Glen Avon Lodge

Glen Avon Lodge

What I liked most about Glen Avon Lodge, a small historic property (the internal structure and many original features of the main building dated back to 1785 and remained unchanged) in Constantia, a suburb of Cape Town, South Africa, was the owners’ welcoming demeanor. From the moment we met I felt a simpatico connection with Annette Stringer. Later, I had a chance to meet her husband and Wendy Drummond, her daughter and property co-owner. I appreciated their hard working ethic, straightforward communication preference, employee training and empowerment practices, and efforts to give back to their community.

Grande Roche Hotel

Grande Roche Hotel

From the moment Judain from reception greeted me in the off street gated parking lot until his colleague Fenna waved good-bye from the main building terrace I felt welcome at the Grande Roche Hotel. Amenities like fresh flowers, wine and tasty treats in my suite on arrival added to my comfort. Smiling faces and offers of assistance met me at every turn. The staff followed up courteous words with immediate action. For example, when the WiFi in my suite wouldn’t work Judain bent over backwards until it was fixed. Like her staff Anja Bosken, general manager, who I met for dinner, was a charming and welcoming host.

Buitenverwachting Restaurant

Buitenverwachting Restaurant

Sitting in a corner table in the newly redone glass enclosed veranda I marveled at the beautiful view of the Buitenverwachting Estate’s vineyards in the foreground and the Constantiaberg Mountains in the background. It was true to the property name which I’m told translates to “beyond expectations.” Even if the meal had been disappointing, which it was not, I would have enjoyed my time there.

Birkenhead House and Villa

Birkenhead House and Villa

Staying at Birkenhead House was like staying at a friend’s elegant well staffed beach house. While the interior and accommodations were attractive and art filled and the meals convenient it was the vistas, sea breeze, surf sounds and access to outdoor site specific activities that I especially enjoyed at the boutique hotel. During our stay we made time to explore the coastal area near Birkenhead House and a bit of Hermanus, the well known whale watching town.

The Roundhouse & Rumbullion Restaurant

The Roundhouse & Rumbullion Restaurant

As we sat on the lawn in front of the gourmet restaurant looking out onto Camps Bay with glasses of chilled South African bubbly in hand we realized what a special evening was unfolding. We were surrounded by a dozen or so tables of couples, families and groups, each absorbed in their conversation while the gentle light of the waning sun, all that remained of a sunny and hot Cape Town day, dimmed slowly. A handsome man wearing a dark suit, a bright pink tie and a radiant smile had welcomed us when we arrived and escorted us to our aperitif spot a short distance from the restaurant door. Just as we were thinking about food he reappeared to escort us to our indoor table at The Roundhouse.

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

While we much enjoy our visits to Cape Town one activity we miss is walking, especially nature walks. For years we had wanted to visit the well known botanical garden and finally on our last visit to the city we scheduled time early one morning while staying in the nearby Constantia residential area.

As soon as the Garden opened we were ready with walking shoes, sun block and camera gear. Although cloudy weather threatened us soon after our arrival we managed a worthwhile exploration of the main areas of the Garden with the enthusiastic help of Andrew Jacobs, our experienced and affable guide who had worked at Kirstenbosch for 36 years.

The park’s location at the foot of the famed Table Mountain allowed us a clear view of the Cape Flats, a rare sight, our guide explained, and one we throughly took advantage of that morning. In order to stay ahead of the rain we kept a brisk pace while still making time to admire a flower, discuss a plant or snap a photograph.