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

 

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 

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

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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”. 

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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.

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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

 

 

5 Impressive buildings in the world

Whether buildings are designed for an amazing purpose or if the architectural skills displayed are amazing, buildings can be quite fascinating. Some are very old, which makes it even more impressive and some display new age designs; either way, some of them seem too good to be true! Travelling Mystery Guest takes a look at some of the most impressive buildings in the world.

1.Guggenheim Museum 

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This building opened in 1997 as a cooperative venture between the Guggenheim Foundation and the Basque Regional Administration of North-Western Spain. The museum was designed by Frank O. Gehry and consists of interconnected buildings, presenting a very abstract structure. The interior space, organized around a large atrium, is mainly devoted to modern and contemporary art, particularly massive sculptures.

2.Doge’s Palace

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The Doge’s Palace in Venice mainly consists of a marble structure and it is huge! This is absolutely a Gothic masterpiece. It is structured in a magnificent formation of constructive and ornamental elements, consisting of three large blocks that incorporate previous constructions: The wing toward the Bacino San Marco (which contains the Hall of Great Council), which is the oldest and was rebuilt in 1340; the wing towards the Piazza (former courthouse) with the Ballot Hall, which was built in its present form from 1424 and on the other side, the Renaissance wing, with the Doge’s residence and many government offices, which was rebuilt between 1483 and 1565.

3.Geisel Library – University of California

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In 1995, this library was renamed Geisel Library in honour of Audrey and Theodor Geisel for the generous contributions they have made to the library and their devotion to improving literacy. You may know Theodor Geisel better as Dr. Seuss. After being renamed, the building’s design actually makes more sense. We could imagine one of Dr. Seuss’s stories coming to life in a building like this.

4. Ribbon Chapel 

Ribbon Chapel

Image credit: www.archdaily.com

This wedding chapel stands in a garden of a resort hotel, “Bella Vista Sakaigahama,” in Onomichi, Hiroshima. It took us a while to figure out how this building works. This would definitely be one of the more modern designs and we can only imagine the beautiful wedding pictures one can take here. The design is made up of two spiraling staircases that support one another and this creates a lot of free space.

5. Hotel Verde

Hotel Verde

Image Credit: www.hotelverde.com

 

Said to be South Africa’s greenest building, Hotel Verde is impressive in the way it cares for the environment. The hotel was awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum Green Building Certification by USGBC. When staying here, there is no need to feel guilty about your carbon footprint. This building inspires all to live more cautiously with our resources.

Written by: Alicia Redelinghuys

Why you need to respond to your customer’s feedback

It’s never fun reading bad reviews about your own establishment, but responding to them quickly and in the correct manner can save your establishment’s image. To react to good feedback also makes your customer feel as if you are taking personal interest in them. Whether good or bad, your customer wants to know their feedback is recognised. Travelling Mystery Guest takes a look at why this is important:

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  1. To avoid future complaints

Customers always name the specific thing that made them unhappy during their previous encounter. Take notice of this, because if this is a problem to one customer, it might be a problem to others as well. To respond to your customer and to take action on what they complained about, can eliminate similar complaints in the future. Also, when a customer is considering a place to stay or dine by looking at online reviews and they notice that complaints are being repeated, it’s clear to them that the establishment is not attentive to complaints.

  1. To build loyalty with your customers

It is really rewarding when a customer is satisfied, especially when they made the effort to write a good review. This is something that prospective customers notice, which means your loyal customers promotes your business for you. Why not thank them? It’s minimal effort and this may result in a long-term relationship with your customer. This will actually have a “seal the deal” effect: You’ve already satisfied your customer and now you are just taking the final steps to ensure that they return.

  1. To avoid bad word of mouth

Too many times have customers taken the time to complain on some sort of platform only to be ignored by the establishment.  With people on social media being quite ruthless, a bad review can snowball into a conversation that can do a lot of damage to your establishment’s image. Even if it is a fussy customer who complains about everything, Shep Hyken says: “The customer may not always be right, but they are always the customer. So, let the customer be wrong with dignity and respect.” It’s not always easy, but this is what we deal with in the hospitality industry.

  1. Essential to improve

It’s always a good idea to initiate customer feedback. If you are planning on making some changes or improvements in your establishment, why not ask your customers’ opinion? You are, in fact, implementing these changes to satisfy your customer. Post a questionnaire online and ask willing customers to give you their feedback. This will decrease the risk of wasting money on things your customers do not need, because you’re working with the feedback that your current, or even potential customers have given you.

  1. It’s a way to check up on your employees

As a manager, you might not always be present on site, due to numerous responsibilities. If you are dealing with a customer complaint, find out what the exact time of their visit was and verify the situation with your employees. Always apologise to your customer. You might not always believe that their specific problem could occur at your establishment, but try to see the complaint as an opportunity to ensure that the problem is resolved and that it doesn’t happen again.

Written by: Alicia Redelinghuys