A Weekend at Pearly Beach Cottage.

Excitement set in when we realised that we would be spending the weekend in the picturesque town of Pearly Beach. We are great fans of the Overberg and have holidayed in Gansbaai for many years. In fact, my first holiday in the area was when I was sixteen, many (oh so many!) years ago.

We have a huge family with many cousins and all our children get along fabulously. Because of this, we have made a point to holiday together in the area at least once a year – all four generations if possible.

Allan and I have often driven past Pearly Beach, and a few times we have done a little exploring of the small town and have always loved what we saw.

 Therefore, when the opportunity came up to visit a holiday house in Pearly Beach Resort, we were naturally thrilled to be going to that part of the world again.

The week was crazy with school and work commitments, but on Thursday night, we all eagerly packed our bags and excitement set in. Because the holiday house is fully equipped, all we had to do was throw in minimal clothes as well as a few games to amuse ourselves.

It took us about 3 and a half hours from Cape Town to Pearly Beach, bearing in mind that with a toddler in tow, we had to have frequent stops, including one for supper due to the fact that we also have a ravenous teenager in our family!

We found the resort really easily and arrived just as the sun was setting. We were welcomed by the friendly guard, who signed us in, handed us the keys and directed us to our home for the weekend.

 We arrived to a neat and cosy home – ready to welcome us and we felt right at home! Pearly Beach Cottage has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a compact kitchen and an open plan lounge and dining area leading to an enclosed braai area.

Naturally, the kids gravitated straight towards the television, which incidentally offers the full DSTV package, ready to keep them entertained as by that time, night had fallen and it was quite chilly outside.

We unpacked our food items into the already chilled fridge (very thoughtful, as there is nothing worse than arriving to a venue where you have to wait for the fridge to get cold!)

Hubby and I set about exploring our little piece of heaven, admiring all the little touches. Pearly Beach Cottage has numerous little treasures, such as the miniature little sailing ship, not to mention the beautiful paintings and inspirational wall canvasses.

 The cottage offers ample towels, soaps, air fresheners and the most divine beds and pillows. The couches are soft and perfect to snuggle up on.

We watched a bit of television and then, due to our long drive and crazy week, decided to have an early night.

We woke up bright and early the next morning (see above mention of toddler!), pulled on some clothes and took a short stroll to the beach for an early morning sea shell hunt. Access to the beach is alongside the neighbouring house, via a short wooden walkway. The beach is stunning – clear water, rolling waves and ample place to swim safely. For the fishermen or even the rock lovers, there is ample opportunity to explore!

 After some running around on the beach, we arrived back at the house with red cheeks and cold noses where we rustled up a great English breakfast. The kitchen is fully equipped for any requirement. There are plenty of pots and pans, cutlery and a utensil for every need.

 

Once our tummies were filled, we decided to take a walk around the resort. As a rule, it is neat as a pin and all the roads, walkways and houses are well taken care of. We were lucky to have a house situated directly opposite a play park, which was a great hit with my little one. Aside from the formal park, we also came across a site with a rope and tyre swing attached to a huge shady tree – a great place to picnic in summer!

During our walk we encountered two members of the resort’s neighbourhood watch members on their rounds, a great confirmation that safety is the number one concern.

Then, it was back to the house to warm up with some hot chocolate and to play a few board games before heading to nearby Gansbaai for lunch.

We used the opportunity to really explore Gansbaai while looking for a kid friendly place to eat and came across some wonderful places. We chose to eat at Tolbos Bistro, which had a sandpit, a small park and wonderful views of the harbour. After a long and lazy lunch, we explored the town a little more, before we headed back to the cottage for a quiet afternoon.

Hubby and my older son, Kieran, curled up on the comfy sofas to watch a movie while Reilly and I decided to snuggle in the cosy bed for a short nap.

After an hour or so, we dressed warmly for another short beach walk before heading to the resort’s local shop and wow, were the kids and I in HEAVEN! Naturally, my hubby immediately realised the severity of the threat to his wallet and tried to usher us out, but we were having none of it.

The store stocks everything, from your daily essentials, toys and games to keep the kids entertained to gorgeous arts and crafts, paintings, pottery and basically anything you could imagine at a craft market.

We decided to purchase a few treasures to take home with us and meandered back to the cottage.

By then it was time to get the fire started, for a traditional, early braai.

We decided to let Kieran be in charge of lighting the fire and we soon had a blazing fire going.

The braai/rear area of the cottage is fully enclosed and thereby totally protected from any cold winds, making it perfect for the cold Autumn evenings. We were perfectly snug while the boys played around with the soccer ball, and we lazed beside the fire.

Around this time, we had the strangest experience with one of the small local wild birds, he casually walked around us and then ambled into the house (he was probably hoping to move in as well).

Once the food was ready we settled around the dining table and tucked in. Our bellies were full and then it was shower and bathtime! Because of the two bathrooms, we could essentially all get this done at the same time, which was easy and a pleasure as the bathrooms are modern and well fitted out.

We once again piled on the couches to watch a movie and eat some of the delicious goodies we had bought in Gansbaai. The little one fell asleep early – a day filled with sea air and fun will do that to you!

The three of us settled around the dining table to play UNO, a game that we all LOVE to win at. After numerous games, and as much as we wanted to stay up and enjoy our last night as long as possible, the Sandman came to visit us at Pearly Beach Cottage and we decided to turn in for the night.

The next morning we managed to sleep until 8am and then lazed in bed for a while. We decided to have breakfast in Gansbaai so all we had to do was pack our clothes, tidy the cottage and we were ready to go.

Reluctantly, with Reilly shouting that he wanted to “go back to his house” (aka the cottage!) we handed in our keys at the security gate and were wished a safe trip home by the guard on duty.

We drove away from Pearly Beach Cottage well rested and with wonderful memories of an amazing family weekend.

Life is so busy and filled with “people” that having a retreat that can only accommodate your own small family is a blessing, allowing you to spend direct time with each other with no other distractions and interruptions.

If you are searching for a holiday house that is family orientated, child-friendly, within a safe environment and almost on the beach, Pearly Beach Cottage unquestionably ticks all the boxes.

Pearly Beach Cottage – we will be back!

Please note that this review was done for Rooms for Africa.  Please visit:

http://www.roomsforafrica.com/art/weekend_stay_pearly_beach_cottage

for the original review, more photographs and stunning getaways!

 

 

Weekend Getaway at Blue Bay Lodge

It was another one of those murderous months and we had been counting the days until our getaway to Saldanha. Although we are huge fans of the West Coast, for some reason we had never yet holidayed in Saldanha.

We arranged our usual housesitter and on Thursday night, we threw our clothes into our suitcases, and were packed in less than an hour. As the resort is fully catered, there was nothing else we needed to pack. An amazing benefit of Blue Bay Lodge is that they allow you to bring your dogs along for stays in their chalets. After much excitement at the thought of taking our Jack Russel along with us, we eventually decided to leave him in the comfort of his own home. Nevertheless, the rarity of this being allowed made us firm fans of the resort even before we left home.

Although we love long drives, sometimes a short drive is just what you need! Residing in Blouberg, it took us less than an hour and a half to reach the resort which was easy to find, with several signboards once you take the turn off to Saldanha.

Upon arrival, we were warmly greeted personally by Mart-Mari, the Operations Manager at the Resort, who knew my first name and our chalet number. She gave me a tour of the restaurant, explained all the interesting places to visit and answered all my questions as well as giving tips on the best coffee venue in Saldanha. After being given the keys, we headed off to our chalet.

We found it easily and leaving the bags in the car, which enjoyed covered shade net parking, we rushed inside to investigate. One word can describe our initial impression – wow!

It had been a freezing week and we arrived to a cosy and warm chalet. The wall heaters had been switched on in anticipation of our arrival and it was pure heaven. Walking into the kitchen we found a complimentary bottle of wine with a personally addressed letter welcoming us to the resort, complete with our free wifi code for our stay (this was a huge hit with our technology addicted children). There is a wall safe in each chalet and the chalet itself is spacious and well laid out – allowing us space to not crowd each other, but to still be together as a family. The dining and lounge area both have floor to ceiling windows, allowing panoramic and uninterrupted sea views.

Habitually, upon arrival anywhere, be it home, the office, or a friends house, the first thing I need is a sit down with a cup of tea. I was beyond thrilled to find a small basket, filled to the brim with different teas, various types of sweeteners as well as milk – heaven in a wicker basket!

After braving the cold afternoon air, we carried our suitcases in, unpacked and settled down to relax for a while before heading to the on-site restaurant, the Blue Bay Café Restaurant, for an early dinner.

The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and offers stunning views. We arrived and requested as secluded a table as possible … our four year old is not a quiet boy! Nevertheless, we had to be creative with keeping him amused so as not to disturb the other diners. Our waiter was fabulous and the food even better. We had a diverse menu to choose from and we thoroughly enjoyed our experience there. The blazing fire and sea views are mesmerizing and we would have lingered far longer had it not been for the above mentioned rowdy little boy!

We took a slow amble back to our chalet, marveling at the sounds of nature at night. Living in the city, you don’t appreciate or hear many frogs or night creatures.

Once settled back at our home for the weekend, Allan lit the fire (the fireplace was fully stocked with wood when we arrived). The fire blazed to life immediately with not a hint of smoke escaping into the house. The view of the bay, with its twinkling lights, was stunning. Together with the roaring fire, we weren’t sure which sight to stare at the most.

We were soon snug and sleepy and once the fire had died down to glowing coals, tired after our long week, we headed off to bed. What an experience cuddling down was! Each room is equipped with a heater and the beds are soft and welcoming. There are more than enough pillows and the duvets are simply divine. Initially we layered an extra blanket on top, but soon removed that. The duvets were toasty and we were soon lulled into a peaceful sleep, listening to the nearby ocean.

A great feature of the chalet is the fact that it is equipped with an alarm. This allowed us to sleep even better, secure in the knowledge that we were safe whilst asleep. We slept in a little bit the next morning (this never happens, I blame the soft bed and divine duvet…).

A fabulous facility that the resort offers is daily servicing (cleaning) of your room or chalet. The cleaners arrived mid-morning and although we decided not to make use of the service, the option to have it is delightful. We dressed warmly, went for a quick walk on the beach and then Allan cooked up a huge traditional English breakfast and we enjoyed every bite while once again enjoying the sea view and crystal clear sky. The kitchen is fully equipped with everything you may need, which makes cooking a joy.

We decided to take a walk around and explore our surroundings. There are numerous little treasure to uncover … the bird hide where you can watch the variety of birds enjoying the lake, the swimming pool (which, although it was cold, we were so tempted to use), the little river and waterfall with its charming bridge leading across. We were thoroughly enchanted.

We then headed off to explore Saldanha for a short while, driving along the coast road, through the town and learning a bit more about its history. Then, off to Langebaan to play at being tourists for a while, exploring the craft shops and purchasing some momento’s to take home. After a short disagreement on what to have for lunch, we decided to head back to our chalet and get something yummy to eat at the resort.

Even though the restaurant was technically closed for the day due to a fundraising function, I ran into the lovely Mart-Mari who very graciously arranged everything so that we could purchase a delicious pizza. After only 10 minutes it was ready and I meandered “home” to feed the masses. Afterwards, Reilly and I settled in for a nap on the super comfy bed, while Allan and Kieran went for a long beach walk and then played some soccer in the park area.

Due to the inviting warmth of the beds, Reilly and I napped fantastically and woke up rested and ready to tackle the afternoon. We were very fortunate in our chalet’s location – not only did we have uninterrupted sea views, we were also very close to the park, which was essentially right outside of our enclosed braai area. We were able to have some adult conversation, while the kids ran and played in the park (they LOVED the trampoline!), all the while easily keeping an eye on them.

It was an absolutely gorgeous afternoon, with not a breath of wind, so we were able to stay outdoors and enjoy our supper at the outside table until the sun started to set. The lovely heaters and fireplace began to lure us indoors and we settled in to warm up and relax as the sun went down and the lights across the bay began to twinkle on. One after the other, we bathed and/or showered and once again settled in to watch a movie. By this time it was totally dark and really cold, but luckily we were all warm and cozy.

Unsurprisingly, we were all quite tired out from all the day’s activities and new sights. After the movie we all decided to head off to bed. To be honest, we were looking forward to the lovely beds again … even Kieran, who hates going to bed, was quite eager to cuddle down under the lovely duvet. Needless to say, after lights out and a bit of chatting in the dark, we were all sound asleep.

We woke very early on the Sunday. Usually we are eager to get back home after a weekend away, but we all agreed that we could easily stay another few days. We all wrapped up warmly and went for another walk on the beach enjoying the lovely fresh West Coast air. Reluctantly, we packed our suitcases, handed in our key and bid farewell to the lovely Blue Bay Lodge and Resort.

Everything at the Resort is well thought out, making your stay easy and pleasurable, and it was all the little things that made for a wonderful stay. The lovely body products and essentials that are available in the chalets, the fact that the fireplace is simply amazing and not a hint of smoke escapes, the fact that the grounds are well cared for and perfectly clean, not to mention the wonderful views and lovely ambiance – beautiful during the day, but simply magical at twilight. They also have an on-site gym as well as a beauty salon. The resort team are very welcoming and helpful and make you feel as if any need you could have, would be catered for with a smile.

All in all, Blue Bay Lodge and Resort have a winning formula, and our stay there was a simply sublime experience – one that we will most certainly repeat as often as possible.

Please note that this review was done for Rooms for Africa.  Please visit:

http://www.roomsforafrica.com/art/weekend_stay_blue_bay_lodge

for the original review, more photographs and stunning getaways!