In a first event of its kind, pairing food, wine, and music, the ‘Four Seasons’ by Vivaldi was recomposed by German-born UK composer Max Richter, and paired with wines and food to match the four different seasons covered in the composition, and took place in the majestic Zeitz MOCCA Museum art gallery last night. It was preceded by a ‘reimagined’ interpretation of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No 3, by Hans Roosenschoon. Continue reading →
The seven chefs teams and their sommeliers for Chefs who Share – the ART of Giving 2016 have been announced, for the Gala Dinner which will take place in the Johannesburg City Hall on Saturday 24 September. Continue reading →
Whilst dining at Le Bernardin in New York earlier this week, I received a copy of Zagat 2016 ‘New York City Restaurants’. Paging through it, I discovered some interesting information about the New York restaurant scene. Continue reading →
‘Chefs who Share – the ART of giving’ is hosting the fourth charity Gala Dinner in September this year, but has reinvented itself in changing its location, and in making an almost week-long event out of Chefs who Share! Continue reading →
Today the inaugural ‘2016/2017 Gourmet Guide: Top South African Restaurants, their Chefs & Recipes‘ was launched at the Good Food & Wine Show. Twenty one top restaurants were honored with one or two plates, acknowledging them as the best restaurants in our country.
Continue reading →
If luxury stands for being out of the ordinary, transporting one from the world one is in to something more special, enjoyed by some but not all, is beyond the day to day basics, provides good service, and leaves one with a good feeling, then Cape Town is a luxurious destination, said seasoned hotelier Nick Seewer at a meeting of PR-Net held at Continue reading →
Eight South African Lodges count amongst the Conde Nast Traveler Top 100 Hotels & Resorts in the World Readers’ Choice Awards, which were announced yesterday.
The South African Top 100 lodges, with the ranking, are as follows:
3. Bushman’s Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat (photograph) Continue reading →
* ‘Flavours of the Cape‘ is a restaurant promotion planned for Cape Town and surrounding restaurants during the month of September, reflecting … the flavours of the Cape in their dishes and the city’s vibrant food culture. (via media release from Real Events & Communications)
* Wines of South Africa (WOSA) met with Wines of Chile and Wines of Argentina in Mendoza last week, to discuss communal marketing activities for the wines of their countries, particularly in China. ‘We met and reviewed the common goals that we have: To do things in innovative ways that are more cost-effective for producers. The feeling is that, when we work together, we generate more interest in the trade and with consumers’, said WOSA CEO Su Birch.
South Africa has made it to the top of the Telegraph Ultratravel 100, and its announcement fortunately contains a photograph of Cape Town, an unusual dramatic one of Table Mountain covered in a thick South-Easter cloud, with Vredehoek in the foreground. Dubai made it into second place, followed by the Maldives, Australia, and Italy. No motivation is presented for the choice, it being based on a Telegraph reader poll, and only the country’s website link to South African Tourism is provided. This is the second tourism award that includes our city in a week, TripAdvisor having recently announced Cape Town as the number one world travel destination in the Travelers’ Choice Destination Awards.
South Africa also features in the Top Hotel in Africa list, the Cape Grace making it to the top of this list, and La Residence in Franschhoek making third place (right), the One&Only Cape Town is ranked fourth, and The Twelve Apostles is in fifth place. Hemingway’s Resort in Mombasa is ranked second, and is the only non-South African top hotel on this list.
Other award winners were Cunard for best cruise company, Changi in Singapore for best airport, Emirates for best airline, Virgin Atlantic for best cabin staff, Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at Heathrow for Best Airport lounge, Hôtel de Crillon in Paris best city hotel, Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah in Oman is the best Beach/Resort hotel, the Four Seasons is the best luxury chain, The Carlyle in New York is the best hotel in the USA, Burj al Arab in Dubai is the best in the Middle East, and Le Touessrok the best in the Indian Ocean Islands.
It is a shame that the results have been announced at this time of the year, when the UK market is least likely to book for the coming summer, it being too far into the future, given their increasing last-minute booking pattern.
POSTSCRIPT 18/5: The Telegraph followed up its award announcement article with the following motivation for South Africa having been voted in number one position. Unfortunately Cape Town is not mentioned at all!:
“South Africa may be on the other side of the world from Britain, an 11-hour flight away at the southern tip of the African continent – and it may not be quite as enticingly cheap for Britons as it was (the pound now buys just 11 rand, and hotel prices are a good deal higher than they were before the Football World Cup). But the Rainbow Nation has still been voted by readers as their favourite destination – and for good reason. The country has landscapes of breathtaking beauty: raw, diverse and in the main unspoilt.
Along the coasts, some of the world’s largest sand dunes roll in from seas teeming with marine life (it is off KwaZulu Natal’s beaches that flocks of birds gather for their annual feast during the great sardine run, and whales migrate to give birth in sheltered coves). Mountain ranges thick with ancient trees are crisscrossed with waterfalls and rivers made for swimming. Game reserves as big as Wales – all baobabs, rolling grasslands and kopjies indented with rock caves decorated with ancient San art – protect the Plant Five, the Little Five and the Big Five. It’s not unknown to see lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino in one day, alongside leopard orchids, buffalo weavers, elephant grass and rhino beetles.
And the country is not just for nature-lovers, either. From the winelands in the south to the deserts bordering Namibia, there is plenty of variety to keep most holidaymakers happy: child-friendly museums, cutting-edge hotels and 17th-century Cape Dutch b&b homesteads, gourmet restaurants, game lodges housing local art, and diversions ranging from shark diving and bungee-jumping to African herbal spas. Best thing of all? It is all reassuringly familiar, despite being on a different continent. The people of South Africa not only speak the same language as we do (in addition to 10 others) and drive on the same side of the road, but, after years of isolation during the era of apartheid, relish overseas visitors. In this relatively new tourist destination, even the passport officers welcome new arrivals with a smile.
As a finalist for this award, South Africa had plenty of competition: Dubai, with its five-star hotels; the Maldives, with its idyllic island life; Australia, with its open bush, wine and fine tucker; and Italy, with its historical and cultural allure. Having won, the Rainbow Nation should dust off its vuvuzelas. In spite of its troubles, it is now among the winners of an Ultra – an achievement that really is worth trumpeting about.”
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage
Two local Cape hotels have made it onto The Telegraph “50 best hotels in the world” list, which the paper published on 31 December. Writers of the Telegraph Travel section selected the top 50 hotels, and divided them into three rates brackets. The two Cape hotels both featured in the £150 – £300 per room per night price range, the mid price range.
La Residence in Franschhoek is a very low key property locally, with little visible advertising. Its business comes from international advertising and word of mouth. Its biggest claim to fame is Elton John, the famous guest who comes to stay whenever he performs in Cape Town, and he always thanks the owners, Liz and Phil Biden, during his concerts. When La Residence moved to its new site in Franschhoek, John was consulted as to what he wanted in terms of decor for “his” room. Surprisingly, “his” room is not any larger than the other rooms that face the dam outside. “His” room has an Indian decor style. Every room is unique in its decor, created by interior decorator Ralph Krall.
The article describes La Residence as follows: “An 11-suite extravagance on the slope of Franschhoek, the Cape Village that is probably South Africa’s prettiest. No expense has been spared. Each of the suites has its own decor theme, from Buddhist retreat to French decadent, while the public areas are a riotous collection of Louis XIV furniture. Persian carpets, plus objets, art and fabrics from India, Indo-China, France and Italy and everywhere else. And it works thanks to the impeccable taste of Liz Biden, the proprietor”.
Grootbos is located outside Hermanus, just beyond Stanford, before one gets to Gansbaai, and is known for its focus on conservation, not only of fynbos, but also of whales at De Kelders close by and other sealife, such as penguins, on Dyer Island. The article writes as follows about Grootbos: “Found on one of the finest whale-watching coastlines, this five-star retreat offers unadulterated luxury without the guilt. Every effort has been made to assimilate these fabulous private lodges – complete with all mod cons, state-of-the-art bathrooms, four-poster beds and unsurpassable views – into the environment. And what an environment: a 1750-hectare reserve that is home to more than 740 different species of plants and the impossibly white sands of Walker Bay”.
Some of the other hotels that made the Telegraph Top 50 list include Mama Shelter in Paris, Mykonos Grace Hotel in Mykonos, Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Place in Budapest, Villa Marie in Saint Tropez, The Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, Four Seasons George V in Paris, Four Seasons New York, Four Seasons Istanbul, The Dorchester in London and The Carlyle in New York.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage