“A beach-facing deck, picture-perfect colour coordination and 5 cosy bedrooms in an airy Planters-style house just yards from the Indian Ocean”
The 5 guest bedrooms at Southern Cross face out to the decked veranda and patio garden. Room 2 and Room 4 have kingsize beds and ensuites with bathtubs as well as showers. The other 3 rooms have showers only; Room 5 has a queensize bed, while Rooms 1 and 3 have twin beds (which can be made up as kingsize doubles).
The all-white walls, panelling and louvre wardrobe doors made good decorative sense given the bedrooms’ reduced dimensions. The choice of fabrics and furnishings again reflects Susie’s colour-sensitive eye: dark wooden bedside tables and headboards are nicely contrasted against the white backdrop, as are the Laura Ashley-ish pink and blue striped and patterned fabrics. Repro wood and brass light switches, antique sewing machine tables, chandelier lights and framed floral and naval prints further add to the rather English-county feel.
And Susie didn’t forget the little details: as well as fluffy white towels, good linen sheets and duvet covers you’re provided with boxed tissues, a kettle (with tea and coffee), a hairdryer, mosquito repellent, a torch and a converter plug. All bedrooms have their own small sitting area with rattan chairs and a table out on the decked veranda.
Bath and shower rooms have a similar period feel with floors tiled in classical white-and-black check, plus ornately sculpted sinks with retro-style taps. The lack of shelf space for toiletries is a minor irritation.
Given the fact that Plettenberg Bay has one of the mildest climates in the country, the chances are that breakfast will be served alfresco on the ocean-facing deck. In cooler weather things move inside to the lounge/diner where, thanks to the sea-facing French windows, you won’t be deprived of those gorgeous sea views.
Neill and Susie, who run an interiors shop and theatre in Plettenberg, may not be around first thing, but in their absence you’ll be well cared for by their cheery manageress, Jean, and her 2 kitchen helpers. A cold buffet is laid up along a pine counter in the lounge/diner. Ours included fruit salad, dried fruits, a choice of cereals, cold meats and cheeses, scrummy locally-made yoghurt and freshly baked bread, followed by a hearty cooked breakfast. Breakfast entertainment was provided overhead by wheeling gulls, and undertable by the 2 resident poodles.
The lounge/diner also has a kitchenette for guest use, so you can whip up a snack if necessary, as well as an honesty bar.
When it comes to lunch and dinner you’ll need to jump in your car and drive into Plettenberg, which takes just 10 minutes, or if you’re prepared to head a few minutes out of town, you have even more of a choice. The chances are you’ll want to eat fish and seafood, in which case either The Med or The Lookout would be a good choice. Neill and Susie also own Nguni, which offers Cape cuisine - think smoked Kudu, spinach and Biltong salad or Ostrich burgers. There’s also an excellent Italian restaurant, Cornuti. For for a great steak and a beautiful location follow the River Bitou inland to Emily Moon. In spite of the hype we found Fushi - known for its sushi and mediterranean cuisine - to be disappointing, but friends insisted we were just unlucky.