Having been an AA Hotel Inspector for nearly 10 years, I have stayed in the whole gamut of accommodations offered in the British Isles.
Favourite visits include the Dorchester and Mandarin Oriental hotels in London who rightly hold their places at the pinnacle of high end hospitality and service. Lesser known favourite visits were usually to small privately run and owned properties when the owner’s passion to please the customer is reflected in the whole stay. its the type of service that many corporates dream of achieving!
There was one place I remember in the New Forest where the owners switched the water heating on for the swimming pool so I could have a swim in late September. They then served me with a fabulous cream tea in response to a spontaneous offer of a hot drink. Another place I remember well was in Callendar Scotland where the owner offered to iron my creased shirt and served the most amazing Scottish breakfast including home made jams and bakery products. He then called ahead to a store in the nearby town to check that they had a pottery jug which I had admired. These places remain strong memories, whereas others have faded into the past.
We will always remember the fabulous place with the WOW factor. Will we remember the place that was just OK?
Here are two places that I have stayed in Cape Town which will be remembered long after my time in St Helena is over.
The Cape Town Guest Accommodation scene is alive and well with an abundance of choices across the Western Cape. There seems to be a higher standard of accommodation, service and hospitality than in say the London or Edinburgh areas. This is good news for any visitor who would possibly prefer a more personal stay than one in a hotel.
There are two particular guest houses that I have been lucky enough to stay in. They stand out as exceptional in many ways: The quality of the accommodation itself and the friendly unobtrusive service offered to guests are probably the most important.
The Bluegum Hill Guesthouse is perched on the highest road in the Green Point district; this might mean a £3 taxi ride whenever one needs to go to the waterfront, but that slight inconvenience is blown away by the staggering views across the city from the two patios. As guests arrive and enjoy their welcome drink you can see eyes drawn through the floor to ceiling windows to the view and the pool on the patio below.
Air conditioned bedrooms are fairly spacious with very good bathrooms. Beds offer sumptuous comfort with fine cotton. The patio breakfast served by some lovely local ladies gives guests a great start to a days touring.
Hujis Haerlem Guest House in Sea Point is actually two houses with the gardens fused together giving guests a green space to relax and enjoy when the weather is fine which is most of the year. Johan, one of the proprietors has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the Western Cape and will gladly spend time helping visitors get the most out of their visit.
Nothing is too much trouble here; bags are carried, tours are booked, wifi connections checked, Laundry, ironing, I have even had a lift to somewhere when a taxi didn’t turn up done. Breakfast is a highlight of any stay with Johan ensuring that the team retain his high standards. Coffee is a passion here with a state of the art cappuccino machine in pride of place in the breakfast room. The whole philosophy here is “my home is your home”.
I cant wait to return!