Monday, April 14, 2014

A luxurious overnight at Angala

We try to go away into our magnificent country areas as often as we can, as the Cape has so much bounty to offer. We stay at really lovely places, but sometimes we go to somewhere so perfect, so beautiful and so peaceful that we never want to leave. Our life is not geared to a pursuit of luxury, but natural beauty and experience are what we love. When we were married, Lynne said to John she didn’t need a 5 star life, just no camping (she is an ex girl guide and back packed around Europe a lot so camping days are done), but our own bedroom and a bathroom in a clean and neat place would be fine. We love being able to sit outside when we are in the country and not confined to a room and we love observing nature. Last week, we were invited to Angala, a superb boutique hotel nestled under the beautiful Drakenstein mountains near Franschhoek and, when we arrived, we found one of those places. This place works seamlessly, guests' every wish or whim is catered for, before they think of it. We absolutely loved our stay and so recommend it to you
The simple reception entrance belies what lies inside. How did it get the name and what does it mean? To quote them: “The birth of Angala. Angala refers to the time eons ago when earth was first being formed. It was a period during which the Divine was gathering the energy to create our planet. In the Divine mind, there was the thought of Earth and the protection of the Angels to hold it safe...”
On the path looking at the cottages below the restaurant and main rooms
The walkway to our cottage
The front door, with baskets of wood for the wood-burning stove. We didn't need it, the weather was beautifully warm
Everything in nice muted shades of grey, beige and mustard
The lounge area, with the most enormous bed behind it
Our own private terrace and garden area, which leads down to a splashy fountain full of birds and lots of trees
A large bathroom, with a huge shower for John and an enormous bath for Lynne
No wait, even better, an outside shower, completely private and not overlooked, but with a view of the garden and the bird life
Lots of birds in the fountain, white-eyes and some with red rumps, which we didn’t recognise
Who is watching whom? A beautiful olive thrush
A Cape weaver trills as he bathes
The gardens are beautifully planted. This is the main building
They have an eco swimming pool, completely self sustainable and natural, cleaned by reed beds. With lots of relaxing space around it.
Dinner can be had inside ...
...or outside on the terrace. The weather was so perfect that all the guests chose to eat outside
The dinner menu, good value at R275 for 3 courses
We thought a bottle of David Finlayson’s award winning shiraz blend, The Pepper Pot, would go perfectly with the choices we had made - it did
A surprise amuse sent to us by the chef - a small portion of beef tartare
We both chose the Duck starter and it was delicious, with duck done three ways, a parfait, smoked breast and a spring roll. The chutney was a great counterpoint
Lynne chose the seared tuna on a Ni├žoise salad as her main. Fresh and delicious
John went for the beef fillet with Lyonnaise potatoes and a very good red wine jus
The tuna with topping removed to show how it was seared, as requested - only just!
Diet out of the window. We both had the apple almond tart. A really good rich dessert served with good coffee
We met the talented chef Marlin Clayton, who is a local lad, trained by some of the best chefs we know
The bar area at night
The library area and some indoor tables
Lovely light for breakfast on another perfect late summer day
The bar and library dressed for morning
Juices, muffins ,croissants, fresh fruit and many other lovely selections from the breakfast buffet
It’s informal, so help yourself to whatever you desire. OK, not the J&B or gin... Those come at a cost
Children testing the water and the wildlife
Lynne’s English breakfast with her request for just one egg
John chose the cheese and bacon omelette
No detail had been forgotten in our room. Some beautiful old roses on our table and some wicked jelly beans
The bar fridge contains everything you might want and everything is complimentary. The coffee machine gives you a huge selection of different pods and there was also a good selection of teas
General Manager Ann Morley with Aubrey Blignaut, the brother-in-law of the owners Peter & Tisha Cunliffe. He also works at Angala. Ann is the previous owner - Angala was her ‘baby’ and she has stayed on to manage it - expertly
Our good friend Tammy the tiger cat. She is affectionate, a great addition to the property and kept us very amused
An enormous hawk moth, slightly battle scarred, gracing a wall
The beautiful view across the valley as we headed off to lunch at Allesverloren in Riebeek West. The pollution fog, sadly, is from wheat stubble burning in the Swartland, which reached all this way
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© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2014
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