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.
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.
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.
Named after the founder and first owner of the farm where the Steenberg Hotel was built, Catharina’s Restaurant provided a dining venue for hotel guests and local residents. During our four night stay at the hotel we enjoyed several meals there including breakfast daily as well as lunch and dinner.
After a Monday morning of pampering at the spa at the well known One&Only Hotel within the V & A Waterfront we understood why the spa was popular with locals. About 80 percent of the spa guests were local, we found out following our visit. Patronage from area residents who are knowledgable of choices and able to get around easily, is often an indication of high quality, I find.
This urban gourmet restaurant won us over with its bustling ambiance, friendly service, and elaborate gourmand meal. We arrived in the early evening to find a sparsely filled dining room. A reservation error had nearly cost us our table on our last night in Cape Town so we were delighted to discover we had been seated at the Chef’s Table, at an elevated counter immediately in front of the executive chef and the open style kitchen.