Hotel Highlights

  • Fantastic ocean views and an easy breezy beach vibe
  • Large, stylish rooms with great bathrooms – superb value in the centre of Plett
  • Great food in the buzzy little café bar and stylish decor

Overview

This most boho of beach boltholes is the natural downtime home of the Ibiza regular or Soho House devotee – The Grand Café & Rooms hotel is all about super-stylish shabby chic, capuccinos on the terrace and tasty bistro food. And did we mention spa treatments, great location in the heart of Plett and gorgeous sea views? This little beauty is truly somewhere you can have your cake and eat it…

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking The Grand Café & Rooms with us:

A bottle of Grand sparkling wine in your room, and ZAR300 to spend in the Grand Petit Salon spa

Facilities

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Need To Know

Rooms

Seven, including two suites.

Check–out

11am (but flexible, depending on arrivals). Check-in, from 2pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $116.28 (ZAR1,228), excluding tax at 14 per cent.

More details

Rates include a full English breakfast.

Also

If you’ve set your heart on a sea view, go for one of the top-floor rooms (5,6,7 or 8). Well-behaved dogs are welcome at the Grand.

At the hotel

Pool, terrace, small boutique, treatment room, library, free WiFi. In rooms, flatscreen LCD TVs, DVD/CD player, open fires, large bathrooms, Grand Africa toiletries.

Our favourite rooms

We love all the rooms, most of which have beach and lagoon views and balconies or patios, and all of which have gorgeous oversized beds stacked high with fluffy pillows. If we have to pick favourites, we’ll say Room 6, one of the biggest, with its black velvet sofa, dramatic archway and freestanding bath next to floor-to-ceiling sea-view windows; and the Boadicea Suite, tucked away in a quiet downstairs corner with a private courtyard, big mirrored cabinets and sisal flooring. Of course, if you really want to wow your Mrs Smith, you’ll book the Bath House – it has romantic side-by-side twin bathtubs, and a private courtyard with plunge pool and alfresco shower.

Poolside

The small outdoor pool is perfect for a quick refreshing dip – it’s not quite big enough to get up a lap-swimming head of steam though.

Packing tips

Beachwear: the sandy bays of Plett are a hop, skip and a jump away. Indiana Jones-style explorer gear, for, well, exploring and hiking in Tsitsikamma National Park. Something a bit more glamorous for watching polo at nearby Kurland.

Also

Beauty and massage treatments are available in the Grand’s treatment room: there are facials, manicures, reflexology, massages and body wraps on offer.

Children

This retreat is better suited to adults: under-12s are not allowed, so it's the perfect place for a romantic escape.

Food & Drink

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Hotel Restaurant

The Grand Café is a stylist’s dream come true, artfully cluttered with giant candelabra, vintage copies of Vogue, huge vases of roses and wrought-iron chairs. There’s a bistro menu of refined favourites, such as mussels and chips, fillet steak with Béarnaise sauce and summer-berry pavlova.

Hotel Bar

The Grand Café is licensed so you can enjoy a few cocktails or a glass of wine on the terrace or with your meal from noon: the Grand Marguerites certainly slip down nicely…

Last orders

Breakfast is served 7.30am–11am; last orders for dinner are taken at 10pm.

Room service

A menu of salads, burgers, pastas and fishcakes is available 7.30am–9pm.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Laid-back boho babe: little print dresses with sun-glinting gold jewellery.

Top table

When the weather’s fine, grab a seat at the alfresco trestle table.

Local Guide

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Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Local restaurants

Plett is blessed with plenty of interesting eateries. Try the intimate Nguni Restaurant at 6 Crescent Street (+27 (0)44 533 6710) in front of the White House Theatre, where Eurafrican dishes such as herb-crusted tuna carpaccio with tomato kachumba and smoked kudu with strawberries and mozzarella. Steps from the beach, The Fat Fish (+27 (0)044 533 4740) is a local institution where you can feast on sea-fresh sushi, moreish tapas and zingy seafood on a laid-back veranda.

Local bars

Just outside town, Emily Moon River Lodge (+27 (0)44 533 2982) overlooking the wetlands is great for sundowners, but also has a relaxed, buzzing restaurant, with fabulous food and amazing views.

Local cafés

Less a café and more an ultra-laid-back lunch spot, Cornuti al Mare (+27 (0)44 533 1277) on Perestrello Street is a local institution near Robberg Beach: go for a plate of pasta, pizza, salad or steak, and soak up the fantastic sea views.

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Overlooking Plett lagoon

The Grand Café & Rooms

27 Main Road, Plettenburg Bay, 6600, Garden Route & Winelands

Planes

The airport in George is a 90-minute drive from the hotel. Charter flights to the airport in Plettenberg Bay (15 minutes away) are also possible.

Automobiles

The nearest big city is Port Elizabeth, a two-hour cruise along the N2 from the hotel. There’s free parking.

Reviews

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Anonymous review

By Mr & Mrs Smith.

Dashing through the rain and up stone steps, the vast wooden doors of the Grand Café and Rooms open before us and we are greeted by the warmth from a lively blaze. Our welcome at this boutique hotel includes the snippet that South Africa’s sun-kissed Garden Route is suffering its longest drought in years. ‘Drought?’ we repeat, dripping puddles on the polished concrete f...

Read more

The Grand Café & Rooms

By Mr & Mrs Smith.

Dashing through the rain and up stone steps, the vast wooden doors of the Grand Café and Rooms open before us and we are greeted by the warmth from a lively blaze. Our welcome at this boutique hotel includes the snippet that South Africa’s sun-kissed Garden Route is suffering its longest drought in years. ‘Drought?’ we repeat, dripping puddles on the polished concrete floor.

If clean white lines and a Zen-like minimalism were where we find our happy place, we might have considered turning tail and braving the storm. As it is antiques and gilt mirrors are thankfully more our thing, and where trophy heads and old black-and-white photos jostle for space under the soft glow of numerous candelabra, we can’t get in fast enough. Adding a tinge of vampish charm are vases of blood-red roses throughout. Much is the legacy of the artistic eye of former owner, architect and designer Gail Bahr and the abundance of colours and art tumbles together like the contents of a modish interiors magazine.

With cocktail hour approaching, we hurry to our boudoir to ditch our bags. Its high ceiling, cool grey paint, double-headed open shower and sheltered balcony elicit a nod of approval from a very particular Mr Smith. Meanwhile, the Grand’s signature wrought-iron beds tower so high above the floor that they demand a carefully placed velvet footstool. I point out to Mr Smith that it makes me feel Lilliputian. His particular chuckle suggests it might be my relative stature and not my wit that amuses him. With a glint in his eye he throws himself on the bed and says ‘I’ll bet you a drink I remember the name of the land Gulliver visited where the inhabitants were giants before you…’

Stumped, I propose we adjourn for a stiff G&T on the terrace and warm ourselves in front of another roaring fire. Not your usual activity in a seaside retreat in Africa, and once outside it is instantly apparent that the Grand was built for hot summer days spent lounging round the pool and gazing out over the Indian Ocean. Thankfully the overstuffed couches are just the comfort on a stormy night too, and so it is our evening is planned. Supper, then bed.

A cosy bistro is the Grand Café’s beating heart. Here, Mr Smith’s tempura prawns with wasabi prove delicious and are promptly shared. Following a warming Durban curry, we share a meringue of epic proportions laden with berries and cream. Congratulating ourselves on our sexy rendezvous, we retire for the night.

Mr Smith likes to be open to the elements while he sleeps, so doors and shutters are thrown back, allowing the patter of rain and distant roar of waves to lull us to sleep. I wake at dawn and, while the world around me sleeps, I open a weary eye expecting to retreat back under the duvet. Instead I sit up and stare. The view from our room had been obscured by clouds when we arrived, but now it is unfolding in all its glory. The Outeniqua Mountains that line the immense bay are silhouetted against the palest of yellow skies. The mist-shrouded sea is a silvery blue, blanketed with a gentle mist. The lagoon’s a string of moving gold and silver against the white sand. I’m mesmerised. I wake Mr Smith to celebrate the view with me. His response? ‘Hmmm, yes beautiful. Excellent, the sun is shining. I’m hungry.’

Fortified by the the Grand’s trademark Parisian-style continental breakfast, we hit Main Street. Finding ourselves at the start conveniently avoids any ‘Which direction to head in?’ arguments. (Standing proud at the head of this high street, the almost Moorish profile of this quirky, curvy, crazy building is both arresting and intriguing.) Plettenberg Bay – ‘Plett to the locals’ – has plenty of cute shops, respectable restaurants and reputable galleries, but really its allure is the beaches. Stretching out from the town on either side – miles of dazzling white sand for you to use to lie on, meander along, picnic over, saddle up and gallop across, parachute onto or dive off.

Central Beach is our starting point and Mr Smith whips out his mask and fins while I flop to soak up the sun. We take a long stroll along Robberg, which has been awarded the eco-label of a Blue Flag beach. It is not hard to see why as we sift the soft sand between our toes, dip in and out of the ocean, run from the waves, before realising that although we’ve walked several kilometres, the sand still stretches out in front of us.

Walking back through the town later that evening in search of sustenance, we stumble across a Friday night foodmarket at Market On Main. The buzz of conversation, strings of fairy lights, jazzy tones of live music and the sight of gigantic bowls of fresh local mussels bring our search to an end. Moules frites with homemade mayonnaise is served to us by a Frenchman from Toulouse; they’re the best we’ve ever eaten.

Fingers licked, we wander back to the hotel and clamber into our towering bed. Even Mr Smith, no slip of a thing, is dwarfed by that eccentrically proportioned bed. ‘Brobdinignag,’ he declares. Just as I'm wondering whether the sun and then shellfish overload is having a strange effect on him, he smiles. ‘That was the second land Gulliver visited, the one where he felt dwarfed. Now run along and get me that gin and tonic. And make it a large.’

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