Looking for High-end Exclusivity? Try The Royal Portfolio Hotels
Jul12

Looking for High-end Exclusivity? Try The Royal Portfolio Hotels

The Royal Portfolio is a handpicked selection of high-end hotels offering a sense of exquisite exclusivity. Catering for an international market seeking hotels and lodges of a superior standard, the Royal Portfolio certainly sets the benchmark in terms of elite destinations. This intimate collection is a portfolio of private residences, hotels and safari lodges located in sought-after tourist destinations. For those with an extended budget, and want the best-of-the-best, the Royal Portfolio is a must. The Royal Portfolio is a family-run business, and although its properties are upmarket, the ethos of familiar comfort is a primary focus. Royal Portfolio is about the luxury, the familiar and the experience. Each destination is in a must-visit area in South Africa. One of our consultants will happily combine an itinerary with a stay at the below properties, offering you a quintessential “South African” experience exploring the Cape winelands, whale watching town of Hermanus, Kruger bushveld experience and the buzzing Cape Town. Let’s take a peek inside their staggeringly elite hideaways. Royal Malewane in the Kruger’s Thornybush Private Game Reserve The Thornybush Private Game Reserve is a big 5 reserve forming part of the Greater Kruger region. Royal Malewane is a luxury safari lodge in the heart of the reserve, and was recently nominated as one of the best 50 resorts in the world by Condé Nast  Traveler. This classic safari lodge exudes a traditional safari feel combined with a modern take on decor. It’s understated and classy; and provides that much needed slice of luxury combined with the adventurous safari lifestyle. Game drives are led by highly qualified guides and trackers; and take place twice a day during the periods of time when predators are most active. During your down time between game drives, we encourage you to indulge in a spa treatment or simply soak up the bushveld atmosphere. In terms of accommodation, there are six luxury suites, two “Royal” suites that come complete with two bedrooms. Then there is the Africa House, which is an exclusive use villa. Birkenhead House in the Whale Watching Town of Hermanus The Birkenhead House is a stately coastal home overlooking expansive sea and cascading cliffs of Walker Bay in Hermanus. Hermanus is a bustling seaside village that enjoys hordes of visitors during “whale season”, which is the time of year when the southern right whales return to ancient breeding areas. Walker Bay is one of these destinations, and is a short drive from Cape Town, making it a popular add-on to a holiday in Cape Town. The Birkenhead sets the standard in terms of luxury destinations in Hermanus. Decor is contemporary coupled with tasteful beach-house...

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Don’t Forget the Herbivores. Top 4 Vegan Restaurants in Cape Town.
Jun05

Don’t Forget the Herbivores. Top 4 Vegan Restaurants in Cape Town.

There has been a global trend towards leading a healthier and more environmentally conscious diet that aims to conserve natural resources. People have, in recent years, become acutely aware of the origin of their food and also what what they’re putting into their body. The population is increasing exponentially and this puts pressure on the earth’s natural resources. Mass produced food shrouded in plastic, loaded with preservatives and pumped with chemicals has become the norm for most people. Society has become impatient, and thrives on fast and easy solutions. The movement towards a healthier and more sustainable way of living is slowly becoming the norm. It’s all about making more informed decisions with the realisation that your choices have ripple effects. A healthy diet is up to the individual and their circumstances, which can include anything from health to economic situation, and religious beliefs. There are some people will only eat organic vegetables and grass fed beef, others follow a purely plant based diet, some only eat ethically farmed animals, and others believe in a diet of 70% plant and 30% meat. Whatever the food belief system (and there’s no proof that one healthy diet is superior to another healthy diet), it’s abundantly clear that people have made a conscious effort to become educated about the source of their meals and snacks, which is a good thing. This blog post is for all the foliage loving folk that thrive on a plant based diet and have decided to follow a vegan based lifestyle. Cape Town tends to follow foodie trends and restaurants have jumped on the health bandwagon, with vegan restaurants cropping up everywhere. There are  plenty of noteworthy “themed” restaurants out there, but we cannot do due diligence to all of them, so we’ve selected our top 4 vegan restaurants (some are vegetarian but have a fully extensive vegan menu) located in popular tourist areas. Veganism is the term given to those that abstain from using animal products in both lifestyle and diet, and rejects the use of animals as a commodity” The Hungry Herbivore The Hungry Herbivore is 100% vegan restaurant located in the heart of Cape Town in a trendy and funky area worth exploring. It’s a small, cosy cafe vibe with simple decor and delicious food. There are products to purchase to take home with you. Order pizzas with cheese made from nuts, and finish off with a delicious slice of cheesecake. Location : 11 Orphan Street, Cape Town Tel: 021 422 0347 Opening Hours: 12:00 – 22:00 | Monday – Saturday Sunday | 9:00 – 15:00  Kitchen closes 30min before closing time Scheckter’s Raw in Sea Point...

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Tintswalo Atlantic : Cape Town’s Beach Paradise Hotel on the Water’s Edge
Jun02

Tintswalo Atlantic : Cape Town’s Beach Paradise Hotel on the Water’s Edge

Tintswalo Atlantic is located on the shoreline of the Atlantic Seaboard, and is a luxury retreat neatly tucked away in a private enclave at the base of Chapman’s Peak, one of the world’s most scenic drives. This exclusive five star hotel is literally on its own private section of rocky coastline. You’re so close to the water’s edge that it feels like you are literally on a private island, and would be forgiven for thinking that you’re slap bang on the set of The Beach. This place is paradise. It’s so secluded that you don’t see it unless you’re looking. You don’t simply drive past Tintswalo – you have to find it. The entrance to Tintswalo winds it way down from the top of Chapman’s Peak to a private bay area, where you the champagne and oyster lifestyle awaits. Tintswalo Atlantic is wild and secretive, which makes it that much more desirable.  Both the accommodation and main area are surrounded by diverse vegetation, which makes sense given that Tintswalo’s location is deep within the heart of the Cape Mountain reserve. Guests will be rewarded with astounding views of the Sentinel, the surrounding mountains and the endless expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. This is the place where you will wake-up to the sound of the ocean beating against the rocks and feel the fresh ocean breeze when you open the sliding doors from your suite. The 10 island suites are each designed according to a specific island. Each room is furnished to mirror the culture and theme its particular island, and there is even careful attention to detail when it comes to colour schemes. For example. Caribbean themed suites are bold, bright and vibrant designed to reflect the atmosphere of the Caribbean. The main area comprises plenty of wooden decking with views of the ocean, a swimming pool with deck chairs adorning the deck, and a swanky restaurant. The dining room spills out onto the outdoor decking area and has an array of cuisine on offer that caters for a variety of diets. The food is modern with creative flair, and visitors who aren’t hotel guests are welcome to book in advance for breakfast, lunch or dinner.      ...

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Top Michelin Style Restaurants in Cape Town and Johannesburg
May03

Top Michelin Style Restaurants in Cape Town and Johannesburg

If you have a flair for creating noteworthy cuisine and yearn to sample unusual dishes or food presented with never-seen-before techniques, then it goes without saying that you need to visit a Michelin star restaurant – or at least one of similar standing. With the introduction of the famed TV series, Masterchef, it’s certainly created a cultural buzz and a renewed interest in food. While South Africa doesn’t technically have “Michelin” star restaurants, our country is still home to a number of high-end restaurants that are of Michelin Star quality. The red Michelin Guide grades restaurants according to their quality, and thus the name “Michelin Star Restaurant” was adopted. The rating system varies from very good through to “exceptional cuisine worth a special journey”. Many UK, Europe, Australian and Asian restaurants are rated by the Michelin guide. If you’ve ever wanted to sample a dessert that looks like massive golden sphere or dine on delectable gourmet dishes, then we recommend these 4 high-end restaurants. Trust us, there are plenty more restaurants deserving of a place in our top 4 (you’ll have to use something called Google to find the others), but these are our favourites : Cape Town Top Restaurants The Test Kitchen  The Test Kitchen is located in the heart of buzzing Cape Town in the artistic and creative hub of Woodstock. Luke Dale-Roberts comes with a wealth of international experience and has opened up numerous restaurants across Asia. His space is contemporary and the vision is pure genius.Luke focuses intently on flavour and pairing ingredients that “technically” shouldn’t pair well with each other. Securing a spot in the world’s Best Restaurants Awards 2013, The Test Kitchen made an impressive leap to No. 61. * The below images are courtesy of The Test Kitchen website La Colombe (Constantia Nek) and La Petite Colombe (Franschhoek)  Located in the quiet valley of the Cape winelands region is the much talked-about La Colombe restaurant. This Asian-French inspired restaurant has, over the years, consistently received world-wide acclaim. It is now one of the top rated restaurants in South Africa. Owing to the success of the Constantia restaurant, La Colombe has now opened another restaurant at the foothills of the mountain range in the popular Franschhoek winelands region. Originally located amidst the vineyards of Constantia Uitsig, it has now under new ownership and has moved to a prime position on the Silvermist wine estate. It’s elevated position ensures exquisite views of the Constantia Valley extending as far as False Bay and Hout Bay. La Colombe was nominated in the world’s top 50 restaurants, and is famed for being a top notch fine dining establishment,...

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Combine the Famous Route 62 with a Karoo Wilderness Experience
Apr02

Combine the Famous Route 62 with a Karoo Wilderness Experience

The Cape’s famous Route 62 has been named as one of the must-do road trips while visiting the Western Cape. It’s an iconic drive that winds its way through numerous country towns hugged by vineyards and fruit orchards, and offers visitors an opportunity to explore the more remote and historical country-style part of the Cape. Looming mountain ranges and cliffs offer sweeping views of carpets of countryside and endless farm lands. Route 62 most certainly is a journey into the heart of the Cape, and it’s an unexpected delight. This country route is also a prime destination for food, wine and friendly people. You don’t have to travel far to discover off-the-beaten track gin distilleries (Six Dogs in Robertson), and stand alone craft beer brewery’s with rustic and delectable food. The plethora of farm stalls, art galleries and fresh country fare attracts many visitors, with each small town offering something different to its neighbour. The vast areas of this country part of the Cape certainly don’t only cater for foodies. There’s plenty of wilderness and adventure activities on offer, especially close to the Breede River which is ideal for canoeing and water sports. There are even expansive nature reserves just waiting for eager visitors to discover the archeological and historical significance of the Karoo region. A recent discovery of ours is the Roam Private Game Reserve in the Great Karoo. A stay at the reserve ties in perfectly with a Route 62 trip and a Garden Route exploratory trip. Staying at Roam will allow you to immerse yourself in the semi-arid desert surrounds of the Karoo. Roam offers its visitors a choice of three accommodation options, and their primary focus is to offer its visitors insight into conservation efforts of the area. You will have the opportunity to observe cheetah that have been rehabilitated and introduced into the area, and there are also opportunities to watch buffalo herds roaming the reserve. Coupled with observing these current conservation projects at Roam, you will also be able to spot a wealth of plains game such as giraffe, Kalahari gemsbok, hartebeest and even a colony of meerkats. In terms of the immediate environment, the Great Karoo is the place where time began. Flanked by the Swartberg mountains and hugged by endless arid savannah with craters and canyons; the Great Karoo is quite the biome. Palaeontologists delight in the fact that remnants and fragments of dinosaur bones have been found scattered throughout the expansive reserve. Dry riverbeds also have evidence of ancient civilisations and more recently, tools used by the original inhabitants of the area – the San people. The three accommodation options include the...

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Our Love Affair with 5 Star Grootbos Nature Reserve in the Overberg
Mar12

Our Love Affair with 5 Star Grootbos Nature Reserve in the Overberg

At the foot of the mountain along the Walker Bay Coastline in  the midst of carpets of indigenous Fynbos, lies the 5 star Grootbos Nature Reserve. Walker Bay is part of the Overberg region, a part of the Cape home to the world reknown whale watching town of Hermanus. Grootbos is set back from Walker Bay and views from the lodge extend across the mountains, and the scenic Walker Bay. The pristine surrounds of this eco-friendly destination offer plenty of natural wonders. There are over 100 species of bird fluttering about, 800 unique species of plant and 29 mammal/amphibian species making their home in this 2500 hectare indigenous bush. Grootbos is the perfect combination of beach and bush – Cape style! Grootbos Nature Reserve is is an easy self-drive from Cape Town, and makes an ideal detour if you’re driving from Cape Town via Hermanus to your final destination of the Garden Route. Alternatively, this star studded nature destination is worth earmarking on the map; even if it’s not en route to a more tourist orientated destination. There are a variety of accommodation options at Grootbos, each catering for a different type of traveller. The focus is always on conserving the environment, minimising your carbon footprint and sharing knowledge about conservation with guests. Under the milkwoods lies the 11 roomed Garden Lodge that is constructed from a natural mix of heavy wood and stone; and has uninterrupted views of the Walker Bay Coastline. It’s relaxed, and offers the perfect place to relax, while being surrounded by peace and quiet. There’s a swimming pool, library and even a beauty salon for the more indulgent guest. Forest Lodge is a slice of luxury amidst the tangled and unruly Fynbos. It’s modern, minimalist and boasts clean lines throughout. There are 16 suites linked via walkways, and each of the suites are located on a hill and give rise to exceptional view of the bay and surrounding Fynbos. Of course, it goes without saying that there are plenty of facilities that are typical to a five star destination. Expect a restaurant, boma, lounge, barista bar, and infinity pool housed in a romantic setting. Grootbos has two private villas offering an absolute sense of sophistication and grandeur in a secluded position with panoramic vistas from all angles of the lodge. Your private villa comes complete with a chef and butler; swimming pool, cinema, wine cellar and gym. And there’s even a landing strip for those who are, enviably, arriving in a helicopter or small plane. It’s not just the accommodation options that are mind-blowing, it’s also the culinary journey. Fine food prepared with locally...

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4 MUST See Historical Hotels in Cape Town
Mar07

4 MUST See Historical Hotels in Cape Town

Cape Town is home to a number of top end hotels catering for both the business and leisure traveller, and most of these hotels are of international standard. We love luxury rooms hiding behind expansive glass windows, swanky cocktail bars and business lounges; but sometimes we want something a little different. Something that offers an elite sense of privacy and luxury but has hints of authentic Cape. We want a cocktail of classy and historical. Something that makes us feel like we’re entrenched in the history of Cape Town. With that being said, we’ve come up with 4 hotels in Cape Town that are not only hotels but also landmarks. There plenty more on the list, but these are our 4 MUST see historical hotels in Cape Town. The Heritage Hotel The Heritage hotel is a unique hotel in that it combines an eclectic designer feel with the ancients of Cape Town. Conveniently located on Heritage Square, this bold boutique hotel is cocooned in a buzzing area of the city centre. Situated across the road from the colourful and significant Bo Kaap area, the Heritage is the ideal base for those seeking a cultural stay combined with fine dining opportunities. There are 17 well-appointed bedrooms that make-up this hotel, and there are numerous eateries on the square. The Heritage Hotel has a beautiful courtyard and is ideal for coffee meet-ups and dinners out. Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel in the Centre of Cape Town The foot of Table Mountain is home to a hotel that is probably one of Cape Town’s finest hotels in terms of history and heritage. The hotel is smothered in a salmon pink paint, ensuring it stands out from the crowd. But its colour bears plenty of meaning. It was painted pink for peace during 1918, and has remained the same colour ever since. The Mount Nelson is plush, ornate and grand. It’s THE destination for an authentic high tea experience and the entire atmosphere is a delightful cross between modern times and old world charm. There are a variety of suites and garden cottage suites, each of which is dotted throughout the gardens or in the main hotel. There are 7 wings to the hotel, and some of the rooms have balconies while others are more equipped for families travelling together. The Mount Nelson is the grand old lady of Cape Town, and she’s worth your time. Five Star Colona Castle on the False Bay Coast This 5 star classic hotel is set against a backdrop of mountain splendour. Located along the False Bay Coast, it’s the perfect base for guests wanting to stay in a boutique...

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