Photoblog: Kersefontein

I haven’t been to Kersefontein Guest Farm recently. These photos were taken in 2010 when I visited this farm near Hopefield in the Western Cape for a quick weekend away. I fell in love with its welcoming atmosphere, its magical light and its humble charisma.

The farm has been in the Melck family for centuries and accommodates different kinds of guests, including magazine photographers, during the year.

©Renate de Villiers

Part of the Melck family for centuries. ©Renate de Villiers

Kersefontein ©Renate de Villiers

B&B Accommodation ©Renate de Villiers

Kersefontein ©Renate de Villiers

Kersefonein company. ©Renate de Villiers

Kersefontein Views ©Renate de Villiers

Kersefontein Views ©Renate de Villiers

Kersefontein farm house. ©Renate de Villiers

Kersefontein farm house. ©Renate de Villiers

Kersefontein light. ©Renate de Villiers

The light falls magically at Kersefontein. ©Renate de Villiers

Kersefontein ©Renate de Villiers

A plane angle at Kersefontein. ©Renate de Villiers

Kersefontein ©Renate de Villiers

River swimming. ©Renate de Villiers

Kersefontein tree tunnel ©Renate de Villiers

Kersefontein tree tunnel ©Renate de Villiers

Kersefontein entrance. ©Renate de Villiers

Kersefontein entrance. ©Renate de Villiers

 

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Being pet-friendly has its challenges

Pet-friendly hotels and guesthouses have quite a number of regulations and policies that guests need to adhere to. It is also interesting to see how many guests travel with pets and how many of these guests expect top of the range service for their pets.

Pet-friendly hotels

Pet-friendly hotels (Image from: luxuryvacationsource.com)

Pet-friendly hotels (and those that are not) need to include certain regulations in their documentation in order to give customers a clear understanding of what is allowed and what not. Examples of these regulations can be found on pettravel.com. One of the examples is that of the Ritz Carlton Hotel Company and includes the following:

 
• Not all the group’s hotels are pet-friendly
• Some of the hotels only accept dogs
• Most hotels only accept pets between 10 and 30 pounds (about 4.5 – 15 kg)
• Usual charge is between $125 and $250, non refundable (between R1300 and R2700)
Pets are usually restricted to certain areas of the hotel
• Several hotels offer special pet packages, i.e. pet hikes, beds, treats and toys

 
Other interesting services hotels offer pets:
• Pet spa services
• Pet room service menus
• Doggie robes and towels
• Pet psychics
• Gourmet pet cakes
• Pet swimming pools
• Pet rain gear
• En-suite training sessions with award-winning behaviorists
• Pet tourist maps that indicate pet-friendly locations in the area

 
Is your establishment pet-friendly? Do you have your pet-regulations in place?

 
Travelling with pets is no joke, that’s for sure! Not to mention accommodating them.

Gaining more guests

Many hotels, guesthouses and restaurants offer more than just food and accommodation to their guests these days. It not only gives them additional exposure, but also helps them gain more guests.

Customers tend to change frequently regarding their needs, expectations and even emotions. By experimenting with some additional offers, we might be able to identify some new expectations more easily and even gain competitive advantage.

Outdoor Movie Night

Outdoor Movie Night

(Image found on babble.com)

 
Have you noticed how expensive it has become to watch movies at the cinema? Not to mention the price of popcorn, slush puppies and other snacks. Why don’t more venues use this as an opportunity? People love to go back in time and to experience some nostalgia every now and again. Why not give them a venue where they can watch movies in the garden while enjoying a box of homemade popcorn?

 
Dinner Theatre is another thing that draws many guests’ attention nowadays. It might be a little more expensive than going to the cinema, but the value for money is just so much more worth it. Spoiling your guests with a dinner theatre every now and again will keep them excited about your establishment and curious about what’s happening next. Those guests who only came for the performance now also have a chance to experience your venue and mention it to their friends.

 
Internal and relationship marketing has become key in the tourism and hospitality industry. We need to find ways to impress current guests all over again in order for them to spread the word. We need to think out of the box. Surprise your guests with something creative and new every now and again, build relationships with them and see how they do your marketing for you!

Photoblog: Forum Homini

I recently had the privilege of staying at Forum Homini Hotel and dining at their on-site restaurant, Roots. What an extraordinary venue! I would, however, suggest that you do not go alone. It’s a place for relaxing with friends and loved ones, for enjoying views and for indulging in unusual, yet spectacular combinations from the menu.

If you are ever in the Cradle of Humankind, this is one of the more upmarket hotels and restaurants I would recommend:

Forum Homini - Room number 6

Forum Homini – Room number 6

Forum Homini's interesting interior

Forum Homini’s interesting interior

Sherry in the room

Sherry in the room

From inside

From inside

Each room has its own little garden.

Each room has its own little garden.

A relaxed atmosphere, watching the sun set.

A relaxed atmosphere, watching the sun set.

Breakfast Modifications – As good as a holiday

Have you ever gotten tired of the usual English Breakfast? Not just eating it, but also preparing it for your guests. Sometimes it becomes such a routine that we forget why we do it. It should be about spoiling your guests, making them feel at home and giving them the perfect kick-start to their day.

Modified Breakfasts

Modified Breakfasts (Photographer: Renate de Villiers)

They say change is as good as a holiday. Modifying your breakfasts might be just what you need to help you make your guests feel special (and in the end you might even enjoy preparing it more).

Here are a few ideas on modified breakfasts:
Overnight Peaches and Cream French Toast
Breakfast Banana Pops
Breakfast Quesadillas
Homemade Granola
Banana Bread French Toast
Some guests enjoy the traditional English Breakfast. Others love to be surprised. How do you surprise your guests in the morning?

WiFi in Restaurants – Yes or No?

Are restaurants for dining or working?

Are restaurants for dining or working?

Diesel and Crème

It’s not every day that you get to drink milkshake at 9am, let alone six Consol bottles of milkshake. But, sometimes you need to let your hair down a little, which is exactly what Diesel and Crème is about.

Diesel and Creme, Barrydale, Western Cape

Diesel and Creme, Barrydale, Western Cape

It was still early when we arrived. Heritage Day had the fires burning early – drums of different shapes and sizes were flashing their flames next to randomly packed half circles of seats. Here and there was a black board inviting guests to indulge in their specialty dishes and drinks and at the back stood trays stacked with Roosterkoek.

But we were there for the milkshakes, because I’ve heard from more than one person that this place makes the best milkshakes in South Africa. Lady in Red, Vintage Villain, Morning Glory, Cookie Shake, Honey Crunch and Very Berry are just a few of the innovative milkshakes to choose from. And we had them all!

Diesel and Creme Milkshakes

Diesel and Creme Milkshakes

The Lady in Red is a Red Velvet cake gone shake, with all the flavours you’d find in a slice of its prototype. If you have ever experienced the taste of a home baked, melt-in-the-mouth chocolate brownie, you must be well acquainted with guilty pleasures. This is exactly what the Vintage Villain accomplished. The Morning Glory definitely added to the magnificence of the morning and the nearby Tradouw Pass. It presented a bitter sweet taste that had me nostalgic for days. As if the Vintage Villain wasn’t enough of a guilty pleasure, we also had to try the Cookie Shake, which took me back to the Oreo advertisement that says: “Cookies are not good for dogs, but you can have some of my milk.” I wouldn’t want to share it either. With my father being a big fan of honeycomb, I had to taste the Honey Crunch milkshake. Every sip’s crunchy surprises made me wish I could share my shake with dad. The last Consol bottle, filled with sweet flavours and bursts of berries, definitely gave the original strawberry milkshake a reason to reassess.

Diesel and Crème in Barrydale (Route 62, just off the Tradouw Pass) is a vintage visit not to omit from your travels. Its décor and ambiance create a feeling of nostalgia and belonging. Random, vintage children’s toys, jukeboxes and rare bar signs catch your attention around every corner and when the barman cranks up the volume of A-ha’s Crying in the rain and passionately sings along, you remember what life is all about: Making the most of every moment.

The newly added Karoo Moon Motel is filled with unique furniture and flair, ideal for a night’s rest in one of the country’s most beautiful regions.

The entrance of the Karoo Moon Motel at Diesel and Creme

The entrance of the Karoo Moon Motel at Diesel and Creme

For more information on Diesel and Crème, visit their website on www.dieselandcreme.co.za