IN a world gone mad, we have to look for every glimmer of light wherever we can find it. Last week I spent a night at Tintswalo Atlantic. The winter staycation offer included a bottle of Graham Beck bubbly; I was also able to enjoy a spectacular lunch by Chefs Warehouse.
Sadly, mere days later, those two elements have been snatched away but it’s not all bad news. With international travel restrictions still in place, locals have every opportunity to take advantage of special offers. And just because it’s winter, doesn’t mean it’s not a good time to sneak off for a romantic or relaxing (or both) getaway.
Personally, winter is my second favourite season (autumn is the winner) so I didn’t mind one bit that when I arrived at the parking area at the top of Chapman’s Peak – you’re shuttled down to the boutique hotel via a steep, winding road – it was bucketing down. I gave my name to the man with the clipboard. “Ah. Sicily. The best room,” he said. All the rooms are named after islands.
At the foot of the mountain, Tintswalo Atlantic could hardly get closer to the ocean if it tried. I was enchanted and mesmerised by the stormy seas and the incoming tide crashing over rocks, and filled my camera roll with videos, pics, slow motion videos, with a glass of bubbly (sorry) and without. Via a series of umbrellas held aloft, I was shown to the new private Residents’ Lounge for a welcome tipple. Formerly at the entrance to the hotel, it’s now right at the end of the walkway, past the suites, and a pleasant space to work or relax with a book after you’ve checked out your suite but don’t have to be anywhere in a hurry. A small massage room has been added too; you can have your treatment there or in your room.
Sicily is, like the man said, impressive. It’s decorated in soft seashell hues, and like every other suite, it has a deck overlooking the sea and a fireplace. This deck also has a swing. The waves break literally just below that at high tide and at about 5am I deeply regretted my decision to sleep with the sliding doors open because, boy, that relentless sea is incredibly loud when it’s only metres away. They call it white noise but I think they mean it to be a lot softer and a lot more restful than the Atlantic under a full moon just after solstice in the middle of a cold front.
After lunch, I found the evening cocktail and canapés included in the special offer had been set on the table in my room, which is flanked by two armchairs. A bottle of Graham Beck bubbles was in an ice bucket (sorry again). There were bar snacks and an excellent tea selection. Despite having worked through four courses of eight dishes plus the Lemon Pie dessert (part of the deal too, so don’t miss out; it’s heavenly), the staff still tried to feed me more but I resisted their temptations.
With no sit-down dining allowed presently, not even hotel guests will be able to enjoy the Chefs Warehouse tapas sharing experience, shame, but the chefs do all the food and beverage side of things so there’s a Resident Menu in your room. From it you can order bread and homemade butter, a soft warm kitka (challah) which is made with an enriched dough and frankly worth making an entire meal of, it’s that delicious and oh my word I want one right now; oysters, and even caviar if you have R2300 to drop. There’s a small selection of cold and hot dishes, and desserts, and really not scarily priced. Plus you get to eat in your comfy robe and squishy feet pillows.
As it grew rapidly darker there was a knock at the door and another nice young man named Steven asked if he could light my fire. Obviously I am more than capable of doing this myself but there are times when one must graciously step back and let someone else take care of it. Steven also wanted to take all the throw cushions off the bed but I said no, I still need to take a photograph before I mess it up. The small basket of wood lasted about half an hour before I had to locate yet another nice young man (Michael) to bring me more.
The bathroom has a huge deep tub in front of the window so you can gaze wistfully at the ocean like a heroine in a romantic bodice-ripper novel pining for her lover who has sailed away over the horizon. Or maybe waiting for him to come back. Seashells and starfish line the walls in intricate patterns, and I appreciated the black makeup cloth. When I was younger and only stayed in cheap hotels for business, I didn’t care much about such things as white towels. But I’m older now, obviously, and the accommodations have improved drastically, as has my awareness. One the one hand, I think to myself “well, if they must have white towels…” but on the other, I’d still rather not leave streaks of foundation behind. And no matter how diligently you apply that cotton wool pad, there’s always a tiny bit you miss, especially after a bottle of bubbly. You know I’m sorry, right?
By the following morning, the weather had done a 180. The sea was still noisy but the sky had cleared for the day to make a grand entrance in shades of pink and peach and periwinkle. After all that bubbly and a cocktail, I wasn’t particularly happy about being awake so early but the view made up for that. Later still, it turned into a stunner with bright blue above as below. Even the swimming pool looked tempting but I’m not that kind of crazy.
After a quick breakfast of a perfectly soft-poached egg enrobed in hollandaise (sounds like something Nigella would say) on a muffin with spinach and trout, I wandered over for a 30-minute hot stone massage.
It was appropriate because stones are important at Tintswalo. As the story goes, it all began with a wish, and the owners would like us all to have a go at writing our heart’s desire on a stone and throwing it into the ocean. I’ve done this before and I throw like a girl so it landed ignominiously about a metre away where it probably still languishes beyond the reach of the waves, and why my wish didn’t come true. But the lesson is, be careful what you wish for. You might just end up with a beautiful hotel on the water’s edge.
The Tintswalo Atlantic Graham Beck Winter Staycation offer includes luxurious overnight accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis, with special treat add-ons of a complimentary bottle of Graham Beck Pinot Noir Rosé MCC on arrival (when lockdown levels allow), a delicious dessert of Lemon Pie to share, and a 30-minute massage per suite booked.
In celebration of Tintswalo Atlantic’s daily sunset spectacular, the offer furthermore includes complimentary sunset canapés and the cocktail of the day. The Graham Beck Winter Staycation SA Residents rate is R4975 for two people sharing per night, valid until the end of August 2021. Weekends require a minimum stay of two nights. Lunches and dinners are not included in the package.
Individually themed and decorated, eight Islands Suites and a two-bedroom Presidential Suite offer glorious views across the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Named after some of the world’s most famous islands, from Robben Island and Zanzibar, to Corsica and Sicily, the guest suites are spacious, each with its own private deck and a lounge area with a wood-burning fireplace. En-suite bathrooms have walk-in showers, dual basins and deep Victorian baths with a selection of fragrant soaps and pampering bath products, as well as fluffy gowns and slippers for cosy nights next to the fire.
The private Residents’ Lounge is decorated with a touch of glamour, and includes a fireplace, as well as outdoor seating under the Milkwood trees. It leads to the Massage Room and a heated plunge pool with a sundeck and loungers overlooking the Atlantic Ocean where on sunny days, guests may daydream and soak up the rays.
Tintswalo’s SA Residents Special offer is valid until December 19, 2021. It’s the same rate of R4975 per room per night (for two people sharing) and includes accommodation, breakfast, sunset canapés and cocktail of the day, wifi, and a welcome bottle of wine on arrival (when permitted). The offer excludes unspecified meals and beverages, transfers, excursions, mini bar and any other items of a personal nature.
A conservation levy of R200 per person per stay charged from March 1, 2021
PHOTO CREDIT: Bianca Coleman ©