Just when I think I know South Africa well, I accidentally stumble across a really incredible place that leaves me feeling like I have arrived at some remote destination on the other side of the world. Little did I know that we have a oceanside establishment along the South Coast with a private balcony that boasts endless panoramic sunset views of the Indian ocean. This past week I spent a night at the Days at Sea Beach Lodge in Trafalgar that holds a 5 star rating and leaves you feeling like you are on your own little piece of sub tropical paradise. No surprise why the owners decided on this exact spot to open this exclusive intimate hotel.
A little over 90 minutes drive from Durban to Trafalgar you will find this refuge for nature lovers and fine dining enthusiasts alike. With a rating of 9,2 on Bookings.com, a certificate of excellence from Trip Advisor and a cliental made up of mainly international guests you know you are in for a real treat.
Guido SchoeldgenGerman artist and photographer and his fashion designer wife Annette spent two years creating this space that brings art, elite lifestyle living and tranquility all together. What was once a traditional fishing house, has now been converted into this haven that boasts artistic charm, clear-cut lines, refreshing art pieces and sculptures.
Guido eagerly shares with me how he decided on the name - Days at Sea. It was an indicative of good luck and fortune for him in 1970, after placing a bet of 20 german marks on a race horse that was a complete outsider, he won four hundred marks after this horse went on to win the "Grosser Preis von Koeln.
As mentioned before in a few other blog posts, I prefer to spend the night in a guest house over a hotel because of my deep seeded love for intimate private spaces, and a hands on hospitable experience. I want to feel like sense of belonging and a connection to the place. Days at Sea, offers just that but with a 5 star luxury treatment and a reputation as being one of the top 100 most beautiful hideaways hotels in all of the world.
I arrived a little after 4pm, and was greeted by our host Quinten. Little did I know at the time that he was the person that runs the entire place, and was also the resident chef. The outside of the property is deceiving, and when the main gates were opened I was greeted by views of the ocean, friendly faces and a descending stair case leading me to the different levels of the property. I was escorted to the reception area where I received a welcome drink, while the porters carried my bags to my room. The check in process was effortless, and Quinten discussed my dietary requirements and set menu for the evening. I have to be honest here, I don't remember much of what he said; I got caught in a day dream, whilst staring through the big glass windows that framed the expansive seascape perfectly.
After taking a tour of the property, I entered my room, surprised by the ambience brought forward by the music playing in the background. Light filtered through the windows and doors poetically across every surface.
This is what dreams are made off. This is a place where you forget about your real life, and just sit back at relax.
Lifestyle has a smile
There are 6 suites in total, each unique in design and individually decorated with an artist flair, and in different hues of aqua blue. Each suite is named in Zulu after an indigenous animal, has a king sized bed, a flat screen TV, airconditioning and underfloor heating, a mini bar, a highfi with a selection of some of the owners favourite classical melodies, and my favourite - a complimentary Nespresso coffee machine with a wide selection of flavours. Every piece of furniture has been carefully selected and all carries a story behind them. Most pieces come from a corner of the world that the owners have visited.
The suites are romantic, and I couldn't help but think that this is the perfect place to honeymoon.
I stayed in the INKAWU suite, which got its name from the monkeys that grace the tropical gardens with their presence. With a 60m2 floor space, I was assured of ample space to unwind in. The decor was timeless, and as Guido likes to refer to this one as a mix of the sixties in watercolours. Guido's mermaid paintings adorn the wall while music softly plays in the background competing with the sound of the crashing waves. Colourful artworks hang above the kind size bed, and the aqua blue curtains (which I am not to sure why I decided to feel, was absolutely amazing! Weird I know) softly blow in the wind. The sun rays illuminates an infinity pool that over looks the sandy shores, through lush green palm trees. A sense of elegance lingers here, and all senses are stimulated.
An acquaintance's parents just so happen to be staying there the same time I was there. It was their 5 visit. They where staying in my favourite suite, INYONI which is translated from Zulu to bird and can be best described as “sexy bohemian”. It gives you the idea of everything in front of you is floating, from the incredible day bed to the koi hand wash basins. They have given attention to every finite detail and little bits of art pieces can be found around every corner.
I entered the dinning room, which felt like I had stepped into Miami with an open air ceiling, concert images projected onto the wall, an illumined water feature and music ranging from Pavarotti to Café Del Mar.
They are famed for their 5 star fusion cuisine which is a combination of Italy and France with a dash of Asia.
Breakfast was simple but delicious.
Unwind in Nature
The tropical gardens are lush green and my absolute favourite part of the hotel. They have white floating gazebos that over look the Indian Ocean where you can order cocktails and a range of tapas meals. Its the perfect spot to take in the sunset.
The pathway to the beach leads you to a secluded spa surrounded by indigenous plants. You can easily miss this by passing by. Here you can unwind completely by enjoying in a full body massage or hot stone treatment on the private deck. The treatments are well priced ranging from R350 to R850.
After your massage make your way to their private beach that can be assessed by passing through two password protected gates.
Art, Wine, Conference
On the premises you will find an impressive wine cellar that has received platinum status and British airways graded them 9/10 for their wide selection of South African and International wines. Much of the art around the property are that of Guido's - sensual masterpieces of ‘paintography’, that are instantly recognisable and innovative.
Other artworks include those by Philippe Starck, Rolf Benz, Gordon Rattey, Christo, Eva Ohlow and Christopher Lorenz. Most of these collectables are for sale in the art gallery that can be found next to the wine cellar.
This space also has a small conference area that is fit for business meetings.
Its an all rounded place and offers so much more than a luxury lifestyle, it is food for the soul and the perfect place to rejuvenate in, temporary forgetting about the world around you.
Get in Touch
Here's the address to incase you wanted to map out your route: 39 Effingham Parade, Trafalgar, Southbroom, 4275
Just a note: If you are planning on traveling there during the winter months, you will have an opportunity to meet with the owners. Guido and Annette escape the cold Cape Town winters to enjoy the all year round warm weather in Trafalgar at their little piece of paradise.