Every love story needs an occasional romantic twist. Unfortunately, in 22 years of blissful togetherness, my husband’s best attempt was a green pop-up beach chair.
The offending article was purchased with the sole intention of making me comfortable while I admire his surfing moves and keep an eye on the kids while they dig through the earth’s outer mantle. Thoughtful, yes. Practical, certainly! But romantic, unfortunately not. This Valentine’s Day, I’m preparing myself for a fondue set, a pasta machine, an illuminated battery-operated pepper grinder, or something with Kitchen Aid written on the side.
To be fair my attempts at romance have been remarkably weak: jumper cables for the Land Rover, a hedge strimmer, and a root canal treatment are some memorable Valentine’s Day fails.
In truth, marital bliss is just a click away. This year we have decided to take the opportunity to press pause on life. We want to live like royalty for one weekend. Yip, we want it all. We want to be swept away on a jaw-dropping romantic getaway. We went looking for the full five-star hotel experience: elegant welcome drinks, fluffy bathrobes, a turndown service, whisper-soft Egyptian cotton bed linen, leisurely pre-dinner cocktails, sundowner beach strolls, world-class culinary offerings, and luxurious spa treatments.
The Collection by Liz McGrath offers a trio of splendid romantic getaway destinations. Couples can be whisked to a world away from the ordinary at the Cellars-Hohenort in Cape Town, The Marine in Hermanus, or The Plettenberg in Plettenberg Bay. These three iconic hotels exemplify superlative South African hospitality. Each one is positioned in an utterly unique location, offering 5-star service, and sharing in the exclusive philosophy of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
Making Memories at The Marine
The Marine is one of South Africa’s most spectacular seaside hotels. Located on Hermanus’ famous cliff path, the hotel’s outstanding attraction is that it overlooks the breathtaking expanse of Walker Bay. It is the ideal venue for a dreamy Valentine’s retreat. Couples can choose from a range of indulgent accommodation offerings including premier suites and luxury double rooms, with private balconies. Breakfast at the Pavilion Restaurant before enjoying a stroll along the rugged Cliff Path, within the Fernkloof Nature Reserve. Take a refreshing dip in Fick’s Pool or continue to Grotto Beach, a local blue flag beach famous for its massive swathe of stunning golden sand. Return to the Marine to enter a haven of pampering and sheer indulgence at the Carchele Health & Beauty Spa. Their Couple’s Treatment menu includes an array of blissful and soothing therapies along with complimentary use of the steam room. I was instantly drawn to the 5 Star Couples Massage. This 90-minute massage combines the most relaxing therapies from their Swedish, Aromatherapy, Hot Stone, Cupping, and Rungu techniques. A trip to the Marine would not be complete without sipping on the signature cocktail, the Whale Watcher, in the scenic Sun Lounge. Round off each day with a feast of locally sourced seafood at the Pavilion.
A Sensational City Getaway
The Cellars Hohenort is the perfect destination to make Valentine’s Day memories. This opulent and historic hotel is set within nine acres of perfectly manicured and award-winning gardens. Located in Constantia Valley, couples have the perfect springboard to explore ‘Cape Town’s Vineyard’ or take a 15-minute drive to Cape Town’s city centre.
Choose from a classic premier suite with a private garden patio or a private villa with breathtaking views of Table Mountain. Enjoy an enchanting picnic on the lawns of the historic gardens or stroll through the scented rose garden. Unwind together at the Fresh Wellness Spa with a Couples Delight Spa Experience. Be spoiled with Sparkling Wine and chocolates, on arrival. This is followed by a Rasul session and ends with a Five Senses Signature Full Body Massage.
The hotel offers daily shuttles to the V& A Waterfront, where you can escape on a sunset catamaran cruise. Glide across the waters of the Atlantic Ocean on the Ameera Sailing Catamaran, a 40-foot luxury catamaran. Finish the day with a gastronomic treat in the idyllic setting of the Conservatory restaurant. Expect re-imagined South African heritage foods, paired with the finest Cape wines.
The Ultimate Seaside Escape
The Plettenberg Hotel is an absolute haven for couples. It is situated on a rocky headland in Plettenberg Bay, along the famous Garden Route, with unsurpassed views of the Indian Ocean. Plett boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in South Africa, with some just a stroll from the hotel’s doorstep. The region’s wild, natural beauty makes it an unrivalled romantic getaway destination.
Select a luxurious five-star suite with sea views or upgrade to a spacious and comfortable Premier Suite with direct access to the pool area. Breakfast at the Restaurant before enjoying the bays, beaches, and beautiful forests of Plett.
Take a bracing hike at Robberg Nature Reserve and watch the seals play in the surf. The hiking trails are set within a pristine World Heritage Site, where walkers pass prehistoric rocks and Stone Age artifacts. Couples will be rewarded with stunning views of the rugged coastline, soaring dunes, and an unspoiled swimming beach with squeaky clean white sand.
Back at the Plettenberg Hotel, love birds can enjoy lingering moments of tenderness and relaxation at the Fresh Wellness Spa. The spa’s Rasul Hydrotherapy Treatment is an ancient Middle Eastern bathing ritual that fuses the power of purifying clay with heat and steam. Couples can enjoy this restorative therapy together, cocooned in a comforting mineral-rich mud. Relax in the private steam room before washing away all the mud to reveal silky-soft skin.
Enjoy a glass of local Cap Classique at the Sandbar Lounge before savouring the bounty of the ocean with an alfresco meal at the Restaurant.