I have just had the good fortune of a few days touring Cape Town and the Garden Route with a charming and very entertaining journalist from Ireland – Paul Hopkins. We started our adventure in the Durban sunshine and believed that we would be leaving sunshine behind us, only to be greeted by yet more sunshine when we left our Kulula flight at Cape Town. Now for anyone that has not flown Kulula before this is an adventure in its own right! An airline with a sense of humour. My favourite line has to be “please ensure that you take all of your luggage with you including coats, bags, laptops and mother-in-laws. We have our own mother-in-laws that we are trying to get rid of. We do not want yours as well!” A fun, but a very professional outfit.
Upon leaving Cape Town airport we were whisked off in comfort to Steenberg in Constantia. This is a hotel that I had stayed in previously and had very fond memories of. My previous stay however was in the middle of a heavy storm so I saw how well Steenberg lent itself to being a warm and cosy bolthole. Hot chocolate in bed before snuggling down under the softest duvet for a great night’s sleep. This time I arrived in the previously mentioned sunshine! Walking through the grounds, listening to the birds calling and taking in the wondrous smells of the gardens. I stayed in one of the newly refurbished Premier rooms which frankly cannot be faulted. Every little detail has been thought through from the quality of the hairdryer (nothing worse than a weak hairdryer!) to the staff putting the heating on low so that you return to a warm room at night. Though it was sunny during the day it turned chilly at night.
I was only at Steenberg for one night but a very memorable one it would be. We started out with a ’champagne’ tasting in Gorgeous by Graham Beck, the new designer concept bar at the hotel. Very very chic and stylish from the Vivien Westwood wallpaper, to the amazing array of bubbly. We tried 6 different types of MCC (the South African term used for Bubbly – Methode Cape Classique) and my 2 favourites appeared at either end of the price spectrum – The Graham Beck Brut Zero Vintage and the Graham Beck Brut NV – the latter I later found out was a favourite of both Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama – clearly I have good taste! Our tasting was partnered with stunning canapés produced by Garth Almazan and his team. Garth joined us and talked through the canapés from the oysters to the ostrich carpaccio.
This taste of Garth’s cuisine was a great forerunner to dinner which did not disappoint. Catharina’s offered exceptional food, wine and service. A perfect end to an amazing day.
The following day we awoke to yet more sunshine. Excellent – we would be able to eat breakfast outside at Bistro Sixteen82. I had not experienced Bistro Sixteen82 but I knew that it received rave reviews from locals as well as guests from overseas. Bistro Sixteen82 did not disappoint. The setting is breath-taking and the layout and styling stunning. Clearly a place to be seen for the fashionable set. Once again the food was exceptional. As we could not chose we had eggs benedict and the healthier option of panacotta and berries.
It was with a heavy heart that I bade farewell to our Steenberg hosts, Gaby and Sumari but we had a plane to catch and if we were quick, a whistle-stop half an hour at The Waterfront for some shopping!
Mission accomplished, Paul and I boarded our next plane for the second part of our adventure which will follow shortly!