Sea change

SA’s coastline has an abundance of top-class accommodation options, for those in the mood for a luxury beach getaway

Sea change

Whether hoping for fresh coastal breezes to blow away the 2019 cobwebs or simply a little pampering, it’s hard to beat the seaside as the ideal spot for a luxury getaway.

Strandloper Ocean Boutique Hotel, Paternoster
Only one-and-a-half hours’ drive from Cape Town, Paternoster has become a prime destination for coastal escapes – few lodgings offer the same sense of quiet isolation as Strandloper Ocean Boutique Hotel. And because the hotel sits at the eastern edge of the village, patrons won’t feel hemmed in by the new houses that seem to sprout here like spring daisies. The hotel offers 14 rooms and suites. The luxurious ocean suites feature private terraces gazing over empty beaches and distant seas, a perfect spot to switch off the mobile. Paternoster punches above its weight when it comes to culinary options. While Wolfgat has become world-famous for chef Kobus van der Merwe’s foraged menu of Strandveld cuisine, in-house at Strandloper Ocean, chef Garth Almazan is master of the kitchen at Leeto restaurant. His menu dishes up plenty of West Coast inspiration, and don’t miss out on the superb risotto.

Whaler’s Way, Churchhaven
Once a humble fishing village on the shores of the Langebaan lagoon, Churchhaven has become one of the most sought-after boltholes on the SA coastline. Set deep within the West Coast National Park, the hamlet is home to just a handful of properties; ownership usually jealously guarded and handed down through generations. Happily a few of these historic homes have been renovated and upgraded for rental. One of the standouts is Whaler’s Way, a self-catering getaway that sleeps eight. Interior designer Salomé Gunter has crafted a remarkable coastal escape, stylish without sacrificing the heritage of the property. Think weathered wooden beams, antique furniture and organic linen and finishes. Full of charm, it’s an escape that also touches the Earth lightly. Built of upcycled materials it’s powered entirely by solar panels and relies on rainwater harvesting. For entertainment, the waters of the Langebaan lagoon – which is brimming with sealife and birdlife (pack the binoculars) – are a short walk away for days spent swimming, kayaking and sailing. In September, the local veld is ablaze with flowers, not least in the nearby Postberg section of the park, where migrating Southern Right whales can often be seen offshore.

Tintswalo Atlantic, Cape Town
There is, surely, no better location for a Cape coastal hideaway than that enjoyed by Tintswalo Atlantic. Clinging to the very edge of the rocky shores of the Table Mountain National Park, scenic Chapman’s Peak somewhere above, Tintswalo Atlantic is built just metres from the ocean that lends the lodge its name. After a fire razed the main building in February 2019, Tintswalo Atlantic has been rebuilt in spectacular fashion. The luxurious getaway is retained in the strong seaside motif but now with plush new furniture, an eye-catching, oceanic colour scheme, and a revamped outside deck on which to enjoy the stellar sunset views. Tintswalo Atlantic offers 10 island suites, as well as a more secluded two-bedroom luxury suite ideal for inter-generational travellers. Stretching away from the main lodge, each has been individually designed and decorated to honour the world’s most iconic islands. Spacious en-suite bathrooms, private decks and cosy lounge areas – with another serving of sea views – come standard across all suites. Guests also have access to the pool deck, where a heated pool and sun loungers face west to the Atlantic, or they can bag the hammock at the high-tide mark. Ensconced at Tintswalo Atlantic, enjoy sunset cocktails followed by a three-course table d’hôte dinner with local ingredients and inspiration taking centre stage. The impressive wine list includes a selection of older vintages from some of the Cape’s most renowned estates.

Morukuru Beach Lodge, De Hoop Nature Reserve, Swellendam
Travellers heading along the N2 towards the Garden Route all too often ignore one of the crown jewels of the Western Cape’s coastline. Stretching across 34 000 ha of protected land, with a marine reserve extending 5 km out to sea, De Hoop Nature Reserve is a natural wonderland offering antelope, flowers and fynbos on land; dolphins and whales cavorting in the pristine seas offshore. Morukuru Beach Lodge has four luxury suites, each with contemporary decor, superb views and all the mod-cons, including a fireplace to ward off the winter chill. Special occasion? Be sure to book the honeymoon suite, complete with a large private deck, sun loungers and an oversized outside bath. Sustainability is also taken seriously here: the lodge is entirely off the grid, with solar panels for electricity, and innovative water and heating technology keeping the footprint feather-light. There’s a plunge-pool in the sheltered courtyard, and meals are served here or in the communal dining room. Otherwise, the chef can whip up a picnic basket for lunch. A short walk from the lodge are quiet sandy coves and rock pools, making Morukuru Beach Lodge a wonderful destination for the entire family.

Oceana Beach and Wildlife Reserve, Port Alfred
The best of both worlds, that’s Oceana, where beach and bush combine to create a memorable venue. The 740 ha sanctuary is home to an array of wildlife, from sable antelope to giraffe and white rhino, which, with any luck, can be encountered on daily game drives. Guests at Oceana also have access to a 7 km stretch of private beach, with a dedicated deck hidden amid the coastal bush. While the safari-inspired lodge suites are well suited to families, couples and romantics will prefer the privacy and space of the four spacious ocean suites. A private. exclusive-use, three-bedroom house with pool is also available. The remarkable location, privacy and panoramic sea views make Oceana a standout in this hidden corner of the Eastern Cape.

The View Boutique Hotel & Spa, Amanzimtoti
High on a hilltop above the laid-back seaside town of Amanzimtoti – or simply ’Toti, as the locals call it – on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast, this intimate boutique hotel offers a luxury hideout within easy reach of Durban. Across the rooms and suites, the decor leans towards the opulent, with hand-carved wooden beds, glossy tiles and plush furnishings. There’s a sense of indulgence throughout, where more is always more. Giorgio’s, the hotel’s fine-dining restaurant, has become something of a destination along the South Coast. The menu is Italian inspired, ranging from designer pizzas and pasta to the fresh fish of the day. The beaches of the South Coast are just a few minutes’ drive from the hotel, but with impressive coastal panoramas from the pool terrace, you may want to simply curl up with a good read. Or book a treatment or two at the on-site Spa at The View. As with the rest of the hotel it’s a sumptuous space, with an extensive menu of facial and body treatments. It has eight treatment rooms, including couples’ rooms, along with a dedicated pedicure space, hydrotherapy facilities and a detox flotation therapy room. A fully equipped gym is also available.

By Richard Holmes
Images: Tintswalo, Morukuru, Oceana Reserve