Next time you are visiting Cape Town and want to get out of the city for a weekend, pick up a rental car at Cape Town airport and head east on the N2 towards Hermanus and the Arabella Hotel and Spa, our very favourite place to stop and stay for a weekend (or longer — how about a honeymoon after your wedding in Cape Town?). This place is an absolute gem, combining fabulous accommodation and food with a most picturesque setting on the lagoon and surrounded by a top-class golf course. The really excellent Spa is the cherry on the top. It is just an hours’ drive from Cape Town, between Kleinmond and Betty’s Bay. The rooms at the Arabella all overlook either the golf course and lagoon or the poolside gardens and waterfall; spoil yourself and book a suite if you can…really lovely!
The Spa offers all kinds of treatments and massages and you should really try their signature “African Rain Forest Experience” – 2 hours of bliss as you move from one water and steam treatment to the next! Even if you do not have a treatment, all hotel guests can use the Spa facilities – Sauna, steam room, indoor heated hydro-pool and the outdoor lap pool at no extra charge.
It is a great place to relax and a great refuge on a rainy weekend. The golf course is brilliant and enjoyable for golfers of all levels.
The hotel has two restaurants; we have only eaten at the more informal place which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with themed supper buffets (excellent!) on the weekends; there is also a fine-dining option.
Places to visit nearby:
If you can tear yourself away from the Golf, Spa and pool, take a drive along the coastal road to Betty’s Bay. This is a very scenic drive and you can visit the Stony Point Penguin colony while you are there to observe the antics of these very comical little sea birds. While you are in the vicinity, do visit the Harold Potter Botanical garden where you can see hundreds of species of indigenous Fynbos in their natural environment. Also be sure to visit John the Potters’ studio and gallery to buy some lovely pottery to take home.
In the opposite direction from Betty’s Bay is Hermanus, one of the best places in the world for land-based whale watching. This is where the Southern Right whales come to mate and calve each year and you can be almost sure to see some of these majestic giants of the ocean if you come in Winter – July to November. Hermanus also has dozens of good restaurants.
There are several excellent wine producing estates in the Hermanus and Bot River area and you could visit a few for tasting and buying; try Hemel en Aarde, (Heaven and Earth), Hamilton Russell, Bouchard Finlayson and Newton Johnson, to name just a few. Arabella offers great winter specials to entice hibernating locals out of their burrows! This is when we like to visit as you pay about half the regular rate and just about have the place to yourself; and if it does rain we just put away the golf clubs and languish in the Spa!