We stayed at the Spier Hotel this past weekend and it was very relaxing. And that is saying a lot as we have 3 small children. It's still relatively low season though so the hotel wasn't full. We really appreciated this and I'm not sure we would have enjoyed it as much if it had been full of people.
Spier does not allow dogs or animals of any kind but they do welcome kids of all ages....which was a big part of our decision to stay there. They have a kids club from 9 to 5pm and outside playgrounds with jungle gyms on the other side of the estate. Besides, even during low season, our kids always found other kids to play and run around with.
Room: We have 3 small kids and we booked a King-sized room with separate lounge and garden area. The garden led to an incline, which led to a small river. Even though our smallest is 2, we didn't feel like this was at all dangerous as it was a bit far off and the garden area was quite big. We really enjoyed the room and it was very spacious with a kitchenette and gas fireplace. They set up two beds on the floor and a cot in the lounge for our kids.
Only drawbacks were: we could hear our upstairs neighbors too loudly and they must have a small child who likes to throw tantrums and move furniture at 11pm at night! In any case, we finally called the front desk and asked them to talk to our neighbors. They did so and we had a restful night's sleep after that.
Our room looked very clean but after I stepped on a small piece of broken glass in the lounge and had to clean the hard-to-see grime in the bathtub, I realized that the cleanliness was only on the surface. Also, no toilet brush. Perhaps this is also considered service but there are certain things I'd prefer to clean myself. Just a matter of good hygiene.
Service: No complaints. You can tell that service is very important at Spier. It was almost as if everyone who works there is pre-programmed to be "nice". It can seem a bit much sometimes (for example when a manager came up to me at the restaurant and asked "Are we making you happy?") until you recall how many places have no concept of customer service whatsoever. So I applaud their effort to make customers happy. We didn't ask for much during our stay but when we did, we got positive and prompt response.
We wouldn't have booked at Spier if they didn't have a kids' club. The kids club is not always staffed during opening hours (8-5) so you may have to request at the reception that they open it. Sometimes they also leave early. There was no childminder at the club on Saturday at 4pm but I decided not to ask at the reception since it would have only been for an hour.
Protea Walk/picnics/playgound.....: even the kids thought the Protea Walk, where all the different kinds of Protea are growing, was really cool and it became our favorite path from our room to the Eight-To-Go Restaurant and outside play area. I can only imagine how beautiful it is in Flower Season.
There are playgrounds, picnic tables, shaded areas, restaurants, stores to buy food for picnics, walking paths and a jogging path.
We wanted to try the Camelot Spa but we decided to stay outdoors as the weather was so lovely. There's also an Eagles Encounter and a Segway Tour but we didn't try these either.
Wine-Tasting: Very good. We did the high-end wine tasting and we ended up taking a few bottles of the 21 Gables Chenin Blanc home. One thing they could do better is to provide little snacks (simple white bread) to go with the wine-tasting....just to ensure that those of us who actually like to finish the wines don't get too light-headed :-)
Spier tries hard to be eco-friendly (recycling water and plastic, using home-grown or local produce for example) and participating/encoraging several community projects (art and green projects) but in the end, it is a still business and they are trying to survive like everybody else. Many things are outsourced and not everything is "homegrown".
We were very sad to learn that Moyo, the delightfully unique restaurant with tables and seats in the trees, music, face-painting....our very first introduction to the Spier Estate, has now been closed down for good.
All in all, I would highly recommend staying for a weekend or a few days. Even visiting the estate for the day or for lunch is well worth it. And, by all means, take the kids or grandkids!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Spier, in the heart the famous Cape Winelands, is more than a hotel. It is a destination in itself. One of the first hotels in South Africa to be Fair Trade in Tourism certified, Spier offers visitors a variety of authentic experiences - from food and wine to outdoor activities - in beautiful surroundings. ... more less
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