My partner and I recently returned from our wedding/honeymoon trip in Southern Africa, where we stayed 4 nights at the Dock House in Cape Town, 3 nights at La Residence in Franschhoek, 3 nights at the Plett, 5 nights at Singita Boulders, 2 nights at the Saxon in Johannesburg, and 5 nights at Azura on Benguerra Island, Mozambique. As nice as the Plett is, it was the most underwhelming property of all that we visited.
We originally had planned to book a Deluxe Suite for our 3 nights. We ended up winning an auction where we paid little more than half of what that would have cost to stay in the Lookout Villa for 5 nights. We were only able to stay for 3 nights, but we were very excited to see what the Lookout Villa entailed.
The Lookout Villa is basically 2 beach houses next to the main hotel property that the hotel purchased (and includes the Spa facilities and another Villa). We stayed in what we considered the nicer Villa, though we did tour the other Villa and the rest of the hotel property with the general manager during our stay. In our opinion, the Villas were just OK beach houses with OK furnishings and decor--but nothing special, unless you consider having 3 bedrooms special. The layouts were just OK. They were spacious--ours particularly so--but we were very glad that we hadn't paid for the stay.
We did enjoy the sense of privacy of being in our own house, of course, which is why we never did transfer to the original Deluxe Suite (which the general manager kindly had reserved for us in case we preferred that over the Villa). She had reserved the best Deluxe Suite in the hotel for us, and it did have spectacular views. But it was also a bit smaller than the other deluxe suites, so we decided to stay in the Villa since ocean view is not something we crave--living in Newport Beach, CA, with our own spectacular ocean view!
However, the privacy was often interrupted by security guards walking around our house but inside our perimeter wall. Talk about disconcerting to be sitting semi-naked on your pool deck when a security guard pops around the corner and looks up and sees you! Not very private. We were very troubled by that. Also, we learned that just days before, a woman had been murdered literally around the corner from our Villa, literally just a block away, which probably explained the security but didn't inspire peace and relaxation!
Had we stayed in the hotel, we determined that we would have been similarly underwhelmed. The design and decor for the suites was minimal and serene, but not overly impressive. The views out to Plettenberg Bay really varied wildly--when they were great, the room was usually smaller, and when the views were blocked or not available, the rooms were usually much more spacious--a weird arrangement to us based upon the rates charged and compared to other seaside properties, at least.
Service at the hotel was, for the most part, very good. We had some really annoying issues with internet, and it appeared that at least partially those were because of nationwide system upgrades. But the wireless functionality in the Villas, which are advertised as having wireless, was often problematic, too--and that had nothing to do with internet connectivity. Getting a fix was a trial, and that soured us a little, too. We like to look online for news, check Facebook, update everyone on our honeymoon, so for us it was an issue. For others who don't care or need internet, not a problem, I'm sure.
The restaurant, Sand, however, was the standout. We LOVED it. I would return to Plettenberg just for the chance to eat at Sand. I loved it more than La Colombe in Cape Town. The food was outstanding, and the service was just as good. Breakfast, lunch, dinner--all were exceptional. Absolutely, dining at Sand made our stay memorable.
I will also say that we must have missed the right time of year to be on the Garden Route, because we were both underwhelmed. We drove for an hour or so along the Route and kept wondering when the really spectacular scenery would begin. It never really did, though there were hints here and there. Our highlight was my doing the Bloukrans Bridge bungy jump--twice. Otherwise, we probably won't bother returning to either the Plett or the area.
In short, we felt that for the rates charged, the Plett fell a little short of impressive. It's a nice hotel, but it lacked "punch" for us. The restaurant, Sand, however, gave us many memorable meals of incredible quality and service. Still, in the end, we would prefer to try out the Birkenhead House in Hermanus or another coastal property rather than return to the Plett.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Plettenberg - situated on a rocky headland in Africa's most spectacular coastal resort - is the ultimate escape. The 37 luxury rooms and suites, showcase the most breathtaking vistas in Southern Africa. With views of the ocean, mountains and endless stretches of golden beach, The Plettenberg is situated in the heart of the adventure-rich Garden Route, world-renowned for its excellent selection of outdoor activities. From regular dolphin and whale sightings to bungee jumping, treetop canopy tours and other more daring pursuits in the surrounding countryside. The Plettenberg is the ideal place to both relax and unwind - or recharge and reinvigorate - through a series of sensational endeavours. At The Plettenberg the charming service, exceptional cuisine, which is overseen by The Collection by Liz McGrath’s Grand Chef, Peter Tempelhoff, and the setting combine to create the ultimate story, one of a South African seaside property unlike any other. ... more less
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