Ok let me first discuss the "issue" of the open plan layout in the Paradise suite. I almost let a couple of the previous griping reviews sway our decision to stay at Kanonkop and I'd hate for something similar to befall other TripAdvisor readers. In short, the Paradise suite is everything that Frommer's wrote about when they called it "the best room in Knysna." Yes, the open plan layout can be disconcerting (especially if you're a new couple) BUT the suite has a second, competely detached bathroom just steps away on the first floor. I have no idea what the other reviews were complaining about regarding size (the suite is easily larger than most 1 bedrooms in New York or London). Don't forget the lagoon views or outdoor patio--spectacular, especially at sunset with a glass of your favorite beverage.
Kanonkop is a fantastic, beautiful retreat just on its own, but when you factor in the warm, hospitality provided by Chris and Mark, it steps into a whole other class. To be clear, if you're looking for a large hotel akin to a luxury chain offering (i.e., St. Regis, Jumeirah, etc.) then you're probably more interested in Pezula. Personally, I find that type of lodging a bit impersonal and devoid of local flavor, especially when there are beautiful places like Kanonkop in the area. Mark and Chris are incredibly personable and warm and go to great lengths to make you feel at home straight away. Chris was able to accurately direct us to some of Knysna's better dining choices, and Mark gave my wife and I a super hiking itinerary that we would never have found just using the guide books. If you're looking to connect with the true essence of South African hospitality, I know of no better hosts.
We stayed for two nights on a week long Garden route journey and when we go again (South Africa is too wonderful to visit only once!) I'll skip some of the places we stayed in Nature's Valley and head back to Kanonkop--truly delightful.
P.S. Spicy mushrooms at breakfast. Delicious.
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