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.

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., +27 (0)21 434 111,

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