BY BRIAN BERKMANLuxury 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.
For the final issue of 2023, luxury travel writer and now also travelling-with-pets expert, Brian Berkman selects his Best of the Best.
There are a number of accommodation options available on this Villiersdorp in the Western Cape farm which are in converted and updated cottages but the Container House at Pendennis Farm, is newly built from repurposed refrigerated containers and can comfortably accommodate eight people.
The best part is the price, pitched at an affordable R320 per person, this is the sort of location where it may well be affordable to extend a stay and with your beloved pets with you, there is no reason not to.
The Container House has two bedrooms with double beds, one bedroom with a queen-sized bed and one with double-bunk beds. There are two bathrooms with loos and shower and one also has a large tub.
www.pendennisfarm.co.za, firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone +27 72 363 1937
Although only graded three-stars, Norfolk Guesthouse in Hermanus with its five suites offers so much value and comfort in albeit homely accommodation that the value for money and enjoyable time you will have there almost elevates it. There is off-street secured parking and wi-fi. Enjoy their extensive DVD and book library which is intended for guest use. The full DSTV bouquet is available. A king-sized bed and comfy chairs in the room along with a plastic table and six chairs outside also makes this a suitable spot for entertaining. The small plunge pool is set in a rockery with cascading water feature and a great spot to catch the rays or to cool off.
Norfolk Guest House, 0765261000, email@example.com
Julie’s bed at the fabled Red Carnation’s 12 Apostles Hotel & Spa on the edge of The Atlantic was large and luxurious. We were welcome to dine with her in the Leopard Bar, on the second floor which arguably has the best view in the house. Their pet menu, which includes purr-fect bites for cats too, was created by executive chef Christo Pretorius in conjugation with local vet. Beef fillet with boiled potato wedges and gravy or chopped vegetable and chicken salad and others.
The hotel has an especially designed branded plinth into which food and water bowl 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 the lead, even when taking in the afternoon sun while overlooking the sea.
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 .The Marine Hotel, Hermanus.
With the launch of five SunPet rooms, the SunSquare Cape Town, Gardens provides a wonderful amenity for folks travelling with pets. Most impressive is the Sealy pet bed. While Julie curled up on the bed I lay on the floor and rested my head on it to be close to her. That was probably the most comfortable my head has ever been!
SunPet rooms come at a R250 premium and a R500 returnable deposit is payable. What you get for this, in addition to having your beloved pet with you, is the fabulous bed, branded food and water bowls, a synthetic grass patch on which to pee, toys, poo bags and most importantly, vinyl floors which means keeping the room hygienic is easy. Pets and humans are welcome to
dine together on the deep covered balcony at Zepi, the hotel’s buffet and grill restaurant and from where a generous breakfast buffet is served. Order from the Woof Cuisine menu Steak Frites (R65) or Paw Licken Chicken (R35). There are Purrific items on the menu to order for cats too.
De Waal Park, established in 1895, is a fully walled and gated park and was one of the city’s first dog-friendly locations is around the corner.
SunSquare Cape Town Gardens, 10 Mill Street, Gardens, Cape Town, +27-21-4651311 www.sunsquarehotelcapetown.co.za
About 15-minutes out of Greyton, Hemelsbreed is a farm with three different accommodation options. The Witpeer is a cosy cottage that sleeps two people while there is a large farm house, Wildevy nearby. Dogs are welcome throughout. Julie loved the run of the vast lawns in front of the cottage and was also happy in the enclosed back area with a low wall.
If you are traveling in larger groups, The Wildevy farmhouse accommodates 12 people in total if most in your party are happy with dorm-style loft accommodation. There are three king-sized bedrooms each with an ensuite bathroom although all are not fully private. With a jungle-gym play area, a pool and swings hanging from tall trees, there is much here to keep you busy and equally important, benches under trees and many quiet corners for contemplation within the beautiful environment.
The waterlily covered dam is breathtaking and guests are invited to swim in it or use the little rowboat.
You get pet-friendly and then you get Boschendal. Redefining what travel with your four-legged friends can be, Boschendal Estate is so welcoming of on-leash pets that the well-provisioned Farm Shop has an extensive range of pet snacks on offer. You are also most welcome to have your pets eat with you at the outside seating at restaurants and anywhere at Boschendal’s rightly famous picnic area.
But, with more pet-friendly accommodation to add to its already supremely popular Trout Cottage, Cottage 1685, the date that the main gabled farm house was built, is now since the installation of a vast perimeter fence, also pet-friendly.
This villa can accommodate up to 10 people The front garden might be hectares large. This is the only place that we have visited with Julie where we had no concern if we didn’t see her every few minutes. And, to see her charging around the garden with such glee trying to chase the squirrels or the guineafowls give us pleasure too.
HOME SUITES HOME
The Home Suites Hotels, The Bristol in Rosebank, Johannesburg, The Quarter in De Waterkant, Home Suites Sea Point and Home Suites Station House, also in Sea Point, provide a top-notch luxury guest experience and they are all pet friendly.
The home Suite Hotels Station House, Home Ultra Pooch Pad comes with an expanding dog bed, dog food and water bowls, toys and some delicious dog treats. And, so that humans are not outdone by our beloved four-legged family, there is a sitting room with TV streaming Netflix, a mini kitchen with espresso machine, sink, microwave and fridge and shower room with loo. For “bleisure” (business and leisure – get it?) travellers there’s a work area with desk and task lamp.
The L-shaped balcony has the kennel on one side with two chairs and a cocktail table. On the other side is a dining table that can comfortably accommodate four people. Although you can’t see the sea from your balcony, it has wonderful Lion’s Head and cityscape views.
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.
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 hang. If ever a hotel were 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 kitchen serving pizzas and grills. A dog bed, water and food bowl were provided. There is a 24-hour gym in the hotel too.
Radisson RED, V&A Waterfront firstname.lastname@example.org
Pets are welcome throughout Petersfield in Citrusdal but note that Stonehaven, the house highest up on the mountain, is not fenced in while the others are.
With more than a kilometre 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 fire wood, for example, and the invitation to pick lemons from the tree when you see them speak to this. 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.
THE POINT HOTEL, MOSSEL BAY
The primary attraction of staying at The Point Hotel and Spa is the location. 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. 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. 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.