Three weeks ago I and a group of writers was invited to enjoy breakfast at the new Tintswalo at Boulders, perched above Boulders Beach in Simonstown, renowned home to the African penguins. Shortly after our visit, we were invited by Five Star PR to spend a night at the luxury boutique accommodation lodge, directly overlooking Boulders Beach. I chose to stay on Saturday evening 8 December, having to be at Stargarden in Fish Hoek for a reading from my second book ‘SwitchBitch: My Journey of Transformation in walking the Camino, Sole to Soul’ the following day.
Tintswalo means ‘the intangible feeling of love, gratitude and peace that you bestow upon someone who has given you a meaningful and worthy gift’, a sign in the room informed. The new Tintswalo at Boulders has nine suites, as well as a children’s room. The decor of each bedroom is inspired by the name of a famous ship each is named after. My room was ‘Water Witch’, an American Navy gunboat which was launched in 1851, used to survey the Atlantic coast of South America.
My room was spacious, and its terrace almost equally large, with two patio chairs as well as a cocoon chair. It has a king bed, on which was displayed a dressing gown, the description of Tintswalo, a gift of a glass carafe, and a welcome letter. At the foot of the bed an ottoman had the word ‘Welcome’ created with shells. A picture of the Water Witch hangs on the wall. In the built-in cupboard is a bar fridge, an Illy coffee machine, and a wooden box of Khoisan teas, with a kettle and cups, as well as oat cookies and rusks. It has a fireplace and a huge TV. Candles are placed in the bathroom, clearly an addition since loadshedding reared its ugly head again, although I could not see any matches. The bathroom has a toilet, bath, double basin, and shower, and is behind the bed. A wall decoration has been created in the corner of the room, over the bath, done by Gaye Corbett, who owns Tintswalo with her daughter Lisa Goosen, the CEO of the family business. The box with bathroom amenities also contains shells, and the bath mats in front of the basins are decorated with them too. The accommodation is operated on a B & B basis, or can be rented as a Villa for 18 adults and two children. My room was closest to the heated swimming pool.
Something I learnt from the room file is that Simon’s Town was named after Simon van der Stellenbosch, the Governor of the Cape.
The property lies between Gay Street and the Boulders Boardwalk, a neat walkway alongside the fenced-off penguin accommodation. It is built on three levels, with parking offered on the property. Assistant Stanford walked me to the gate at the Boardwalk, and explained that if I walked to the right, I would get to the small beach with penguins, to which entrance is free of charge. There are fewer penguins on this side, but the water here is very calm and the boulders of Boulders Beach are massive. I had a look at the gift shop on this side, mainly selling penguin memorabilia, rather expensive I thought. There is a tea room and accommodation too. I then walked up to the main road, to boost my step count for the day, and walked down the road which takes one to a second viewing area of a larger colony of penguins, to which one pays an entrance fee. Things are far more commercialised on this side, with traders displaying and selling their tourist wares, and there are two coffee shops and another gift shop, more reasonably priced than the one on Boulders Beach.
Stanford made me a dry cappuccino when I arrived, I declining the kind offer of a glass of sparkling wine from the manager Tatum Ehrenreich. He brought snacks of biltong, mixed nuts, and droë wors to the room after my walk, and a Johnny Walker Black and a dry cappuccino not requested, at a pre-arranged time, with more snacks, as well as extra blankets, as I was freezing after sunset, and the air conditioner heat setting did not work properly. I stayed in, using the quiet time to catch up on my writing and preparing for the SwitchBitch Book 2 reading.
I loved the poem which was on my bed after the turndown, Keli Mims ‘Penguin Love Poem’, accompanied by a minute slab of Winston & Julia 56% Dark Chocolate with caramel and a touch of Kalahari salt:
’Male penguins scour the earth for one little pebble
A perfect one, for someone special
Giving the pebble as a sign of love, something useless to us, for them is enough.
With the Little Rock, it’s up to fate. If she accepts they’re forever mates.
For the rest of their lives they’re together, a love that as time goes, grows better.
It’s simple, strange, yet it’s enough, isn’t it beautiful, Penguin love?’
I did not sleep well, with a hefty South Easter blowing the whole night through. The basin taps in the room do not have hot water, explained the next day as being due to the water-saving device inserted into the tap heads. One of the staff very kindly ironed a pair of slacks for me. I did not hear the other guests at all, a treat!
Breakfast was a treat, with a table for one set up against a window in the dining room, facing the Indian Ocean and the Boulders with the penguins and cormorants on the rocks almost directly below. I received a dry cappuccino, a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, a platter of fresh fruit, including the treat of cherries, granola, and yoghurt, and then was allowed to order a cooked breakfast, without a menu, so I requested an excellent poached egg, Salmon, and avocado, with capers, accompanied by toast and butter. A Breakfast Feast!
Nothing is too much trouble at Tintswalo, and generosity is the key focus here. It was a real treat and gift to spend the night at Tintswalo at Boulders.
Tintswalo Property Group owns Tintswalo Safari Lodge and Tintswalo Manor House in the private Manyeleti Game Reserve in the western part of the Kruger National Park, Tintswalo Atlantic Lodge at the door of Chapman’s Peak, closest to Hout Bay, the newest Tintswalo at Boulders, and Tintswalo Lapalala Wilderness in the Waterberg.
Tintswalo at Boulders, 7 Gay Road, Simon’s Town, Cape Town. Tel (011) 300-8888. www.tintswalo.com Twitter: @TintswaloLodges Instagram:@tintswalo_lodges @tintswalo_at_boulders
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein