service menu, which includes a kids option.  

Having recently undergone a refurbishment, the Protea Hotel President is really stylishly put together. Its location and chic appearance shouldn’t have you worrying about the price-tag of your family weekend unplugged though. It still continues to offer the value-for-money associated with the Protea Brand and there is plenty for couples too, with a leisurely evening spent in the refurbed Senate Bar springing to mind.

Take a look at the rest of the Protea Hotel Presidents facilities here.

So just how successful was I in slowing down time? In all honesty, by the time Sunday rolled round I really did feel more relaxed. Our quality time was exactly that. And when I eventually got to replug, I felt more focused but most importantly less hurried. Try it for yourself.

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