Cape Peninsula & Winelands Tours
We relaxed the pace a little today, heading off in two groups in opposite directions
to discover the Cape’s diverse coastline and winelands. But of course, a day of sightseeing came with a special Instagram challenge, complete with prizes. But ‘Why?’ you might ask… Increasingly, potential guests are finding us through social media, and – as we’ve seen firsthand at our resorts – our guests are often looking for Instagrammable spots to tease their friends and family back at home. It was time to put ourselves in their shoes and capture Cape Town through our camera lenses.
Group A were treated to spectacular early morning views of
Table Mountain and Robben Island from Signal Hill, as low-lying mists gave way to reveal the vista we’d all been waiting for. After
a quick caffeine boost at Camps Bay’s Vida e Caffè, we dipped our toes in the chilly Atlantic at pristine Llandudno Beach. By the time we’d reached Hout Bay Harbour the sun was shining and we received the news that the rock-fall on Chapman’s Peak, one of
the world’s most scenic drives, had been cleared just in time for us! After a lunch of freshly caught fish and chips, we took the spectacular route along ‘Chappies’ to Noordhoek, then on to Kommetjie Lighthouse where the unmistakable scent of fynbos greeted us as we stepped off the bus. A few of us spotted the
tell-tale fluke of a whale!
As if on cue, the mists lifted and revealed Table Mountain and views as far as the Winelands, Robben Island and Cederberg peaks beyond!
A few quiet moments to revisit Mandela’s moving and motivational story, never to be forgotten. For many, the most meaningful moment of the day.
Vida e Caffè
Inspired by street cafes in Portugal, the good vibes, passionate Vida team, and clever branding were noticed and commented on. We loved the much-photographed green ‘Be Bold Plant Based’ coffee. Vegan coffee, collagen coffee – they do it all!
A quick beach walk and chilly dip for shot four’s #FeetInTheWater – Piers graciously volunteered as our model!
Hout Bay Harbour
In keeping with tradition, Piers took us for a fish and chips lunch at Mariner’s Wharf, after doing a quick comparison of harbour signage and watching the seal feeder. How very Villa Nautica!
The World’s Most Scenic Drive
We discovered that ‘Chappies’ is now 100 years old! A short walk to the spectacular viewpoint took us past the chatty artists who upcycle drinking cans and plastic to create their artworks.
Noordhoek Farm Village
An abundance of healthy, healing and deli offerings in this sustainable community village focus on quality foods and family. And how could we forget the Florentine-inspired millionaire's shortbread?
Kommetjie Lighthouse & Silvermine Reserve
Memories of the honeyed scent of fynbos and helichrysum filling the air, catching sight of a lobtailing whale in the gloaming light.
A quick glimpse of Cape Point Reserve before heading for Silvermine Reserve, where we finished our route overlooking autumnal vineyards of Steenberg and the Constantia valley.
Group B were inspired by the sheer beauty and creative design
of the legendary seven-hectare kitchen gardens at Babylonstoren, one of the continent’s best examples of storytelling, how to push the boundaries in design, and why the simplest things done well often translate best. The gardens, perfumery and farm-style aesthetic spoke particularly well to the new resort concepts at
Villa Park and Villa Haven, forcing us to consider how we might execute similar offerings ourselves. It was hard to leave this internationally recognised design destination but beautiful Franschhoek beckoned, with Grande Provence’s gardens the location for our languid deli lunch outdoors – starting with oysters! Delaire Graff, perched on the top of the scenic Helshoogte Pass, further illustrated how the winelands have created a much more inclusive experience than wine to attract visitors.
Babylonstoren Wine Estate
The undisputed highlight of the day! Here’s a snapshot of everyone’s most memorable impressions – the Five S’s: Slate, Shells & Seeds, Styling, Scent and Stories
Natural, reusable, and sustainable signage replaces
traditional signage here.
Shells & Seeds
No more pebble pathways: upcycle fruit pips or shells,
Cape Dutch style.
An abundance of clever and covetable packaging ideas,
and even inspiration for buffets…
A fragrant delight: make your own at The Scented Room, where heavenly scents from the garden come to life and guests can create their own bath salts, body scrubs and
Stories were shared and memories were made… Seeing a bunch of grapes on a vine for the first time! Being surprised
that a garden could be so different, so inspirational. Food,
wine, garden, design, hotel – everything working
Grande Provence Heritage Estate
We enjoyed walking the sculpture gardens: the first of many today…
Delaire Graff Estate
Voted the ‘most beautiful hotel lobby’ by Group B! Known for its superb food, wine, diamonds and art, Delaire is a destination in itself.
Spier Wine Farm
Spier has tirelessly promoted the arts in the winelands through theatre, music, craft and art. Behind the scenes its ethical ethos is strong and PJ Vadas’s Smokehouse & Bakery and their organic farm (run by Megan McCarthy and Farmer Angus) services the Farm Café and Farm Stall.
The Round Tables
A valuable chance to share knowledge, bounce
ideas and debate with fellow hospitality professionals
from another part of the world, and share in the
experiences and challenges we face in our industry.
We split into three groups: GMs, RMs and some of the Head Office team
spent 45 minutes with Tiago Moraes Sarmento, the new Mount Nelson
GM, addressing questions about management and the difficulties of staff
remuneration. The second group of predominantly F&B managers and chefs sat with Chef Rudi Liebenberg, who dove into the complexities of training, upskilling, and innovation in the kitchen and beyond. The rest of us formed a mixed team from a variety of specialisms, and joined Life & Brand Group Operations and Regional Managers JP van Huyssteen and George Mhlangato discuss staff training, retention and compliance.
And the key insights? A central theme of staff training, retention and
upskilling quickly became evident across all three tables, with our
guest speakers generously sharing their methods of tackling such
challenges both in the past and today.
Grub & Vine
We continued the evening back on Bree Street, this time in Grub & Vine’s private dining space, for our Innovation Dinner: a tasting menu from Chef Matt Manning, accompanied by bespoke mocktails and a