My partner and I recently redeemed a voucher for a two-night complementary stay at the Eight Bells Mountain Inn in the picturisque area between Mossel Bay and Oudtshoorn on the Garden Route in the Western Cape, South Africa. The owners of the hotel sponsored the voucher as part of a fundraiser for a national charity, Reach for A Dream.
The reception was not only friendly and efficient, but we were escourted to our wooden room on stilts with arguably the best view in the resort. Our outside deck overlooked the green forest clad mountains in the distance, valleys below and a horse paddock in the distance to the right. In keeping with the rustic vibe, the room with en suite bathroom was welcoming and comfortable with underfloor heating, air conditioner and satellite TV.
As we arrived late afternoon we only had time to unpack and enjoy a sundowner on our deck before we moved to the dining room of the hotel. The restaurant came alive at night with a distinctive stylish atmosphere, a more than adequate menu and good wine list. The service during dinner was impeccable with the staff friendly, professional, always at hand, but never intrusive. I bravely declared that the special dish of the day, roast chicken, was the best I've tasted in a long while.
For the rest of our stay, the service exceeded our expectations. We both agreed that the staff could easily put dust in the eyes of the staff at many of the 5-star hotels we visited before. What rounded the service off the best was the fact that it was sincere, unpretentious with a genuine interest in our experiences at the hotel and general well-being.
The food continued to impress as well; good quality country home cooking with a contemporary edge to it. We should have known that the food would be good; the friendly, loving and well-rounded resident cats bear testimony to the quality of the catering. We enjoyed breakfast and lunch in the shade of a 250 year-old oak tree on the outer border of the beautifully maintained garden which exudes peace and tranquility.
We even braved the professionally designed hiking trails in the 44 ha's of the estate and had a exhilirating two hour walk which rewarded us with exquisite views of the surrounding valleys and even Mossel Bay Harbour on the horizon.
During lunch the owner of the resort made a special effort to welcome us and gave us a very interesting run-down of the history of the resort which opened its doors in 1802 as a resting place for sailors from Europe who anchored ship in the Mossel Bay Harbour on the route to the East. The original rooms now accommodate the billiard room with a very stylishly appointed lounge next door, complete with a fireplace for the colder winter months.
The resort is ideally located as a base from where you can take day trips to nearby destinations such as Mossel Bay, Oudtshoorn, George and Knysna.
Eight Bells really impressed; we are already planning our next trip and have started to canvas our friends to share the experience with us as one does when you happen upon such a charming find.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Situated in South Africa’s picturesque Garden Route, Eight Bells Mountain Inn nestles in the Ruiterbos Valley Region at the foot of the Robinson Pass on the R328 between Mossel Bay (35km) and Oudtshoorn (50km). Renowned for its friendly hospitality, superb service and range of recreational facilities amidst magnificent mountain scenery.Facilities include swimming pool, tennis courts, squash, bowls, billiards, children’s play park and playroom, horse riding, walking trails, birding, on the 400-acre estate.Free wifi in all public areas and rooms. ... more less
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