A Journey to the Edge
Each time I visit Cape Town, I make the Grand Tour – the scenic drive all the way from Mouille Point, through Camps Bay, stopping off to walk barefoot on the white sands of Llundudno. I drive on over the breath-stopping pass down to Noordhoek and the long way round to Simon’s Town. And somehow the little village of Scarborough, at one of the furthest points on this journey, has always caught my fancy. It seems the pinnacle of a privileged coastline reserved for a lucky few – a pristine beach with white sands and rock pools, and a village with picturesque coastal cottages , perched at the very edge of the world. And so when I discovered Zensa Lodge, offering stylish accommodation at this exclusive resort, I made my way there as soon as I could engineer my escape.
The Lodge is a successful experiment in pared down architecture, with smooth, white walls, plentiful verandas and patios face in different directions. The exterior is given a dramatic African twist with greying thatched roofs. There are two blue-grey pools surrounded by grey coastal-weathered decking.
I stayed in the new Ikhaya V, a three-dimensional artwork of design and decor. Looking around the suite I can see why it is said that what makes minimalism work is to have varied textures within the same space. Zensa Lodge achieves this effect brilliantly, with surprises at every corner. In my suite there are cool white floors, walls and ceilings, contrasted with dark wooden floors in the bathroom and a Zebra skin rug in the lounge. There is a leather couch opposite natural timber coffee tables, glossy and patterned with rings of variegated colour. A heavy, part-rough and part-smooth tree stump balances the furniture in the far corner of the bedroom. Some of the windows have hessian curtaining and others have plantation-style dark wooden window shutters. An arched glass partition cleverly separates the bathroom from the lounge. Finally, as one looks through the partition, one sees that one wall of the bathroom is made entirely of shiny silver corrugated iron.
What I love about Zensa Lodge:
- In the picturesque coastal hamlet of Scarborough, the Lodge is a one minute walk from a pretty beach with white sands and rock pools
- Zensa Lodge has unique local Cape Coastal architecture, with white walls, thatched roofs, verandas and patios facing every direction
- Creative and dramatic use of contrasting materials offer surprises at every corner
- The suites are decorated in a minimalist way, yet the look is a trendy African style without any tourist tackyness
- There are select pieces of excellent local art on the wall
- There are windows in every direction, double doors and private courtyards and patios
- The bathrooms are spacious and softly modern, with big white baths and enormous showers
- Beds have creative detailing, with inviting, clean white linen
- This suite has a fireplace, and there are two swimming pools on the property, as well as a sauna and outdoor showers - this would be a marvelously cool place to visit in summer and a cosy haven in winter
- There is a television and a CD player with a wonderful locally-produced selection of music
As a grubby little farm dweller, there is nothing that beats a glamorous stay in a crisp white space. A stay at Zensa Lodge is like entering into one of those white minimalist decor magazine articles that those of us with messy partners, kids or dogs pore over with homicidal intent.
I sit in my beautiful suite enjoying the warmth of a fire on a cool night, appreciating the artistic calm of the lodge. Someone is practising the saxophone next door, the soft notes making even repetitive scales sound beautiful. I feel like I am in a different world to my own, one that is remotely placed at the edge of the continent. I guess that is partly the point of character accommodation – to offer an experience of the antithesis of our usual lives. By engaging intensely in a different border landscape, in the typical architecture and style of a unique setting, we are taken to the edges of ourselves. This process brings with it a fresh clarity of insight which we can take back with us to our homes - an energy of something having shifted within and we can return gratefully to our own messy lives while enjoying the clean sweep of ongoing inner change.