Desperate to travel? Need a break from the same four walls of your home office? Why not have yourselves a workcation right here in South Africa…
In current times, working remotely has fast become the norm. But this has brought with it a new approach to utilising time more wisely. Enter the concept of “workation” – with great prices on weekday accommodation, and little to no tourists competing for your planned activities, there really is no better time to travel while you work.
Durbanite was fortunate enough to have ourselves a little workation in Cape Town, where we stayed at The 12 Apostles Hotel & Spa for one glorious night.
With an extraordinary view of the Atlantic ocean and the mountains wrapped around you, it’s difficult to find a more beautiful place to work. The experience began with a friendly greeting from the porter and doorman while they guided us to the check-in counter. After a quick and easy check-in, we followed Patience around for our tour, champagne in hand. After contemplating which view – or work facility to utilise first, we opted for within the comfort of our spectacular sea-facing suite.
The room was characterised by elegance, class, comfort like no other, and a balcony located a good stone throw away from the beach. It goes without saying, but there was free wifi and an opulent desk to work at, as well as a variety of other comfy furniture to plonk down in. I could write beautiful descriptive paragraphs on the room, the view, the service and the interior of the hotel, but I honestly fear I won’t do it justice. What I will say is, there sure is a reason why celebrities like Lady Gaga and Rihanna choose to stay here!
Other work environments on offer include the conference room, a slow lounge, the foyer, and the tables and chairs out by the pool or outside of the restaurant. All of which were quiet, accompanied by dreamy views and without a hint of discomfort.
Whether you’re traveling solo, with your partner, or your whole family, the 12 Apostles makes sure it caters for everyone. It’s both pet- and kid-friendly, so the opportunity to bring your life with you – or escape it – is entirely up to you.
From a COVID-19 perspective, masks were worn by everyone around the hotel and in any public spaces. Their world famous breakfast buffet was adapted to be more COVID-friendly, with snacks and condiments displayed in their own packaging and glassware. And although all the wonderful hot food wasn’t showcased around the room, it was still readily available by simply ordering it through your waiter.
The hotel offers a free shuttle to Camps Bay Beach or the V&A Waterfront every hour, so you have the opportunity to venture back and forth between these bustling hubs as you wish. Making use of the shuttle allowed us to experience our beautiful mother city when we clocked off from work, until we decided we were ready to sink back into our engulfing and irresistible King-size Bed.
With no household chores or trips to the shops needed, the best part – or perhaps the toughest part of the experience was deciding which first-class services and utilities to indulge in during our breaks. Whether it be a spa treatment, effortlessly demolishing the delicious High Tea confectionaries while you stare out to sea, a quick trip to the little movie theatre down the hall, or a swim in either the rock pool or the heated pool, it certainly beat checking the fridge multiple times or twiddling your thumbs between Zoom calls.
Although there have been numerous perks to working from home and not having to go into the office, like those dreaded meetings finally being summed up in one email, or not having to wait idly in lunchtime traffic, there have definitely been some bad parts – the lack of in-person social interactions and the same scenery every day has definitely had detrimental mental effects on working people everywhere. The mental rejuvenation that we received from our workation was just what we needed to refresh our mindsets and click us back into gear. And the best part of the workation, we didn’t even have to use up a day’s leave. So if you’re thinking of trying the workation concept, all we can say is “go for it!” and if you’re gonna do it, why not do it in style?
To book your stay at the 12 Apostles, visit:
Telephone: +27 21 4379000
Address: Victoria Road, Camps Bay, Cape Town, South Africa
REVIEW: Town Lodge Umhlanga
Town Lodge Umhlanga is the latest addition to this ever growing, vibrant town. Conveniently situated on the corner of Umhlanga Ridge Boulevard and Meridian Drive in Umhlanga Rocks, KwaZulu-Natal.
Town Lodge Umhlanga has a fresh identity that is set to secure its share of future markets to this busy region.
It’s a place where people stay, meet and relax. The hotel welcomes guests to a renewed design concept across four floors and, as with all CLHG properties, includes rooms designed to meet the special needs of the disabled.
We were recently invited to experience a stay at this wonderful lodge.
“Upon arrival, we were impressed at how easy the check in process was. From the moment we walked into the lodge, we had the most incredible hands on service.
Before checking in, we had to sanitise and fill in Covid forms which made us feel a little more at ease and looked after. We were handed our keys and immediately went up to our room to offload our luggage.
A warm welcome awaited us in the form of the sweetest hamper we’ve ever seen. Filled to the brim with sweets. chocolates and water, along with a note from the general manager herself.
After we freshened up, we made our way down to the bar to indulge in their wide selection of bar snacks and drinks. We felt as if we were right at home, seated comfortably in their dining area with a glass of wine in hand.
One thing we loved about this lodge is that we had plenty of space to move around and lounge at. It’s also a great place to work remotely from too, and there were plug points provided for this.
For dinner we opted for their pizza menu in the comfort of our own room. Within 30 minutes of ordering, our pizzas had arrived.
Talk about fast service!
Needless to say we slept well that night.
Breakfast was delicious – with an assortment to choose from. We opted for fruit & yoghurt, complete with a yummy cooked omelette.
Served with a warm cup of coffee.
Town Lodge Umhlanga is within close proximity to the beach, Gateway Theatre of Shopping and Durban, and a 15-minute drive from King Shaka International Airport.
Other notable features include two boardrooms (16 pax and 14 pax), swimming pool and parking bays for 110 cars.
To book your stay, click here:
- Fast and reliable WIFI
- Convenient location, close to major routes
- Free, easy and secure parking
- Complimentary shuttle to Gateway Theatre of Shopping
- 24 hour reception and check-in
- Full English or continental breakfast daily
- Sundowner bar
- Swimming pool
- 24 hour vending machine for snacks and beverages
- Same-day laundry and dry cleaning
- Air-conditioned room with double or twin beds
- Interleading family rooms available
- En-suite bathroom with shower
- Television with selected DStv channels and radio stations
- Tea and coffee making facilities
- Electronic safe
- Selected rooms designed for the physically disabled
Town Lodge Umhlanga is currently offering two specials.
A weekend stay from R799pn and half price on all drinks every Thursday.
REVIEW: Hilton Hotel Umhlanga Arch
Hilton Garden Inn is the first of its kind in South Africa, situated at the new Umhlanga Arch, welcoming both local and international guests. Durbanite recently experienced first hand what they have to offer.
From the moment you walk in, you experience a relaxed environment, making you feel right at home. The Hilton Garden Inn Umhlanga Arch is a technologically advanced hotel, allowing guests to check in, select and unlock your room, as well as access the guest lift, easily from your mobile phone. The hotel boasts a fitness centre, outdoor swimming pool with a great view of the upcoming developments in the area as well as the stunning sea Durban has to offer, as well as a laundry room and currency exchange for international guests.
The staff at the Hilton Garden Inn Umhlanga Arch are friendly and extremely helpful and have adopted a “Brightheartered Hospitality” approach.
“It was amazing, the staff remember your name, they learn more about why you are visiting and really go out of their way to make your experience a memorable one.” Commented Bianca Hauser, Durbanite contributor.
There are 203 rooms kitted out with coffee and tea brewers, a flat screen HDTV, a hairdryer, iron and ironing board (perfect for out of town guests), along with a mini refrigerator. Hilton Garden Inn Umhlanga Arch ensure to adhere to Covid-19 safety regulations by cleaning rooms before check in as well as after check out. They are currently participating in the Hilton CleanStay Program with Lysol Protection to deliver an even cleaner and safer experience for guests.
“I really felt comfortable during these times, as once staff clean a room, they have the Hilton CleanStay Room Seal that indicates to us that a room has not been accessed since it was cleaned and disinfected.”
The hotel ensures sufficient spacing in the dining hall and hand sanitizers can be found throughout the hotel. Guests are encouraged to use disposable gloves provided when dishing up salad for the meals and the Chefs are responsible for dishing up dinner, limiting exposure.
Together & Co aims to bring people together, “one meal, coffee and conversation at a time”. Those who are not guests at the hotel are also welcome to dine at the restaurant or have a drink at the bar. Hilton Garden Inn Umhlanga Arch also boasts a 24-hour self-service retail space, “The Shop”, which offers snacks, locally sourced food and beverages as well as essential personal items, should guests need anything.
To book your stay, visit their website.
Durban, 4320, South Africa
REVIEW: Enticing Emdoneni Lodge Escape, Cat Tour & River Cruise!
If you are looking for a local getaway but not sure where to go, a 2h40 hr drive from Durban central is all it takes to transport you from the hustle and bustle of city life into nature at its best. We want to tell you about a little gem called Emdoneni Lodge in Hluhluwe as well as our experiences of the incredible Cat Tour and River Cruise in St. Lucia – to view cats, crocs and hippo – so be sure to read (or scroll) through to the end for all the information you need to book your next trip!
(Editors note: The Emdoneni Lodge is a short 25 min drive to the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park Memorial Gate entrance. If you are keen to try your luck at spotting the Big 5, this is a great days activity for the whole family!)
Catching some Zzz’s <<Accommodation>>
Our room at Emdoneni was comfortable and intimate – with air conditioning. The décor was modern and simple with fresh crisp linen – just the way I like it! The en-suite bathroom was spacious and tidy, with a walk-in shower worth mention. The only thing we missed (for a beat) was a TV but we must admit we did appreciate the opportunity to break away from our day to day life.
DinDins & Breakie <<Food>>
3 course meals were prepared for us nightly. The starters on both nights were worth writing home about, the tomato and mushroom soups were especially hearty and delicious. Main course was your choice between two proteins and a vegetarian option – the Dorado and Beef Curry get a special mention here. Dessert pleased the palate – tasty and decadent – the perfect way to end a day of good eating and adventure.
Breakfast was offered as buffet with your usual cereals, yogurt, fruits, tea and coffee available. The hot breakfast options prepared to order. Bacon and eggs done to your liking with various options but we would recommend the Emdoneni Tower Omelette if you are undecided!
Editors note: We could write about the food in much more, lengthy detail but instead will leave you with some photos below and allow you to let your eyes do the judging!
Round About <<Common Areas>>
If you do decide to book at Emdoneni Lodge especially with the family or friends we can assure you the kids will be well entertained from sunrise to sunset; leaving you with time to sit back and relax. The games area has a ton of well, games as well as a pool table and a small jungle gym for the little ones.
We can imagine hours would be spent lazing by or swimming in the pool. The lush green gardens are perfect for a game of catches or hide-and-go-seek.
The comfy lounging areas overlook the gardens are the perfect spot to unwind and sip on an ice cold one from the bar. Come 6pm, it’s time to take a seat under the African stars alongside the bonfire. Open a bottle of red and chat about your days adventures!
Self-Love <<The Emdoneni Spa>>
While holidaying at Emdoneni, you will naturally be taking time to unwind. We couldn’t think of a better way than to book yourself (and your partner) for a morning of self-love and pampering. Various treatments are available at the Emdoneni Spa, click here to find out more.
Sadly we didn’t have enough time to indulge but this is definitely on our ‘To Do’ when we visit again.
Meow <<Zululand Cat Conservation Project>>
This gem on the north coast is a must see for both young and old and is open to general public – not just those staying at Emdoneni Lodge.
We thoroughly enjoyed our experience and can safely say that it was the highlight of our trip!
The aim of this incredible project is to create a wildlife awareness and education centre which focuses on conservation and the sustainability of the cats which they home. The cats have come to the project, orphaned or injured and in need of care and rehabilitation.
We were lucky enough to go on a Cat Tour where we got up close and personal (but not too personal) with these majestic creatures. Along with our informative tour guide we had the opportunity to stand a few (safe) meters away from Caracal, Serval, Cheetah and the less intimidating but cutest, African Wildcat!
If you are a cat lover, you may want to consider their ‘Adopt a Cat’ initiative. It is a fantastic way to support the project either for yourself, or in the name of your nature-loving, cat-loving friends. To read up more, click here.
I’m on a Boat! <<Heritage Tours & Safaris>>
Keen to see some Hippo in their natural habitat? We would highly recommend booking a river cruise of the St Lucia Estuary though Heritage Tours & Safari!
Dennis was our tour guide; his knowledge of the Estuary and all its creatures (big and small) was extensive. Unlike some of other cruise operators on the Estuary this boat takes up to 15 people – which I preferred – it is perfect for a group of friends or family or if you just prefer a more intimate, quiet setting for your cruise.
We were lucky enough to spot some incredible bird life on the water’s edge, a one-horned Water Buck, some mean looking crocs soaking rays on the river bank and of course, the Hippo going about their daily Hippo business.
Did you know that the Hippo is the 3rd largest land mammals, after elephants and the white rhino?
It truly was incredible to be so close to these enormous mammals, but of course observing from a safe distance – I was thankful I was on a boat and not in the water with them!
For more information you can visit their website by clicking here.
That’s a Wrap <<The End>>
We thoroughly enjoyed our weekend getaway. Our only complaint is that we should have booked in for a 3rd night – there is just so much to see and do nearby that it is impossible to fit everything we wanted to do in.
A special thank you to Nondumiso Myeni for our warm welcome and making us feel right at home.
Slindile Ngema, thank you for your fantastic service and compliments to Chef Sindi Masinga for some delicious, hearty meals.
We cannot wait to come back!
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