Last week I was spoilt with a two day stay at 185 on Beach, a four star guest house as well as self-catering accommodation establishment located on Beach Road in Gordon’s Bay, a few steps from the town’s famous Bikini Beach.
What was intended as an Instagram training trade exchange became two days of spoiling by owners Richard and Jeanette Loring, and added to my portfolio of sunset photographs, given the fantastic location of 185 on Beach.
I received a call from the vivacious Jeanette Loring, praising me for my Camps Bay photographs, and requested assistance with her Guest House Instagram photographs. The arrangement was that I should come to stay at 185 on Beach and assist Jeanette with her Instagramming. Having experienced a tough July, it was just what the doctor had ordered, so I accepted with gratitude. We had not met previously, but I did meet her famous entertainer husband Richard when he co-owned Richard’s Supper Stage & Bistro in Sea Point nine years ago.
It was a 90 minute drive to Gordon’s Bay, leaving Cape Town in peak afternoon traffic. Despite using Google Maps I struggled initially to find the section of Beach Road, running through all of Gordon’s Bay, to find the cul de sac section of the road on which the guest house is located. Jeanette came to greet me at the door, and showed me to an enclosed parking garage in which I could park my car. She showed me to the Wavecrest bedroom, one of seven in the guest house, on the second floor, with an excellent seaview. She opened a bottle of pink bubbly, and we went to sit on the downstairs guest terrace, just catching the sunset in time. I was relieved that there was no check-in paperwork to complete.
My room had a king size bed, with every self-catering facility one could need, including a full-size fridge, a two plate stove, a kettle, and a toaster, I only using the fridge. Cupboards stored crockery, cutlery, and more. The lighting in the room was fantastic, with numerous downlighters, and a further set of three directly above the pillows of the bed, which was perfect for writing in bed. The best was the electric blanket, which Jeanette switched on to pre-warm the bed. Another very practical feature was a two prong plug right next to the bed, so that I could charge my cellphone, and place it on a tiny shelf next to the bed. The bathroom offered two facecloths, my best, numerous bath towels, bathroom amenities, and a seat in the shower. As a former guest house owner, I could see that Jeanette had thought of everything in the design of the house and its interior.
Jeanette had told me that no restaurant is open in Gordon’s Bay on a Tuesday evening, so I had brought a Woolies sandwich and some cheese with me. However, Zest restaurant was open after all, and Richard drove us to it. I was interested to see Zest, having Zest Restaurant in the newkings boutique hotel in Sea Point as a Communications client, the two restaurants being unrelated. Richard spoke about his shows, and ‘African Footprint’ in particular, working on a very large international deal. Alongside that he is busy writing his autobiography, tracing his early beginnings in Guernsey, to landing in Cape Town, after a very successful international show business career when he was based in Johannesburg. I ordered the last portion of beer-battered hake, a generous portion, preceded by mushroom and leek croquettes, and concluded by a chocolate fondant and ice cream dessert.
On our return Jeanette did the only paperwork with me, requesting my breakfast order for the following morning. Every possible breakfast treat was listed and could be selected. I could also choose a breakfast time, not being forced into a time band. My first night’s sleep was to the lullaby of the rolling waves outside, not even having to open the door to hear the ocean. The electric-blanket-warmed and very comfortable bed and pillows made me fall asleep immediately. What a treat it was to hear no noise in the building, as I have to endure in my apartment building all the time.
I worked in the comfortable ‘Bed Office’, to not neglect my clients despite my break. At 10h00 sharp the breakfast tray arrived, and was set up outside on the terrace, with a view over the ocean and partially the Yacht Harbour. It was a proverbial feast : freshly squeezed orange juice, a ‘small’ (anything but) glass of Müsli, yoghurt and fruit, with additional nuts and dried cranberries on the side. A selection of jams, butter, and grated cheese was beautifully presented. A linen and lace napkin with a serviette ring added a touch of class. I was served a big pot of Earl Grey tea. There was toast. And the final cherry was a chive-scrambled egg and bacon, arriving covered in a cloche, an absolute treat. Jeanette came to join me for a while, to plan our day ahead.
By midday my work was done, and I presented myself to Jeanette for a walk, with gloves for litter cleaning along the way. We walked along Beach Road, Jeanette highlighting interesting facts and information along the way. Bikini Beach brought back many university memories, it being the most popular beach for us Stellenbosch students. We went into the Yacht Harbour, and entered the Yacht Club Building. We walked through the Milkwood Forest Path near the main beach. We went inside the largest bookshop I have ever seen, stocking second-hand books in many rooms, on tables marked by letters of the alphabet. They could not tell me how books they have. One cannot miss the building, with a Mercedes Benz on the roof. We found an ice cream parlour, and spoilt ourselves with a very tasty ice cream cone. We saw a marine mural on the side of Trawlers restaurant. We found a jewelry shop, and I spoilt myself with pearl earrings, celebrating a windfall. We popped in at the Gordon’s Bay Tourism Office, a community initiative, headed up by a very energetic Manager Juanita. While most of the Gordon’s Bay Beachfront is dated in its architecture and decor, two historic buildings stand out, the Post Office and Police station set back a little. The Waffle was the most modern in its interior design of all the buildings we saw, a 2021 design. Off the Beach Road are supermarkets, including a Woolworths, but we did not see them. It was a very good way to exceed 10000 steps for the day.
Jeanette recommended De Brasserie in Strand for dinner. It used to be a favourite for non-fine dining in the Somerset West area, with a great location on the Strand Beachfront. I was shocked to hear that owner Joop van Almenkerk had passed away earlier this year. The restaurant is now run by his daughter, but she was not there. We chose a Winter Special, of three courses and a bottle of Almenkerk Red Blend Lace to share, at R295. Jeanette and I shared our starters of cheese croquettes and liver parfait, she had steak and I had hake, she had Crème Brûlèe and I had a Nougat Glacé. The portions were generous, but I was unhappy with an arrogant waiter serving us.
The next morning was a rushed breakfast of tea and Müsli, to face the reality of three client meetings back in Cape Town, after a tea with Fancy Franks GM Duncan Bruce in Somerset West, whom I had met at Hartford House many moons ago.
It was a busy break away, but the change in scenery, the good and generous looking after by Jeanette, and the rediscovery of Gordon’s Bay recharged my batteries.
185 on Beach, 185 Beach Road, Gordon’s Bay. Tel 083 625 1905 www.185onbeach.co.za Instagram: @185onbeach
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.whaletalesblog.com www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein, My Cape Town Guide/Mein Kapstadt Guide Instagram: @Chrissy_Ulmenstein @MyCapeTownGuide