Monday, 20 May 2013

The Robertson Small Hotel, Robertson

Proudly South African

Wherever you are based, get thee to the Robertson Small Hotel. What could be better than packing a few of your favourite things into a stylish weekend bag and heading out into the country for a weekend of relaxation and pampering?

I had been so focused on the images I had seen of the beautiful interiors of the hotel that I forgot what a spectacularly scenic drive it is from Cape Town to Robertson, whichever route you take. I took what you might call the long way round, heading out on the N2 from Cape Town, turning off the freeway onto the breath-taking coastal route through Gordon’s Bay, Pringle Bay and up through the Bonnievale winelands through to Robertson. On the way back I followed the Paarl mountains, driving right alongside their intimidating height softened only at the base by pristine pink and yellow fynbos.

Arriving in Robertson, one approaches the quintessential South African small-town steepled chapel, at the end of Church Street. The hotel itself is situated in an old leafy suburb in an avenue lined with similarly quaint Victorian architectured houses. The pretty and classical exterior belies the trendy modern interiors, with creamy leather sofas, glass walls, skylights and soft chrome lighting.

I stay in the Stables Honeymoon Suite, a long, attic-style room with an open plan bedroom, lounge and bathroom. The care with which the suite has been designed cannot be sufficiently praised, from the clever layout to the elegant decor. Everything matches the plush cream and chocolate theme, from the silvery creamy couch, to the warm brown wood-grained beams and furniture, even down to the matching kettle, fridge and dustbin. No holds have been barred in the pursuit of finesse, luxury and perfection.

What I love about the Roberston Small Hotel:
  • Somehow this elegant hotel balances the textured traditional architecture with the smooth modern fittings, combining glamorous style with friendly warmth and hospitality
  • There is a clever configuration of rooms within the hotel grounds, with suites in different parts of the hotel and facing different directions for privacy and views of features like pools and courtyards
  • Deep baths in glossy bathrooms with white ceramic wall tiles, grey stone floor tiles and characterful attic-style beams
  • Thick wrap-around white towels
  • Under-floor heating, air-conditioning and a faux fur throw
  • A serious contender for SA’s best hotel linen award, with the softest, silkiest white bed-linen yet to be discovered
  • iPod docking station, large flat screen TV and DVD player
  • Discreet turndown service while one is at dinner, with a poem left on the bed alongside the pillow chocs
  • Staff move silently and cheerfully about, putting cushions out on the pool chairs before we are awake and even making the bed, tidying the room and emptying the dustbins while one is at breakfast or dinner
  • Complementary drinks in the room’s bar fridge
  • One of the highlights is South African chef Rueben’s restaurant with wonderful flavour combinations and superb breakfast

Accommodation experience
Before going to the Robertson Small Hotel, I kept visiting the hotel’s website, scrutinising every page for potential flaws, with the main aim of lowering my very high expectations to avoid disappointment. I needn’t have been mistrustful as everything was exceptional, dare I even say, perfect. I finally believe the hype that the hotel has been causing.

As I sit in the restaurant I overhear some foreign guests “oohing” and “aahing” over their meal. “Zis is ten out of ten” says one enthusiastic German man to my right. An American woman seated behind me cannot believe how far her dollars can take her in terms of the quality of accommodation. I feel a great surge of pride at what South Africa has to offer such visitors – truly world class scenery, natural areas, wildlife, food, wine and accommodation. The Robertson Small Hotel feels like it represents a coming of age for South African hospitality. Set in a Victorian building, while expressing an almost Scandanavian modern-meets-traditional feel, with service and amenities set to the highest international standards, still there is nothing colonial about the hotel. It has a distinctly South African flavour and shows off some of our finest local talent. The Robertson Small Hotel showcases the best of what South Africa has to offer and is pioneering the way in cutting edge affordable luxury.

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