Travelling Mystery Guest’s Favourite Coffee Shops

Given the nature of our business, we all obviously love coffee shops and restaurants. Travelling Mystery Guest consulted our mystery guests to compile our top 5 favourite coffee shops. We encourage you to visit these lovely places to see for yourself why we love them.

  1. Exclusive Books Hyde Park Corner

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Being a book lover and an old fashioned millennial, this shop offers something special. The book section is surrounded by a coffee shop and in between the shelves there are old couches where people can sit and read. You can buy a book and go and read it whilst enjoying some coffee. It’s a gathering of bookworms and the vibe is very welcoming to anyone who, like our mystery guest, is a book fanatic.

2. Afroboer 

This coffee shop is popular due to various factors; their quality coffee, the delicious cakes and fresh pastries. Our mystery guest especially loves the décor.  The inside of this restaurant is lovely, with high ceilings and wooden floors that creates a beautiful space. Afroboers location is also quite central, making it accessible for all their customers! Be sure to visit this place for a true African-Boer experience!

3. Woolworths at Menlyn Maine  

teapot-598122_1920Though we all are quite accustomed to Woolworths stores, our mystery guest enjoys this particular branch because of their wide variety of teas and their delicious white hot chocolate. Woolworths also has very nice food. Menlyn Maine is still a relatively new shopping centre with a lot of nice shops attracting customers, thus Woolworths is located in the ideal setting.

 

 

 

 

4. Pltfrm at the Pretoria Gautrain Station

This cute little coffee shop is located in Pretoria Central Business District near the Gautrain station. The layout looks very cozy and it’s a café type coffee shop. Pltfrm’s has a lot to offer, including craft beer, wifi, outdoor seating and live entertainment. This café has a rustic look and is perfect for delicious coffee and some yummy food before jumping on the Gautrain. Our other mystery guests are surely going to visit this restuarant!

5. Aroma Coffee in Lynnwood

Aroma

Image credit: www.aromacoffee.co.za

Most students and people living in the Brooklyn and Hatfield areas will be familiar with this coffee shop. Together with its adjacent attraction, the Aroma Gelato store, a dynamic duo is created. With the small street-like café vibe, it’s really cozy and the coffee is delicious. One will definitely be craving ice cream when leaving there, so why not pop in next door and grab a sugar cone! This place is very well suited for a casual gathering of a small group of friends.

Written by: Alicia Redelinghuys

 

British Airways boosts seats to Lagos

Refurbished Boeing 747s offer more seats, lie-flat beds, state-of-the art inflight entertainment, enhanced interiors.

British Airways is increasing the number of seats to Nigeria, introducing its newly refurbished Boeing 747-400s to Lagos from September.

The aircraft are larger than the Boeing 777s which the airline currently operates and will add an extra 343 seats a week on the busy route between London and Nigeria’s commercial capital.

As well as a refreshed interior, with the look and feel of British Airways newest aircraft, and state-of-the-art entertainment system, the revamped 747s also have a larger Club World cabin, with 16 more lie-flat beds.

British Airways

The refurbished jumbos are already in service on routes including New York, Chicago, Johannesburg, Dubai, Boston, Riyadh, Kuwait, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto and Washington DC.

Kola Olayinka, British Airways commercial manager in Nigeria, says: “We know customers who fly in these aircraft appreciate the improved interiors, with their mood lighting, updated  seating and the new entertainment system.”

The aircraft are equipped with Panasonic’s next-generation eX3 entertainment system, which will give customers a choice of over 1,300 hours of entertainment, including more than 130 movies and 400 TV programmes on larger, high-resolution screens, with touch and swipe functionality, giving the system the familiar feel of using a tablet.

As part of the upgrade, customers in World Traveller Plus will now have access to a universal power socket at every seat, capable of accepting plugs from the UK, US and Europe. In addition, World Traveller customers will have their own USB sockets to power phones and tablets.

New seat foams have been installed in World Traveller and World Traveller Plus to increase customer comfort and updated seat covers fitted to match those on the A380 and 787.

Seats on the new Boeing 747 service are on sale from 19 July 2017. The flight numbers and schedule will remain the same with BA75 departing Heathrow at 11:30 and landing in Lagos at 17:55. The return service operates as BA74, leaving Lagos at 22:55 and arriving at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 at 05:25 the following morning.

British Airways has also launched its multi-million pound investment plan to benefit its customers with a focus on excellence in the premium cabins and more choice and quality for all.

Four hundred million pounds will be spent on Club World with an emphasis on improved catering and sleep, and a new seat in the future. At Heathrow a First Wing check-in area with direct security and lounge access has launched, and lounges around the airline’s network are to be revamped and improved. The Club Europe cabin has also been introduced on UK domestic services and all customers can look forward to the latest generation Wi-Fi across British Airways’ long-haul and short-haul fleets over the next two years.

TMG’s top 5 travel boots!

Travelling can be hard on your feet, especially considering the activities some tourists are interested in. Travelling Mystery Guest has done some online window shopping and we have chosen our top 5 favourite and fashionable boots for men and women! They are available from Poetry, Old Khaki, Cape Union Mart, Due South and Outdoor Warehouse.

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  1. Women

Caitlyn boots

Caitlyn Boots , Poetry R1499

Rare earth dana boots

Rare earth Dana Boots , Poetry R1399

Rare earth kath boot

Rare earth Kath Boots , Poetry R999

Caterpillar irenea boot

Caterpillar Irenea Boots ,  Poetry R1499

Caterpillar Lillian leather boot

Caterpillar Lillian Leather Ankle Boot , Due South R1999

2. Men

Caterpillar oatman boots

Caterpillar Oatman Boots , Cape Union Mart R1499

Caterpillar grayson

Caterpillar Grayson Boots , Outdoor Warehouse R1850

Arthur jack corbin boots

Arthur Jack Corbin Shoe , Cape Union Mart R1399

Arthur jack ronan boots

Arthur Jack Ronan Boots , Old Khaki R1399

Hi tech Men's altitude V Waterproof boot

Hi-tec Men’s Altitude V Waterproof Boots , Outdoor Warehouse R1895

Written by: Alicia Redelinghuys 

Put big snores, pummelled curries and licked folds on your UK bucket-list

The UK offers many attractions for all tastes, but a look at a map of the island shows some pretty unusual and intriguing place-names. Sue Petrie, British Airways’ Commercial Manager for Southern Africa, offers the following selection of oddities, along with clues as to how the names came about, and diversions and attractions nearby.

Travellers take selfies in front of signposts for Pratt’s Bottom (the London borough of Bromley), Bell End and Minge Lane (Worcestershire), Brown Willy (Cornwall), Boggy Bottom (Hertfordshire) Twatt (Orkney), Nob End (South Lancashire), Fanny Barks (Durham) and Scratchy Bottom (Dorset).

But, Petrie suggests starting with the capital, which has a population of around 8,6m people. London has a world-renowned public-transport system to move everyone around, and visitors can get access to all its modes of transport with an Oyster Visitor smartcard.

London Tower Bridge

One of the easiest ways to commute around London is by Tube, the underground railway system, which is a massive, busy and efficient artery running through the city. It’s an excellent way to access the capital’s many wonders and find places with some pretty bizarre names.

Monikers that have teenage boys nudging each other and sniggering include Mudchute, Cockfosters, St John’s Wood, Lickfold and Shepherd’s Bush.

Origins? Cockfosters seems simple enough: it was named for the chief (cock) forester, later shortened to “foster”.

Nearby, at the former Hendon Aerodrome, is the Royal Air Force Museum. As you’d expect, there are plenty of aircraft on exhibit, along with modern, interactive displays. A bonus is the flight simulator, which offers a variety of exhilarating rides, including aerobatics with the Red Arrows team and an air-race from the pioneering 1930s. The museum has a small restaurant, but if you fancy something more substantial, Skewd Kitchen offers Mediterranean and Turkish food and has had good reviews.

Goodge Street, in Fitzrovia, Soho, sounds like slang for something saucy, and it’s also two minutes’ walk from the Salt Yard, a tapas-style eatery that also offers charcuterie and cheeseboards. Its expansively-named Hot Smoked Gloucester Old Spot Pork Belly with Smoked Apple and Cider Glaze has helped it score four stars on TripAdvisor.

Golders Green is pretty straightforward: it was the surname of a local landowner and the “green” simply refers to the open land on which housing was later built. Golders Road was the site of the Lido Picture House, a cinema beloved by locals and known for a bit of unintended humour in 1988. One night a high wind blew the ‘t’ off the sign advertising the screening of the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, much to the mirth of the area’s predominantly Jewish population.

Some visitors and locals joke that another Green – Turnham Green this time – is the ideal place to meet environmentally friendly people (greenies). It’s also where you’ll the find Sipsmith Distillery, which has been making London gin since 1820. Nearby is the Fuller’s Griffin Brewery, reputed to be the last family-run brewery in London, operating since 1828. Both venues offer tours and tipples.

Curry Mallet is in picturesque, rural Somerset, so not on the London Tube-line. The name has nothing to do with tenderising ingredients for a korma though, as any of its 300-odd residents will explain.  The tiny village’s history is intertwined with events that shaped Britain, like the Magna Carta and the Battle of Hastings and it was mentioned in the Domesday Book (essentially the first survey of land and population in Britain) in 1086. The area also has plenty of Roman history.

Also noted in the Domesday Book was the North Norfolk village of Great Snoring, slightly larger than its neighbour, Little Snoring. Both are small, but neither are particularly sleepy.

No Man’s Land Fort looks like the lair of a Bond super-villain, but it’s also a luxury hotel. It juts out of the sea just off the Isle of Wight, near Portsmouth, like a concrete-and-steel cupcake that belies the opulence within. It was built 150 years ago in response to the threat of invasion by the forces of Napoleon III. Being stationed there at the time, and in the conflicts that followed, was pretty grim and the garrison was selected on the basis of being unable to swim to freedom. Now a luxury hotel and spa, its most sought-after accommodation is the lighthouse suite, with 360-degree views over the Solent.

UK Taxi

One way to help decipher some of the UK’s names, is to understand their origins in the languages of yore. For example, a “chester” or a “caster” was a fortified Roman camp, hence Manchester, Doncaster, Gloucester and so on.

“Mouth” refers to a river-mouth: Cockermouth in Cumbria is so named because it’s where the Cocker River flows into the Derwent River. Not only does the area offer splendid views for hikers and road-trippers, but Wild Zucchinis Bistro gets 4.5 stars on TripAdvisor for its crispy duck wrap and other fare.

“Beck” also refers to a river, hence Troutbeck, Holbeck, Beckinsale and the delightfully named Tooting Bec. “Aber” in the prefix to a place-name refers to a river-mouth, hence Aberdeen, Aberystwyth, Aberdyfi and so on. Aberfeldy is a small town in the Perthshire Highlands of Scotland, so scenic that the Scottish nation’s national poet, Robert Burns, wrote a poem about it. You can hike through a forest – the Berks of Aberfeldy – to a bridge directly over the Falls of Moness.

On your return to the village, you can reward yourself for braving the great outdoors by visiting the Dewar’s Distillery, which offers tours, interactive multimedia exhibitions on whisky, and of course, tastings galore.

British Airways flies to the UK from South Africa daily.

British Airways

Would you like some tea?

Everyone has a preferred hot drink. Whether it’s strong espresso, sweet Milo, malty Horlicks or the classic cappuccino, with the weather forcing us under a blanket, Travelling Mystery Guest wanted to take a look at what interesting and relaxing teas there are. Some teas have beautiful colours and it might just help to brighten up the grey mood accompanying winter.tea-1132529_19201. Hibiscus Tea

Hibiscus

This tea has a crimson or deep magenta colour. It almost looks like some sort of soda, except it’s much healthier. Some of the health benefits of Hibiscus tea include lowering high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It also assists with digestive system problems and strengthening your immune system. When dieting, this tea can help to speed up your metabolism to help you lose weight faster. It is also rich in vitamin C, which aids in wound healing and dental gum health. You can drink this tea hot or cold and some sugar or honey can be added to sweeten it up.

 

 

 

2. Black Tea

Black tea

Black tea usually has a more intense flavour than other teas like green tea. This is because black tea is more oxidised.  Black tea is already a very popular tea because of its various health benefits. It is said to help with digestive problems, low concentration levels and poor blood circulation. The colour of the tea itself is not actually black, which one would expect given the name, but the oxidised leaves are, in fact, black. The tea has a dark reddish colour and in China, this tea is actually referred to as “red tea”.

3. Earl Grey Tea

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Most people are familiar with this Earl Grey tea and personally, it is one of my favourites.

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Bergamot

This tea is flavoured with the oil of bergamot, which is found in the bergamot orange peel. This gives the tea its orange-blossom-like aroma. This tea also has an unexpected beauty hack – bergamot is one of the products that promote hair growth, so for anyone who is a fan of tea and who desires long and luscious hair, why not drink some Earl Grey?

4. White tea

white teaThis tea’s leaves are minimally processed (from the Camellia sinensis plant). Its name originates from the fact that there are fine white hairs on the unopened buds of the tea plant, and this gives the plant a whitish appearance. As with the other teas, white tea also has a few health benefits. These include antioxidant properties, anti-aging properties and white tea can also aid in preventing excessive thirst among people with diabetes.

 

5. Blue tea

blue-tea

Being more of a coffee drinker myself, I was quite intrigued to learn that there is a bright

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Butterfly pea blossom 

blue coloured tea out there. The tea gets its blue colour due to the presence of blue flowers often blended with white or black teas. Of course, the more flower petals in the tea, the brighter the colour (which can range from light yellow to deep blue). The most common flower used is the butterfly pea blossom. If ever given the opportunity, I will definitely try this one!

 

Are you offering what your clients are actually looking for?

As a business owner or manager in any hospitality type establishment, you have perceptions as to what your customers want. Your establishment can actually be doing very well but there are still some factors that could influence your effectiveness and this is something you have no control over. Travelling Mystery Guest takes a look at what can influence your company and how to handle them.office-1209640_1920

Travelling Mystery Guest recently attended Urban Econ’s Tourism Talk, where Karen Kohler was the guest speaker. She had interesting information regarding where to find statistical updates about Tourism. Some of these databases include:

To know the statistics of tourism in the area you live in can help you determine the successful and unsuccessful time frames for your business and businesses similar to yours. More importantly, one should determine why the statistics are the way they are, what influenced them and how to prevent or repeat this. It is always important to take general news into consideration with your own business. Factors like illnesses in your country can have a big effect on your international visitor ratesworld-1264062_1920

Another interesting thing to keep in mind is the perceptions that people have about your location. It might be wise to do research about all the negative images tourists might be seeing about your city. For example, a company has a conference each year in another country and the company pays all the travel costs for participating employees. In the year when they went to Australia, everyone was very keen on going because of the high amount of South-African people who have visited or immigrated to Australia, the continent had a positive image. But the in the year they had the conference in India, many employees didn’t want to go (even with all expenses paid) because of the image that India has. This personal perception could have been created by movies such as Slum dog Millionaire.  So always keep in mind what perceptions are created by any stimuli.

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Lastly, something that all employees in the hospitality industry are familiar with is trends. Now, we might be familiar with the concept of a trend, but do we really know what the trends are? It may feel like trends just pop up out of nowhere and when observing social media, it also sometimes seems as if trends disappear as quickly as they appeared. A trend can be very tricky to incorporate into your business, considering their time frames. A good example of this was the banting diet in South-Africa. Every restaurant and shop started to incorporate banting items into their menus but soon there were a lot of debates about the health benefits of this diet. So when incorporating a trend into your business, never make it the entire focus point of your business but rather a feature that you offer.

Trends can really have an impact on your business. For interest sake, some of the trends to look in to is virtual travelling and voluntourism. Also, take a look at one of our previous blog posts about Travel Trends in 2017. 

Written by: Alicia Redelinghuys

A Whale of a Trail Run at De Hoop

This is trail running at its best!  

The Whale of a Trail Run at De Hoop, along the Southern Cape coast, takes place this year on Saturday 29 July 2017.

De hoop - Koppie Alleen beach (Custom)

Koppie Alleen Beach 

A mere three hour’s drive from Cape Town along the Southern Cape coast, close to Cape Agulhas, the route takes runners on a 53km journey from the Potberg mountains to Koppie Alleen in the De Hoop Nature Reserve. The first 26km winds through fynbos-covered mountains with spectacular views of the Breede River Valley and then descends to the enchanting Noetsie Bay, turning west and winding along the rocky shores of the Indian Ocean, with a mix of sandy beach and coasteering trails.

De hoop - opstal area yellow flowers (Custom)

De Hoop Opstal 

De Hoop Collection is proud to host the 2017 Merrell Whale of Trail; organised by the Mountain Runner Events, the Merrell Whale of Trail route attracts the kind of participants that enjoy the challenge of a tough trail, as well as the contemplation and solitude that a mountain trail gives; people who genuinely, simply, love being out there – the true adventurers.

Limited to just 175 athletes – the prescribed limit set by Cape Nature since they do not want to put too much pressure on the iconic De Hoop Nature Reserve coastal trail – the Merrell Whale of Trail is “a small race with a big heart”, says Mountain Runner Events organiser Graham Bird, “and one that is a a must-do for anyone who has already tackled the more conventional runs out there. Participants experience a 53km route that is a veritable smorgasbord of mountain and seaside delights – undulating rocky ridges, steep climbs, relentless sandy beaches and flowing fynbos paths and the whales, of course”. 

drone photo 1 (edit)

Drone photo 

Bang in the middle of the whale season, runners can be excused for thinking they are being chaperoned by the Whales, as scores of the annual migratory Southern Right Whales breach the water, spy hopping and waving their fins at the passers-by; every year from around June the Southern Right whales leave their icy feeding grounds in Antarctica and head for African shores, particularly favouring the De Hoop marine reserve in the Western Cape. The 71 km stretch of coastline ranks as the most important nursery area for Right whales worldwide, where they give birth, nurture their calves and engage in mating and social behavior.

Photo - whale mom (with orphan and calf) 2 edit

Whale mother with orphan and calf

Entries: whaleoftrail.co.za and for further information go to www.whaleoftrail.co.za

Book your accommodation at De Hoop now for the Whale of Trail Race Weekend from 28 July to 30 July.

Take advantage of the special winter rates valid until 27 July 2017 and be part of the De Hoop Collection’s 10th Anniversary Year celebrations – you can book a de Hoop Village for as little as R250 per person* for up to six people (*R1 500 per cottage (normal rate R4 770)!

This special is only valid for new bookings made for the period 1 May 2017 to 27 July 2017 and applies to the De Hoop Village units only.  The Village units sleep six guests and consist of 1x double room, 1x twin room, 1x room with bunk beds, a lounge, a fully equipped Kitchen and dining room, bathroom with shower and an outside barbeque/braai area; perfect for the whole family during the school holidays.

Phone 021-422 4522 or email res@dehoopcollection.co.za