Pet-friendly Accommodation

Pets Need a Break too

Luxury travel writer, brian berkman, searches out the fabulous and often affordable options available to you and your pets. Julie, his rescued mixed-breed doggie-daughter insists on joining them.

I take it all back. Julie’s favourite place in the universe is not Pringle Bay, not the Sea Point beachfront nor even the Hermanus cliff path. Her favourite place in the universe, so far anyway, is a balcony overlooking the Poort, on Mossel Bay’s rocky peninsula, The Point.

From the second-floor balcony at The Point Hotel and Spa, Julie was transfixed. With the keen attention of an umpire at a Wimbledon Tennis Grand Slam, she watched the dassies (Rock Hyrax) that live on the rocks directly in front of the hotel’s balconies.

She was immovable. No longer interested in us or going for walks, unless the walk was for an even closer look at the dassies, she stood sentry on the balcony, moving her head from side to side to maintain solid surveillance. We even left her alone on the balcony in the room while we went for breakfast as she was not welcome in the buffet restaurant and when we returned, we weren’t even missed.

The primary attraction of staying at The Point Hotel and Spa is the location. There is another hotel just a block away with the same name, which is confusing. The appeal here is of near proximity, about 50 paces from the hotel’s front door to a natural tidal pool that has been enhanced by showers and changing cubicles and safety ropes across the rock channels in the event that the tide is too great. There are also areas from which it is considered safe to jump into the water and a few sets of stairs, albeit mostly mossy and slippery, to allow for easier access and egress.

At low tide, the Poort is calm, and the soft sandy floor is easy to walk on for many hundred meters towards the sea source. In high tide, the waves that crash over the rocky areas, create white water and excitingly strong currents. And, because this part of the Indian Ocean is nearer to the warmer sea currents, it is a pleasure to swim in.

There is a paved and popular walking route along the coast in Mossel Bay which is dog friendly, as are many of the beaches like Santos Beach, about five minutes car journey from The Point. At Santos there is a shark net to protect swimmers and the wide bay is very popular with swimmers and kayakers alike.

Adjacent to The Point Hotel and Spa is a Spur restaurant, which is not pet friendly, and the Mossel Bay Zipline, which runs from St Blaize Lighthouse on the hill above the hotel, down to the sea, which is. Equally pet-friendly and a wonderful experience is Le Perron, a restaurant on the old train platform.

Within the harbour area there are several restaurants and Julie enjoyed watching the seagulls from the outside area at Sea Gypsy, a relaxed and affordable option. But Julie’s best experience was sharing an Eisbein bone at Le Perron. Owners and staff love dogs so much they even brought her a zinc plate on which to eat her bone, although she grabbed and munched it while lying on the sandy floor beneath our table.

“Her favourite place in the universe, so far anyway, is a balcony overlooking the Poort, on Mossel Bay’s rocky peninsula, The Point.”

Notable things about The Point Hotel & Spa are that the best rates are via booking.com; bathrooms are equipped with loo and standing shower as well as a bidet shower adjacent to the loo. There is a handy pull-out tea and coffee drawer, and all rooms have balconies with chairs and air-conditioning inside the room. Importantly, there is a lap-top computer sized digital safe.

We can’t wait to return. https://pointhotel.co.za

If a cottage built from river stones and local timber overlooking the Breede River is your idea of paradise, then add rows of fruit orchards, olive groves and mountains wherever you look and you’re probably at Dixon’s View, a self-catering and pet-friendly cottage on the White Bridge Farm Accommodation in Wolseley. With Ceres and Tulbagh in nearby, this is the perfect location from which to explore the Witzenberg Valley.

This is a working farm and the wedding venue The Olive Rock is a short drive from the cottage.
There are neither fences around the farm itself nor around Dixon’s View and we did encounter other large dogs on the farm as well as a troop of baboons one morning, moving through the orchards in search of breakfast.

The Winterberg Inn and its Harvest Bistro restaurant is a short walk away and you are welcome to bring your dogs if you dine in the pretty garden or on the terrace. They are famous for their pork ribs which gets a coffee-based rub before being slow cooked. Equally pet-friendly is The Creative Hub. A farm stall, yes, but much more than that. You might, for example, find winter-warm zip -up vests made from Masai blankets and exquisitely fine ceramics too. A large selection of local wines and spirits is also available as well as local cheeses, charcuterie and the now famous Pappaslick pies. Peppi Stanford, the owner, is also the owner of White Bridge Farm Accommodation and a passionate agent for positive change.

Take time to seek her out, if you can, and learn more about the Marimba group she arranges as well as the sculptural artist who creates monolithic birds and dragons from steel drums and other recyclables.

The accommodation at Dixon’s View is ideal for a couple. While there is an open mezzanine above the main bed with two single beds, there is a steep bamboo ladder to reach it and both areas are open to the rest of the room. There is a large shower and a loo on the ground floor. The open-plan space includes a comfortable sitting area in front of a fireplace and a small kitchen that has a fridge, microwave, an oven and an induction plate. There is a kitchen/dining table made from an old tree. Outside, there is a large timber deck with a teak table, canvas umbrella and a fire pit in which to braai. From this vantage point you look into the river and the lush trees that climb up its banks. There are rough stone steps to help you down to the riverbed.

There are other accommodations also available to rent on the farm. Otter’s Landing is the closest to Dixon’s View and a good option if you are travelling together with family or friends that you like but don’t love. This means that they are easy to get to at just 30-odd meters away but far enough so you have your privacy. Whiskey Yankee is another, larger house to rent and nearer to the wedding venue.

There are guest rooms near the main homestead available too, also some distance away, and while one is ideal for self-catering, the other is not.

Dixon’s View is affordably priced from R1300 for two people or R1400 for three or four people. This is the kind of place that invites you to kick off your shoes and relax into the rhythm of the farm. And, if you are lucky, the beat of the Marimba drum.

https://www.whitebridge.co.za/accommodation

Pets Need a Break too

Luxury travel writer, brian berkman, searches out the fabulous and often affordable options available to you and your pets. Julie, his rescued mixed-breed doggie-daughter insists on joining them.

The three Home Suites Hotels, The Bristol in Rosebank, Johannesburg, The Quarter in De Waterkant and, the most recently opened one in Sea Point, provide a top-notch luxury guest experience and they are all pet friendly.

Since Julie has joined our family, we don’t like being apart from her, and seek out places where she is as welcome as we are.
Despite her lack of training (and our lack of training in being doggie-parents), the journey together has been a loved-up fest with overwhelming highs.

One of the highs was seeing her joy at encountering other dogs, also off the leash, on the large grassy patch near the Mouille Point lighthouse.

While there are some beaches along the Atlantic Seaboard where dogs are not permitted, there are many areas and beaches where they are free to roam untethered.

As a rescued dog, I am never certain how Julie will react to other dogs she meets. When she is on the leash she barks at other dogs and sometimes tries to aggressively lurch towards them. Off the leash, Dr Jekyll becomes Mr Hyde, most times, and she is mild and even-tempered. A recent low in the Julie chronicles was during a Sea Point stay and family lunch with cousins, who have two dogs. Julie was welcomed into their home with open arms by the humans, but she never settled sufficiently to play with the other dogs, who were keen on her companionship. Her incessant barking and snarling must have been stressful for her as it certainly was for us.

So, imagine the delicious relief at being on the roof-top pool at Home Suites Sea Point with Julie laying in the shade close by wagging her tail without a care in the world. Even when we walked past another guest room that was occupied by a dog, she didn’t give them a second thought.

What I love about Home Suites Sea Point is that its location on Main Drive, not to be confused with Main Road, which is some distance away, gives you an eagle’s view over the sea and the majestic Lion’s Head mountains behind you. Our room, a 36m2 Superior-category room, had vast windows with opening sliding doors and a glass balustrade to prevent one falling out. Lying in the King-sized bed while looking out over the other roof tops to the expansive sea is such a treat, and, if the view from the second floor seems spectacular, and it is, from the roof-top it is heavenly.

Currently, there is a fabulous restaurant-quality kitchen, lounging and dining area on the fourth floor. This communal space is available for guests to self-cater.

Although the location is a steep walk from Beach and Main Roads, and having a car will make all the difference, getting an Uber or similar couldn’t be easier. We used an app to open the gates to the hotel parking which worked really well.
Brilliant internet and really upscale furniture and design by Tonic, make what is offered easy to recommend and very good value for money. Brilliant internet and really upscale furniture and design by Tonic, make what is offered easy to recommend and very good value for money. https://www.homesuitehotels.com/sea-point

If dogs communicate by pee-mail, then a visit to The Atlantic Seaboard beachfront promenade, 50 meters from The President Hotel, must be the human equivalent of being in a busy internet cafe, in Silicon Valley.

And, for Julie, who survived on her wild wits and love-me eyes before she found a forever home with us in Pringle Bay, being on the Promenade and the many dog-friendly beaches delivers an overload of stimulation.

A Pringle Bay local, who previously had a Manchester Terrier, told us Julie must have that breed in her lineage. And, after reading about their skill at hunting, I think he must be right. Julie will smell a week-old KFC bone in the long grass and relish it as if a chef had prepared it just for her. I know this to be true as Julie was the first four-legged visitor to The President Hotel in Bantry Bay since it became Pet-Friendly.

While she normally follows a dry food diet (when she can’t forage for KFC and other bones) she so enjoyed the Cheeky Chicken All-Day Doggie Hot-Pot off the Pupper’s Menu at The President that she couldn’t have been less interested in the dry food we brought for her. Made without salt or additives, doggie delights can take up to 45-minutes for the kitchen to prepare and cool sufficiently to eat. I watched her wolf-down the chicken, rice and corn, but leave the peas. A moment later, even the peas had vanished, and the bowl licked so clean it looked new.

Besides the big open-hearted welcome of all the hotel staff, and from the many children she encountered, the hotel also had a food and water bowl in the room for her, poo bags, a poop-scoop and a bunch of treats. The President Hotel, like many that welcome pets, prefer pets at 12kg or lighter. Although Julie’s big personality must count for some of the kilos, she is nearer to 20kgs than 12, and the hotel made a kind exception to welcome us three, nonetheless.

We spent one of the most perfect weather weekends at The President Hotel and most of the time was at the large infinity pool. There is astro-turf style “grassed” areas with pool loungers and umbrellas, but she found the most comfortable spot sitting among the lush greenery and fern fronds near the pool-bar area.

A visual feature at The President Hotel as you enter is a triple volume of space with huge windows and views towards the sea. There are glass balustrades and Julie felt quite stressed walking in that area. Perhaps she feared she might fall as she was able to see through the glass.

We also appreciated how a table in a quieter part of the fabulous, buffet breakfast restaurant was made available for us, where she could sit and wait tethered to the table leg while we enjoyed the fare.

The area where The President Hotel is located has welcomed guests for more than 250 years. Since 1766, when the Society House was built, which later made way for The Wentworth Hotel and The Queens Hotel before becoming The President Hotel in 1967. In June 1998, President Nelson Mandela re-opened the 350 bedroom hotel as we know it today. It has long been a beacon of hospitality and The President continues to welcome and accommodate all peoples making allowances for various faiths and dietary restrictions. It is wonderful to know they now welcome our beloved pets too.

reservations@presidenthotel.co.za, +27 (0)21 434 111, www.presidenthotel.co.za

Pets Need a Break too

Luxury travel writer, brian berkman, searches out the fabulous and often affordable options available to you and your pets. Julie, his rescued mixed-breed doggie-daughter insists on joining them.

Although many hotels are now realizing that people want to travel with their pets whenever possible, the Radisson RED at the V&A Waterfront in South Africa’s Mother City, Cape Town, decided this would be a singular part of their identity from the get-go.

While Baxter, the Boston Terrier who “signs” welcome letters and features in their corporate design is no longer on the team (he and his owner moved to another property), the spirit of Baxter is very much alive and well at this high-energy property in the Silo area of the V&A Waterfront.

The lobby area of the Radisson RED instantly spells out how this may be different from other hotels. There is no traditional reception desk, but rather a free-flowing area on the left, where staffers are ready to check you in. There are giant red beanbags instead of couches and a natty red-coloured fridge, too. On the opposite side of the lobby is a long table at which people work or just hang. When we visited there previously there was a ping-pong table there, which, I was told, will return soon.

If ever a hotel was built with millennials in mind, this is it. The important stuff: lightening-speed internet and fully interactive big-screens in the rooms, as well as fashion-forward design, makes this property pop with colour and energy. The roof top features the Red Roof Bar in a converted truck, a long lap pool, and a kitchen serving pizzas and grills. There is also undercover seating on the roof and, with views over the Waterfront and 360 degrees around it, this is a prime party space. There are yellow hexagonal shaped plastic chairs and tables that are as comfortable to sit on as they are great to look at, while a perimeter border planted in red plastic crates adds greenery.

A table and chairs works as a dining and working area. The wall-side consul contains a coffee plunger, freshly ground coffee, a kettle and takeaway coffee cups. The bathroom, which features a walk-in rain shower with an additional high-power hand shower, has quality bathroom amenities at the ready for your use.

The ground floor eatery, OUIBar & KTCHN, serves an all-you-can eat breakfast and has a Selfie wall where you can screen-grab yourself and friends.

Travelling with Julie was also a pleasure. A dog bed, water and food bowls were provided. Do let them know in advance how large a pet you are travelling with, as the standard dog bed was too snug for Julie. We always travel with her bed in the car, so it wasn’t an issue at all for us.

Of course, there is a bar fridge and a laptop sized safe provided for your use, and we were happy to find fluffy disposable slippers and robes in the wardrobe. There is a 24-hour gym in the hotel too. Frankly, we loved being in the Red.

Radisson RED, V&A Waterfront
baxter@radissonred.com

Pets Need a Break too

Luxury travel writer, brian berkman, searches out the fabulous and often affordable options available to you and your pets. Julie, his rescued mixed-breed doggie-daughter insists on joining them.

An upmarket and fully versatile property which can be used as a weekend getaway, or an extended vacation for the whole family

After adopting Julie into their forever home, luxury-travel writer, BRIAN BERKMAN, and husband, JP, don’t want to leave home without her. The good news is that they mostly don’t have to.

There are colourful stories told about Schaap Island in Yzerfontein, a promontory that intersects the coast like a sharp incisor tooth, which is inaccessible during high-tide and, the story goes, was used to safely lodge and graze sheep and other livestock at night. As you enter Yzerfontein, about an hour and a bit from Cape Town, there are two strange-looking pits with National Monument insignia. These are among the original lime kilns in the area where black-mussel shells were burned until the carbon oxidized to mix into lime which was used for building and agriculture. A walk along the coast still shows the millennia mussel shells on the beaches and between the rocks.

Atlantica is designed to entertain. With seven luxurious bedrooms (six are en-suite), this is perfect for a getaway. There is an undercover braai area on one side of the house, and a patio with seating for 12 or more, with an adjustable awning, on the other.

There is a plunge pool, a very large open-plan kitchen, walk-in pantry and scullery, complete with dishwasher and washing machine, which leads to a games room with table-tennis table, darts and a library. There is a loft above it with additional accommodations. Do note that the stairs to the front door, and from the sitting area and balcony to the kitchen, are quite steep. As a pet-friendly property there are tiled floors, that can easily be kept clean.

We took Julie on a sea-front walk soon after we arrived, and we encountered another dog that was not on the lead. The other dog seemed friendly enough, at first, and came to meet Julie, while the owner caught up. In a millisecond a happy situation turned very bad and the dog bit Julie on her leg. She was yelping! Blood was spurting! We were panicking. The other dog’s owner suggested we take Julie to the local vet which we did, and he paid the bill. The vet cleaned the wound and gave us medicine for the next week. Very fortunately, Julie didn’t need stitches.

Of course, when we travel, and especially when we travel with children or pets, such a situation can really dampen the trip. We can only imagine what might have happened had the other dog’s owner not been a decent human. While we will probably always think of Yzerfontein as the place Julie was bitten, we will also remember a kind pet owner who took responsibility for their pet’s actions. He even checked-in on all of us the following day.

Exclusive use of the property is guaranteed, whether there are two or 16 guests. Rates are R2000 for two people plus R500 per person per night sharing, thereafter. The full house rates of R9000 per night applies for 16 guests, but also, irrespective of the number of guests, full-house rates are applicable between mid-December and mid-January, and over the Easter weekend. There is no mobile phone reception, but there is free and fast Wi-Fi throughout the property, as well as Netflix and Apple TV.

www.yzergetaways.co.za,
079 157 9932.

Being welcomed with open paws. While the Park Inn by Radisson, on Cape Town’s Heerengracht, on the foreshore, is ideally placed for people attending the theatre at the nearby Artscape Centre or the Cape Town International Convention Centre, which is within easy walking distance, it is also super convenient for a city break, where you are sufficiently close to feel the vibe, but sufficiently far away not to hear it.

The Park Inn by Radisson is among the growing number of hotels who understand, and most especially so since surviving lockdown together, that our pets are essential members of our families, and we don’t wish to travel without them. So, it is especially heartening to know that you and your four-legged family will be welcomed with open arms, or “open paws” as the welcome letter puts it, and special treats for Julie.

This is a four-star graded hotel, but the third-floor room we had, with a balcony overlooking the Foreshore fountain, could easily have been a five-star room. There are 120 rooms in the hotel, and all come with coffee machines and Lavazza pods, as well as a kettle and a selection of teas. Usefully, there is a lap-top sized safe and an ironing board and iron in the room, along with free Wi-Fi internet, Smart TV and a super-snazzy leather office chair on which to swivel, if the moods takes you.

But the best reason for staying here isn’t the smart room or new state-of-the-art gym, also on the third floor, but Harald’s roof-terrace and bar on the 11th floor, which seems to frame Table Mountain in such a spectacular way, you’d imagine it was purpose built to do so.

There is a tiny pool and an AstroTurf “grassy” patch with doggie bowls and loads of high tables at which to perch, and comfortable loungers too.
You and your dogs are welcome throughout the hotel and even in the RGB ground-floor eatery for all day grazing and where a delicious breakfast is served.
It has been a while since we have been in the Foreshore and the whole area, from the fountain which is now looking glorious and working full-time, to the neat landscaping along the Heerengracht, seems much upgraded since we were there last. Julie loved our walks long the grassy patches and into Green Market Square, and while we have lived in Cape Town all our lives, this most recent visit suggested that the city improvement projects, and local government safety initiatives, are really succeeding.

The Park Inn provides secure undercover parking, albeit via Thibault Square, which you must access from behind the hotel. We had the feeling that everything was switched on – all the staff we encountered – from the welcome at the front door, to ordering delicious food on the rooftop, were ready, friendly and efficient, but not in that sometimes-bristling way that makes one a little uncomfortable. We can’t wait to go back, if only because Julie so loved the special doggie-bed they provided for her and her being the near constant centre of attention.

www.Radissonhotels.com/parkinn
021-427-4800.

Pets Need a Break too

From farm stays to luxurious hotels and guesthouses, travel writer Brian Berkman doesn’t want to explore without doggie-daughter Julie coming along.

Ella’s Country House

“Ella’s really does provide all the comforts you need. A king-sized and very comfortable bed, writing desk, and two sleeper couches for additional accommodations in the open-plan space.”

In her continuing plans for an on-going jetset lifestyle, Julie chastises Brian Berkman each time they return home from a fabulous pet-friendly stay.

I’ve created a monster. Ever since Julie has become a travel dog, she punishes me when we return to our daily life. It is not that she is a snob – you see – but rather she likes to be out so much, that being home no longer makes the grade.

The first time I felt the sting of her indignation, I thought I was imagining things. But now, after eight different pet-friendly stays, I see the trend as clear as day. When we return, like we did recently from a wonderful farm stay at Kleindoorn Guesthouse, near Barrydale, she makes a point, when we get home, of pooing onto thorny spikes that almost slash my fingers when I pick it up. I even upgraded poo bags to those extra thick biodegradable ones. She seeks out the prickliest of fynbos on the mountain and, carefully takes aim to land just between the leaves making scratches and pricks all but unavoidable. And, when we returned from Ella’s in the wonderfully rural village of Greyton, she did the same thing. Julie has become a Hitchcockian villain.

Greyton was a particular highlight for her. It was her first close encounter with horses and cattle on foot. Greyton is like that. We did the Gifkloof Trail, which is a seven kilometer round trip with some steep climbs, but nothing tricky. There are wonderful views over the village from the peak, 330 meters up. Ella’s, in Greyton, is at 88 Main Road and about one kilometer away from the centre of the village and its charming restaurants. Ella’s is hosted by a wonderful chef, Jonathan, who, by prior arrangement, will cook for you. Although billed as self-catering accommodation, it isn’t really intended to be used to cook a feast, with only a microwave, Nespresso machine, toaster and bar fridge in the kitchenette. As Greyton accommodations go, Ella’s is among the most affordable at around R1000 a night. We loved the large-raised viewing deck and timber table, chairs and large canvas umbrella, which was for our exclusive use outside the entrance to our loft, from which we gazed at the mountain.

“ I’ve created a monster. Ever since Julie has become a travel dog, she punishes me when we return to our daily life.”

There is a chicken coop and Julie was preternaturally fascinated by them, so we kept her on her leash and made sure we weren’t in the acre large garden when the chickens were. There is an eco pool at Ella’s that uses plants and stones as a natural filtration, and we were very impressed to see their special, composting fence, which acts as a bug hotel so that the bugs keep away from the kitchen garden and the rest of us. Ella’s really does provide all the comforts you need. A king-sized and very comfortable bed, writing desk and two sleeper couches for additional accommodations in the open-plan space. Note that while the loo and shower are behind a wall and door that provides visual privacy, there is a significant gap between the top of the walls and the thatched ceiling.

There is a very large, shared fireplace as well as a Weber in a covered lapa, with comfy couches off the garden to enjoy the outdoors, but under cover.

See ellas.co.za for booking details.

Kleindoorn Guest House

To take full advantage of life off the lead consider a farm stay where you and your dogs are treasured guests. The Kleindoorn Guesthouse near Barrydale in the Little Karoo is a working farm with a classic farmhouse available to rent. Built in 1900, the thick walls and high ceilings mean that even in the Karoo heat, the house is always a comfortable temperature. While this is a no-frills option, it is supremely comfortable and wonderful to luxuriate in the vast open spaces.

While the house has a gate and a low slate wall, both Julie and the farm’s resident, Vizsla, a caramel-coloured beauty named Lucy, could easily jump over it. Although there is very poor mobile phone reception on the farm, there is excellent free wi-fi. The farmhouse, built in the original style with a large covered verandah in the front, has three bedrooms and two bathrooms, but many other beds in public areas that do double duty as divans for reading and lounging.

Our favourite spot was the sunroom, looking onto the hill behind the house. With large windows, the room is bathed in natural light, and is the perfect place to write or to paint, which the previous occupant, the celebrated Afrikaans writer, poet and painter, Christine Barkhuizen-le Roux did. Do make a point of ordering meat and their very special farm sausage – boerewors – made only with beef mince from the farm’s Wagyu cattle.

What’s important to know is that, while there is a small toaster oven with two hot plates on top and an electric frying pan, your best bet is to braai (bbq) in the large indoor fireplace in the kitchen or in one of two equally large fireplaces outside. We loved the one directly outside the front door for the vast views over vineyards, groves of apricot trees, poplars in the distance, and the blue-tinged mountains.

There is a mountain walking route to a waterfall behind the house and you can walk forever along the farm roads. Here you have space, space and space. Be sure to have solid walking shoes as there are many thorns in the veld and, on more than one occasion, we had to take a thorn out of Julie’s paw. Although when Lucy came to visit us in the house, Julie barked aggressively at her, but when they met up outside the house, they became firm friends. As overprotective parents, we very rarely let Julie truly run free, but we are so pleased that we did, as we witnessed an unbridled joy in her that we don’t often see. On one walk, along the farm roads, she and Lucy were darting amongst the fynbos and Karoo bush and even though we were worried about her encountering a snake, we decided to let her enjoy freedom.

Of course, back on the lead at home, she used the first opportunity to remind me how much more she likes being away than being home by selecting the pointiest and finger-cutting bush to discharge her duty.

https://kleindoorn.wordpress.com

Pets Need a Break too

FROM A LARGE COUNTRY HOME FOR EXTENDED-FAMILY STAYS TO ONE OF THE BEST HOTELS IN THE WORLD, BRIAN BERKMAN WANTS JULIE TO COME ALONG.

Faraway Estate

“I suppose, with a property as palatial as this one, having so many indoor spots to explore, kept her busy. We did venture out, but after an hour we were all soaked and our shoes and paws muddy. Thankfully, we had left a fire burning in one of those fabulous ceramic fireplaces in the kitchen, that safely contain sparks, and it was toasty when we arrived back.”

Faraway Estate, a moment outside the town of Villiersdorp, is set up against the mountain. It is a palatial home for gatherings of between 6 to 20 people, and pet-friendly. Built with entertaining in mind – each downstairs reception room opens into the next with French doors everywhere. 20 people can sit around the main dining table. The walled pool with loungers and covered dining area, keeps the wind away while a tennis court, croquet set, billiards room and mountain walks are there for those who want to stay active.

A walk-in, restaurant-sized cold room and an ice-maker, along with all the mod-cons, make the kitchen a dream for foodies. There is a cellar (with another huge table), five fire places throughout the house and a zillion places to braai. We chose two days in early March during which it didn’t stop raining. The true success of a getaway is that it can still be marvellous, even when the weather isn’t, and this property really succeeds. Even Julie, our mixed-breed darling (although some people say she is a Canis Africanas, and when I look at photos of Canis lupus familiaris, she seems to, at least, in part to fit – her nose and short-coat the most characteristic attributes among them) loved it. She was more than happy to hang out with us. I suppose, with a property as palatial as this one, having so many indoor spots to explore, kept her busy. We did venture out, but after an hour we were all soaked and our shoes and paws muddy. Thankfully, we had left a fire burning in one of those fabulous ceramic fireplaces in the kitchen, that safely contain sparks, and it was toasty when we arrived back.

Set on a working apple, pear and stone-fruit farm, high up against the mountain, this is the ideal place to holiday as an extended family or with friends. It is also a popular wedding venue. The main manor house accommodates six people in absolute luxury, and there is a standalone cottage and loft space that accommodate five people and six people respectively, suited to a young family or close friends.

The main house (sleeps six) is available from R6000 per night for a minimum of a two night stay. We cannot wait to return.
https://www.farawayestate.com

The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa

THE 12 APOSTLES HOTEL & SPA IS A DELUXE, MULTIPLE AWARD-WINNING RED CARNATION PROPERTY WITH TABLE MOUNTAIN’S 12 APOSTLES RANGE AS YOUR BACKYARD, AND THE ATLANTIC OCEAN AS YOUR FRONT ROOM. Julie is always the star of the show whenever we travel with her, and I don’t mind telling you, sometimes I am a little jealous of all the positive attention she receives.

At the 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa, dogs and cats are welcome to dine in the Leopard bar. The hotel has an especially designed branded plinth into which food and water bowls fit, and the plushest of plush royal blue cushions on which to sleep. Our suite had direct access to the lawns and mountain, so we didn’t think it wise to let her be off-lead, even when taking in the afternoon sun while overlooking the sea. Julie seemed especially fond of chasing Rock Hyrax, which are a protected species.


The beauty of the Leopard Bar at the 12 Apostles, is that while they have an extensive list of alcoholic drinks (gins seem a particular favourite), they also have an equally long list of alcohol-free drinks, including some botanicals that they have made themselves. And, the menu at The Leopard Bar, serving food from breakfast through to late in the evening, is affordable and delicious. Of course, there is a well-equipped gym, but with direct access to the “Missing Link” contour path on Table Mountain – a favourite with mountain bikers – you have every opportunity to be as active as you wish. Sloth is, however, equally encouraged here.

There is a small luxe cinema with jars of candy and posh popcorn, and the spa is rightly well loved and acclaimed. The spa is always popular and numbers are being limited to ensure Covid-19 compliance, so book ahead. In 2002 The 12 Apostles Hotel & Spa was purchased by the Tollman family’s Red Carnation Group and renovated into the magnificent and award-chart topper hotel it is today, with 55 gracious rooms and 15 sumptuous suites, each individually decorated.

The Red Carnation trademark is much more than a buttonhole. In previous years, rooms offered a well-equipped stationery drawer, now replaced by USB charging outlets and light-speed Internet. A helium-filled balloon is another Red Carnation tradition, a touch of whimsy within the deeply luxurious and elegant interiors.

The most important signature is less easy to see, but almost instantly felt. There is a warmth and generosity of spirit in the hospitality offered at each Red Carnation Hotel encountered, that makes the guest experience stand head and shoulders above its competitors.

Although the interiors at The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa are stunning, with museum-quality South African oil paintings and a full collection of Cecil Skotnes lithographs as you approach the Azure restaurant, it is what lies outside that really takes your breath away.

There is a bark-a-licious and a Cat Purr-fect menu created by the hotel’s executive chef, Christo Pretorius, in conjunction with a local vet. Pet beds, emblazoned with the 12A hotel logo, and elegant food and water-bowl holders, are available at no extra cost if you let the hotel know at the time of your reservation that you are traveling with four-legged family. https://12apostleshotel.com

Pets Need a Break too

Never mind the 4 X 4, four-legged travel is where it is at. As we increasingly find we have to avoid other people, our relationship with our family unit becomes even more essential. And, if, as in ours, a pet is included in that family unit, then being away without them is a hardship and should be avoided. Happily, and ever more so, as hotels and guesthouses adapt to the new normal, well-behaved pets are invited too.

The Marine Hotel in Hermanus recently updated their pet policy. Guests in ground-floor rooms with a balcony are most welcome to bring their princess pooches or, indeed, feline friends along for the visit at no extra cost, providing a pet service is requested at the time of booking. As an elegant yet comfortable seaside hotel, The Marine knows that those of us travelling with pets want to have clear directions about where we and our pets will be welcome. All the information, including a copy of the Bark-A-Licious menu and the option of an in-room pet sitter, was explained in a note addressed to Julie, our doggie daughter.

Like all things at The Marine Hotel (and any of the other fine hotels in the Liz McGrath Collection), the warm hearted, yet efficient customer-centric service, will leave one wishing that handshakes or even hugs to show appreciation were again permitted. It is hard not to be emotionally touched by the staff at this landmark hotel.

Do be prepared though to have less of the limelight. Julie was certainly the star of the show during our recent visit, with all the staff knowing her name and enquiring after her. She may have been travelling with us, but from her perspective we were simply part of her entourage. While we selected our breakfast, sitting poolside under the awning where jasmine and pink bougainvillea competed for attention, the chef came to enquire how Julie would like her burger cooked. Any notion of our Julie being an elegant sophisticate, she does, after all, have a twinset (matching harness and leash), went out of the window as she inhaled her carefully prepared and presented burger and rice. As an aside, for days since returning home from The Marine, she looked accusingly at us come mealtimes. Although we always travel with food and a bed for Julie, The Marine Hotel has more than everything you will need – even, thoughtfully, some snacks for her and a roll of poo-bags along with a plush cushion which, being the snob she is, she preferred.

While in Hermanus, make a point to walk along the cliff path, 11km of craggy coast and likely the best land-based place to see whales. Julie is fascinated by the Dassies that live among the milkwood trees and in the crags. Also, in the nearby Fernkloof Nature Reserve, dogs on a leash are welcome to use the blue walking route.

Note that this route is quite exposed to the sun during summer so take care not to overheat. But, with all the luxury and pampering on offer at The Marine Hotel you, as we, will be tempted to spend days at the heated pool. Room service includes cuisine from all The Marine’s restaurants, including the outstanding Origins, at no additional tray charge.

Greater pet-friendly luxury will be hard to come by.

The Marine Hotel, Hermanus
https://www.themarinehotel.co.za

Walk among the citrus orchards at Petersfield, a working citrus and rooibos-tea farm on the N7 near Citrusdal. Accommodations are self-catering and vary in size from the romantic two-person Stonehaven cottage, high on the mountain, to an extended family-sized house, Die Veepos cottage.

Pets are welcome throughout, but note that Stonehaven is not fenced in while the others are. With more than a kilometer between accommodations, one feels wonderfully isolated. Although among the most affordable of accommodation options, one leaves Petersfield with a sense of the owner’s generosity.

Loads of additional firewood, is one example, and the invitation to pick lemons from the tree when you see them is yet another. Also, the thoughtful touches like salt and pepper in the kitchen and good quality kitchen implements are remembered. Standouts at Petersfield include outside baths (there are tubs inside too) and a plunge pool to stay cool in the heat. Or, come winter, the sort of sofa in front of the fireplace that simply invites sloth.
Julie loved her walks around the dam (take care that the dam is deep and plastic lined and dogs or children might slip in), through the orchards and the impressive avenue of poplar trees and up the mountain to look at the tea lands on the opposite side.

There is good MTN mobile and data reception, and the tranquility of being ensconced in nature with your loved ones makes it a regenerative visit and worthy of an extended stay.

Pet-Friendly Accommodation Yzerfontein

31 on Seaview is a great escape from the hustle and bustle of City life, to revive mind, body and soul for a quick weekend break away (or longer stay)

Fully equipped, 31 on Seaview, is a very cosy, self-catering and pet-friendly apartment nestled in the heart of Pearl Bay, Yzerfontein. Conveniently situated a mere 99 km from Cape Town International Airport, the V & A Waterfront and Winelands.

31 on Seaview is only 150 m from the beach, offering exquisite ocean views, breath-taking sun and moon sets, clear star bonanzas and the continuous sound of the waves breaking – absolute music to your ears. Our unique “town” also boasts free roaming ostriches, and observing their rather peculiar way of walking on the tar road, will put an instant smile on your face.

The living area opens onto a deck through 2 sliding doors to enjoy a braai with astonishing sea view. The elevated deck makes it a possibility to do some whale watching, see dolphins riding the waves, enjoy sea lions leisurely playing around behind the waves or observing the odd flock of seabirds either going South or North. The deck is fully enclosed with stacker doors to protect the guest from the nasty South Easter. A portion of the deck is also under a glass cover.

The main bedroom opens onto the deck with a breath-taking sea view. The room comprises a king-size bed, built-in cupboards and a dressing table with mirror. The second bedroom has a garden view and comprise twin beds, built-in cupboards and a dressing table with large mirrors. The unit has a full bathroom with bath, shower, toilet, and basin. For the not so faint hearted, we even offer an outside warm water shower with a sea or star view.

The fully equipped open-plan kitchenette offers everything you need for preparing a home-cooked meal. Alternatively, Yzerfontein offers 6 restaurants where you can enjoy scrumptious meals, if preferred.

To make your stay even more memorable and comfortable, the unit is equipped with a FULL DSTV bouquet, DVD Player, Sound Bar as well as Wi-Fi.

Max, our three-year-old Border Collie, ensures our pet-friendly environment. He is a very sociable, furry friend and his warm and friendly personality will make your stay even more pleasant.

We offer a unique surprise welcoming package. The unit is stocked with ample coffee (filter and instant), tea (normal or rooibos) and sugar.

We definitely ²aim to please” and will do everything in our ability to ensure one of your most memorable holidays ever!!!

Book now by quoting PetPrints and you will receive a 10% discount on our normal rates.

31onseaview 076 868 5258 letitia.post@yahoo.com
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