Tag Archives: Wi-fi

Corona Virus: Lockdown Journey Journal, Day 163 of Level 1, 12 March 2022.


Saturday 12 March 2022, Day 163 of Level 1 ūüė∑

Corona Lockdown Gratitude ūüôŹ

#grateful for a smooth flowing day; for a good breakfast at Botlierskop, with a beautiful yellow free range egg cheese omelet; for a careful drive to Knysna, with so many speed cameras and traps; for checking in at Turbine Hotel on Thesen Hotel, but our rooms taking another two hours to become available, so we went on a little walk on the island, the shops not much different to what I remember from a last visit at least 5 years ago; for bumping into Markus F√§rbinger, former owner of Ile de Pain Continue reading →

TripAdvisor accommodation survey finds big hotels do best!

On quantifiable measures, the TripAdvisor 2012 Industry Index results of a survey conducted amongst 25517 accommodation establishments around the world from 7 – 14 June, and released to TripAdvisor rated properties yesterday, found that hotels with 50 or more rooms are smarter, and therefore more successful in running their businesses than are smaller establishments.

Questioned about their profitability, more than 80% of accommodation establishments in North America, South America, and Asia reported being profitable, while only 69 % of those in the Middle East and Europe did so. Establishments with 50 or more rooms were more likely to report profitability than smaller ones. The highest optimism about the prospects for the next six months came from establishments in Indonesia, Brazil, Russia, the USA, and India, while those expecting the worst conditions are the Eurozone countries of Greece, Italy, Spain and France, which is not surprising. Not surprising either is that 53% of accommodation establishments indicated that they had reduced their rates for the June – August period (could of course be season related, as would be the case in winter in many Southern Hemisphere countries), and plan to drop rates even further in September and October.

Online booking capability and use of Social Media in marketing were also probed.  The survey found that Bed & Breakfast establishments are very far behind hotels and inns in their online booking facilities (or lack of) offered to guests.  Social Media marketing is applied by 66% of all establishments, but once again hotels with more than 50 rooms are twice as likely to use this form of marketing than are their smaller counterparts.  Mobile devices are most likely to be used to interact with guests in accommodation establishments in China, Turkey, Mexico, Spain, and in the USA, while they are least likely to be used in the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, and in France.

Marketing activities of accommodation establishments include offering discounts first and foremost, followed by offering free wi-fi, free parking, rewarding business with points, and offering free newspapers.

The question group that was at the core of the TripAdvisor survey, and led to some irritation, was that relating to the practice of accommodation establishments inviting feedback from their guests, to which 83% of the establishments replied positively. ¬†The proportion of establishments which invite their guests to provide feedback via TripAdvisor is 78%, the survey claims. ¬†The survey probed whether one wanted TripAdvisor to contact one’s guests proactively, to evaluate their feedback, which must have led to an overwhelmingly negative response as the result is not included in the survey report.

The survey concluded with the environmental concern and practices of accommodation establishments, and those in New Zealand, Canada, Brazil, France, Indonesia, Italy, USA, the Caribbean, Australia and India are most eco-friendly in their operations.  Interesting is that one third of the properties admitted that they do not communicate their green practices to their guests. The most common ways in which the establishments contribute to conserving the environment are to use energy-efficient light bulbs, encouraging the re-use of towels and linen, energy-efficient planning, eco-cleaning, and water-efficient toilets.

Interestingly, Africa as a continent, and South Africa as a country, were not mentioned in the results at all.

From feedback received, many guests still prefer to stay in smaller accommodation establishments such as Bed & Breakfasts, for the ‘home from home’ friendliness and more affordable rates. ¬†This is not reflected in the TripAdvisor survey results.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

Restaurant Review: Tamboers Winkel is cosy ‘farm-in-the-city’ communal feasting!

A Facebook post and a subsequent Tweet alerted me to the opening of Tamboers Winkel in De Lorentz Street in Gardens, in the space of the previous cheesecake home of Chez Chez. ¬†Owner Theo van Niekerk has opened up the kitchen for all to see his homecooking, and has created a warm homely space with excellent food to eat as ‘communal feasting’ or to take away.

The centrepoint of the smallish space is a wooden table seating ten, and the nice part is that one sits down and starts talking to someone else at the table that one may never have met before, as ‘gesellig’ as the long table at I¬†‚ô• my Laundry is. ¬†Whereas the previous interior was modern and red, the new Deli and Caf√© is dominated by wood, with the wooden table and chairs, wooden shelving on both walls, and wooden counter tops in the shop window. ¬†They have one outside table too. ¬†The most modern part is the Deli counter, filled with delectable salads, charcuterie, and cheeses. ¬†Theo told me that Marcii Goosen had done the decor, and the styling is beautiful, especially the section with the croissants and breads, which are supplied by Manna Epicure from around the corner and displayed in an old suitcase, and the free-range eggs from Montagu, which are beautifully presented on straw. Old photographs hang overhead. ¬† On the shelving are balsamic vinegar, olive oil, mustards, a carob and nut spread, orange and black pepper salt, relishes, Deluxe coffee, and other home-made treats, all available to buy.

On my first visit Clarissa Lee was behind the counter, and served a lovely phyllo pastry chicken pie, with an apple and pea salad and nutmeg and yoghurt dressing served in a tea cup, both presented on a wooden board, gorgeous to look at before taking a bite. The cutlery looks like it comes from ouma’s kitchen, the knives having old-fashioned yellowing handles. ¬†I returned a few days later with my friend Bettie Coetzee-Lambrecht, and she loved it too. She is a photographer of note, and gave me some styling tips before I took the photograph of the chicken lasagne and butternut, feta, and couscous salad, the salad also served in a tea cup. ¬† On Friday the table was full over our lunchtime visit, just two weeks after opening.

Theo was previously the Manager of Van Hunks, Oblivion, and Carlyles. Tamboers Winkel is his first own venture. ¬†He grew up in Ficksburg, and has fond memories of his grandmother’s homely farm kitchen, which he has tried to replicate the atmosphere of. ¬†Clarissa, Theo’s right hand, is equally adept at making things happen in the kitchen behind the counter, as she was in serving us, with a very friendly nature and clearly passionate about food.

The Deli counter sells a selection of cheeses supplied by Get Stuffed, including Gorgonzola, Karoo Blue, 3 month aged Cheddar, Bocchini, Emmental, Pecorino, as well as Brie and Camembert.  There is a guava preserve with vanilla and star anise, as well as a red wine and pear preserve.   Salad options are a chickpea and Bocchini,  the apple and pea, and butternut and feta, all at R 19, or served with the hot dishes of the day, at R40. Sandwiches range from R28 РR35, and include Black Forest and poached pear, roast chicken and aioli, and winter vegetable.  A cheeseboard with crispy bread and olives costs R55.  One can order free-range chicken fresh and hot off the rotisserie. Roast chicken and salad costs R 79 for a whole, R54 for half, and R44 for a quarter chicken.  The charcuterie comes from Twelve Pigs, and includes coppa, pancetta and Bresaola.  Breakfast is kept simple, with a choice of croissants or frittata. Everything is written onto a blackboard, which means that the menu can be updated regularly.

Its convenient location, homely interior and service, convenient opening hours, as well as its small selection of healthy foods and Deluxe coffees already have made Tamboers Winkel a popular stop in the Gardens area, just off Kloof Street, for a sit down chat or a friendly take-away service.

POSTSCRIPT 27/6: Marcii Goosen, the interior designer, was at Tamboers Winkel today, and was a delight to chat to. She was planning a shoot for the website.  Clarissa baked chocolate brownies today, and cupcakes are coming next, Theo said.

POSTSCRIPT 11/7: Lovely Breakfast Frittata made by Clarissa this morning, as well as a new addition to the menu, being beautiful cupcakes. On Twitter Tamboers Winkel was described as ‘the hottest new place in Cape Town‘.

Tamboers Winkel, 3 De Lorentz Street, Gardens, Cape Town. Tel (021) 424-0521. www.tamboerswinkel.com Twitter: @TamboersWinkel Tuesday РFriday 9h00 Р18h00 (from 2 October).  Saturday and Sunday 9h00 Р16h00.  Can cater for private events in the evenings, by arrangement. Free wi-fi.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage

Restaurant Review: Down South Food Bar serves super Southern ribs ‘n prawns

Talk of the town as far as new restaurants go is Giorgio Nava’s newly opened Down South Food Bar in the less savoury southern end of Long Street, near the Long Street Baths.¬† Compared to his 95 Keerom Street and Carne, you won’t find Nava at Down South, the restaurant being far more casual,¬†more friendly, non-Italian, and offering a small selection of good¬†food and beverages, at excellent value for money.¬†

We were told that the restaurant name comes from¬†the restaurant concept of food that comes from the¬†American south, such as gumbo, jambalaya, and cajun fish, something Morton’s did in the Waterfront when the shopping center first opened.¬† Down South does it in a far more casual way, bringing the simple home-style American¬†deep south classics¬†to Cape Town in a tasty and affordable way.¬† It is¬†good as a relaxed place to have a beer, to watch a game with the boys, and to eat inexpensive and tasty food to soak up the drinks,¬†so don’t expect¬†‘fine’ food here.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†

Carl Penn is the chef at Down South, having worked with Nava as his right hand man at 95 Keerom Street and Carne.    The staff are very friendly and laid back. They wear black pants and T-shirts, strongly Southern Comfort branded. 

The restaurant has a narrow front to the street, but extends deep into the space.  Light wooden tables are functional, with brushed aluminium chairs and uncomfortable wooden benches providing seating.   One wall is wood panelled, another painted cream.   The dominant colour scheme is brown.  A bar counter has bar stools made in the same brushed aluminium design.  Free wi-fi is available.   An eclectic mix of music is played, including Coldplay and Moby.   The TV is set on sport.   Cutlery is cheap and cheerful, with paper serviettes.  

The Menu has some stars and typing errors, is made to look old Down South, and is divided into Starters, Ribs, Sandwiches and Prawns, to which is added Sides and Dessert.¬† Having only opened a few days ago, the advertised Daily Specials (Gumbo on Mondays,¬†Jambalaya on Tuesdays, BBQ Brisket on Wednesdays, Best Burger on Thursdays, Cajun fish on Fridays and Fried Chicken on Saturdays)¬†are not yet available, neither were the cheesy grits and coleslaw.¬†¬† Starters¬†cost between R40 – R45, and include prawn cocktail, thick cut bacon, caesar salad, buffalo chicken wings, and¬†8 of the¬†most wonderful crispy batter fried prawn tails served with a delicious red pepper r√ɬ©moulade.¬† Ribs are ‘dry spice rubbed and twice baked, basted in Down South BBQ sauce”, and the two racks were sweet and spicy, an extremely tender and generous portion at R 65, which includes one side dish (‘whipped potatoes’, home fries, chopped salad or corn bread).¬†¬† “Po’ Boys” sandwiches (poor boy sandwich originating from Louisiana, usually a submarine sandwich made with meat or seafood)¬†cost R50 – R55, served with pork, prawns or BBQ brisket, while the “Muffaletta” sandwich (originates from New Orleans)¬†costs R45, and contains mortadella, salami, white cheddar, tomato and olive pickle.¬† Butterflied prawns, grilled with olive oil, cost R70, including one side dish too.¬†¬† Desserts cost R35, and the choice is pie – apple, pecan or Mississippi – or baked cheesecake.

The winelist is uncomplicated and simple, the prices being unbelievably affordable, with three categories: Cheap (Buitenverwachting Buiten Blanc, Mooiplaas Chenin Blanc, Villiera Down to Earth Red,¬†Wolftrap, Mount Rozier Red Blend, all at R25 a glass and R100 a bottle);¬†Decent (Villiera Gew√ɬľrztraminer, Hartenberg Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz, and Helderberg Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, all at about R 32 a glass/R120 per bottle);¬†and Good (Fat Bastard Chardonnay, Iona Sophie Terblanche Sauvignon Blanc, Thelema Red and Villiera Merlot, at about R34 per glass/R135 per bottle); and a separate mention for Ros√ɬ© (Kleine Zalze at R20/R80), as well as for “Bubbles” (Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel at R30/R125).¬†¬† Beers cost R18 (Heineken), R17 (Amstel, Windhoek) and R21 for 500 ml of Jack Black Draught.¬† A cocktail list features eight options, all with American South names, most costing a very affordable R35.¬† The cocktail menu carries the branding of Southern Comfort, Jack Daniel’s and Frangelico.

One hopes that Nava does not overextend himself in his opening of new restaurants Рhe has also just opened the Mozarella Bar in lower Kloof Street (opposite the Vida e Caffê), and also plans to open a Down South Sandwich Bar.  

Down South Food Bar, 267 Long Street, Cape Town.¬† Tel (021)¬†422-1155.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† www.downsouthfoodbar.com¬†(website under construction).¬†¬† Monday – Saturday, “10am – late”.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com   Twitter: @WhaleCottage