253A 10th Street, Voelklip, Hermanus 7200, South Africa
Airport Transportation, Babysitting, Bar/Lounge, Beach, Connecting Rooms, Dry Cleaning, Free High-Speed Internet, Games room, In-room safe, Internet, Kids Activities, Kitchenette, Laundry Service, Minibar, Multilingual Staff, Parking, Reduced mobility rooms, Refrigerator in room, Restaurant, Room Service, Satellite TV, Shuttle Bus Service, Suites, Swimming Pool, Tours, Wheelchair Access, Wifi
When a five-bedroom boutique hotel is rated five stars, that rating will likely be challenged by guests curious to see if...
When a five-bedroom boutique hotel is rated five stars, that rating will likely be challenged by guests curious to see if it deserves them.
So what makes the African Pride Mosselberg on Grotto Beach a five-star hotel? Here are just a few
details I observed when I stayed there that helped answer the question for me: turn-down service par excellence, the ability to see whales from my balcony, proteas, and just plain coolness.
Lots of hotels offer turn-down service. Mosselberg went the extra mile. On a small tray on the desk I
found von Gesau chocolates, made by a local company that started making chocolate in a cottage in Greyton, a village in the Overberg. A small sign on the tray told the story about “tonight’s turn-down drink —
Sedgwick’s Old Brown Sherry.” A South African sherry, it’s something you want to sip while
sitting on the porch watching whales cavort close to shore on Grotto Beach.
So much for work — don’t even think about it when you’re staying at this hotel.
The bathroom featured Charlotte Rhys soaps and shampoo and there were bath salts in a wooden pestle beside the bathtub. If only I’d had the time to use them. Just knowing they were there upped the luxury factor exponentially.
The hotel opened 11 years ago. The owners wanted to build a vacation home but then realized
they’d only be there once a year so they decided instead to make it a guest house. That way they could share it with others — and make it pay for itself.
“From the beginning, everything they put in was the best,” said assistant manager Barend Luus. The
rooms don’t have air conditioning but there’s always a cool breeze coming in from the ocean or the mountains.
You won’t find skirtings or molding in this hotel. It’s all concrete with a look that’s modern but warm and a bit rustic.
Guests can dine under cover or outside, feet away from blooming pincushion proteas and fynbos. The owners wanted to leave the vegetation as indigenous as possible, Luus said. But there’s also a bit of exotic flora in the form of a quiver tree from Namibia that grows in a pot in the front yard. They’re very hard to grow outside their natural habitat, a local told me.
Like most Cape lodgings I stayed at, the Mosselberg will soon undergo renovations. A spa will be added to the guest house with two massage rooms, a steam room and Jacuzzi.
Between the hotel and the beach is a buffer zone of protected fynbos that includes milk wood growing on
sand dunes. A winding path takes you past some beach houses and through the fynbos to the incomparable Grotto Beach.
The beach has been designated a blue flag beach — an eco label awarded for environmental standards, safety, cleanliness and amenities.
The Mosselberg plays host to weddings for up to 120 people. Each of its five rooms is named after local natural treasures including pinotage wine, the sugar bird, the Cape’s floral kingdom, or fynbos, and the Southern right whales that calve and nurse their young seven month of the year just offshore.
Boats aren’t allowed close to shore but local whale-watching guides say the whales will approach them out of curiosity, Luus said. As a result, Hermanus’s many whale watching excursions result in happy customers.
About 90 percent of Mosselberg’s customers are vacationing tourists, mostly from Europe and mostly from the U.K., Germany. France, Italy and Switzerland. Visitor from the U.S. are rare.
The hotel is part of the African Pride franchise — and therefore, part of the Protea and Marriott
Thanks to a fabulous selection of coffee-table books in the Mosselberg common areas, I learned a new vocabulary of whale-watching terms.
From the balcony of my room, I watched whales lobtailing (smacking the water with their tails);
skyhopping (standing up vertically in the water) and sailing (tail in the air).
A short walk through the fynbos down a sandy trail takes you onto Grotto Beach, which is
flanked on one side by views of the Hottentot Holland Mountains, including Maanskyn Kop (Moon Shine Head), and on the other by the Indian Ocean.
As if all this was not enough, this beach has an added bonus: it’s a sheller’s paradise.
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