The Sweet Service Award goes to Bellavista Country House and Panorama restaurant, located between Stanford and Gansbaai, and neighbouring Grootbos, a surprise oasis of 5-star accommodation luxury and excellent cuisine, owned by Swiss national Georg Schwegler, for inviting WhaleTales to experience the property. Set high up against the Waterkop mountain, the property has a lovely view onto Walker Bay, and the fynbos of the farm below. The popular Panorama restaurant, visited by guests from Hermanus and Gansbaai, has a fine-dining menu which is reasonably priced and the food was excellent. The restaurant is run by two chefs who previously worked at Allee Bleue in Franschhoek, and the service was professional and reactive, if a little withdrawn, whilst the wine list is extensive, with two wine list choices – top-end wines and more affordable wines.
The Sour Service Award goes to the Cape Whale Coast Destination Marketing Organisation, for reacting to its Sour Award of 28 December by sending a lawyer’s letter stating that “not only is the content of your publication concerning our client plainly untrue, but also slanderous. You published these statements with the obvious and clear intentions to defame our client, and bring our client’s work, standing, good name and reputation into disrepute”. The letter demanded “an unequivocal apology in respect of all untrue and defamatory matter concerning our client. In such written apology, you are to acknowledge the untruthfulness of your earlier statements, withdraw all imputations made, and express your regret that they were ever made”. The writer gave 7 days for this demand to be implemented (but sent the letter to the wrong address, so it was only received 10 days later), failing which the DMO threatened to issue a summons for damages and apply for an interdict! Nowhere in the lawyer’s letter did it state which parts of the long article it deemed to be “untrue” or “defamatory”. WhaleTales has been around the block long enough, and has written for the media, and knows what can/may be said. Information sources were the Hermanus Tourism Bureau, an e-mail sent to all members of the Hermanus Tourism Bureau, the DMO constitution, and the DMO website itself. The blog post that the DMO is contesting can be read here. The DMO seems to be short of funds, yet seems to deem it important to waste its money on a threatened court case with no foundation, and does not appear to value the country’s Constitutional freedom of speech!
The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog. Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at firstname.lastname@example.org. Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website.