“Wonderful wilderness retreat between Cape Town and the Garden Route, with pristine beaches, whale-watching and horse riding”
Grootbos is 2 lodges in one; each has its own decorative style, as well as its own restaurant and pool area.
The original Garden Lodge suites are wooden mini-cottages hidden amongst the milkwood trees, and part-raised above the ground so you can see through rustling branches to the sea. The One-Bedroom Classic Suites have a sitting room, a shower room and an outdoor deck with slatted chairs and sunloungers. Half-glassed walls keep the interiors bright and sunny, and allow you to bird-watch from the lounge. Fittings are modern and functional: twin washbasins, heated towel rails, extra-long beds, electric kettles and a wood-burning stove for winter stays. The One-Bedroom Luxury Suites have the added bonus of a bathtub and a small garden area. A few traditional touches have been included such as mahogany bowls holding enormous ostrich eggs, but overall the feeling is what you might call contemporary chalet style. There are also 3 Two-Bedroom Luxury Suites; considerably larger at 120 sq.m and each with 2 ensuite bathrooms.
If you like stylish design, then book one of the 16 One-Bedroom Luxury Suites in the newer Forest Lodge. Expect clean white walls, spotlit eaves and chunky wooden furniture with a white-red colour scheme. There's a living room which opens onto a private wooden deck with sweeping views across the fynbos gardens. Bedrooms boast extra-length beds with down duvets, heated blankets and cotton linen; airy bathrooms have either a bathtub/shower or a double shower. There are also 2 Honeymoon Suites with private plunge pools.
Up at the thatched restaurant-bar, a grinning waiter serves colourful juices to sun-browned guests on the terrace, another prepares cocktails at the bar, a third carefully lays delicate wineglasses and fanned cloth napkins on the dinner tables which radiate around a central wooden beam in the circular dining area.
Dishes include ovenbaked brinjal, tomato confit, mozzarella strudel, peanut satay marinated breast of duck, buttermilk omelette risolle with poached pears... and vanilla ice cream to finish off. Forget darkest Africa, this is more like a gourmet Parisian eatery. The wine list, too, is a credit to the southern hemisphere. The 5-course dinner menu is set, but specific requests can be catered for with advance warning. The same menu is offered in both restaurants and guests can choose which they would like to dine in.
At lunchtime, a choice of a 3-course meal or a light sandwich-and-salad menu is offered, and breakfast is a rich buffet with the additional option of a hot English breakfast menu.
The Garden Lodge welcomes children of all ages, while the Forest Lodge can only accommodate children over 12 years.
Families with adventurous children will love a few days here given the exciting activities on offer, the long deserted sandy beaches, the whale-watching and the horse riding. Staff put in a lot of effort making sure the children have a good time, with snacks and refreshments available for them as well as treasure hunts and guided walks. And, the reserve is tame so kids can run wild without parental heart attacks.
Children up to age of 4 stay free in their parent's room (cots provided); 4-16 years sharing a room will receive a discount. Maximum of 2 children between 4-10 years and maximum of 1 child between 11-16 years. Children with their own bedroom are charged at full adult rate.
Families with with 2 children under 12 should book a One-Bedroom Luxury Suite at the Garden Lodge. One-Bedroom Luxury Suites in the Forest Lodge can sleep 4, but can only accomodate children over 12 years. Two-Bedroom Luxury Suites (Garden Lodge) sleep 2 adults and up to 3 children. The One-Bedroom Classic Suites in the Garden Lodge can sleep 2 adults and 1 baby. Children will get a kick out of outdoor showers and window-side baths.
There is a babysitting service (on request) if you want to go off on a boat trip/horse ride etc.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
There are special kids' menus, and refreshments and snacks are regularly laid out for younger guests. You'll also have a well stocked fridge in your kitchenette, and fresh fruit delivered daily. Fire-baked pizzas are always popular!
The pools aren't fenced.