The Palace’s Plume Re-imagined

The re-imagining of The Palace’s chic-classic restaurant is now complete. Influenced by the social, café culture of South Africa’s famous cosmopolitan restaurant hubs with the emphasis on the experience, Plume’s new menu invites the exploration of diverse textures and indigenous flavours paired with exciting, proudly South African wines. Created by an award-winning sommelier, Marie Manyoha, and Executive Sous Chef, Robin Brophy, guests experience a tantalising six stage meal – a journey enticing all of the senses. The wines offered for pairing with each stage have been carefully picked by Manyoha to compliment the explosion of textures, flavours and aromas of the food.

The Palace’s F&B Manager, Brandon Govender, says: “We are delighted to introduce the re-imagined Plume, where dining is an experience for the senses, a place to entice your eager palate and indulge your inquisitive mind.”

The Plume Textures menu is a set experience, starting with an Amuse Bouche, fittingly called “Camps Bay Holiday”, comprising beetroot and cream cheese espume, ethically sourced caviar on Mother of Pearl, seawater gel, tomato soil and flavour scallops. For starters there is “Textures Corn Salad”, a delightful surprise consisting of panna cotta dust that has been gellified, popped and grilled.

The first main course is olive poached salmon served with balsamic jelly, salmon confit, pea puree and crisp sweet potato scales. This provides an uplifting prelude to the second main course of succulent ribeye log, potato puree, rainbow root vegetables and Turkish delights.

The invigorating meander of tastes and textures continues with decadent strawberry, mango and salted chocolate, before culminating with port and cheese.

Plume is open on weekends 19h30 for the textures experience, with one sitting per evening starting strictly at 20h00. The first main course is served at 20h30 and the second main course is served at 21h30. The cost is R1250 per person and includes the whole sumptuous food journey.

Venturing to Plume for dinner is also an opportunity to dress accordingly for the experience and to escape your parental duties for one evening. The dress code is smart / elegant and no jeans, sneakers or flip flops are permitted and no children under the age of 12 are allowed.

The reopening of Plume is part of the reinvention of Sun City’s culinary landscape. With over 30 restaurants, Sun City caters to all tastes and has something for everyone. While family restaurant brands are on offer, Sun City has now created several signature restaurants. Among the new or refurbished signature restaurants are the Bocado at the Cascades, Legends at Soho and The Brew Monkey at the Valley of Waves.

For more information about Sun City and all the changes, visit #NewSunCity connect with them on Facebook SunCitySA or follow them on Twitter @SunCityResortSA and Instagram @SunCityResortSA.

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Does travel make you a better citizen?

According to a recent global survey done by Contiki, including South African youth travellers between the ages of 18 and 35, travel definitely makes you a better citizen – locally and abroad.

The South African statistics revealed that 70% of travellers indicated that travelling has shaped their perspective on global politics and 41% said that they would run for public office. 49% of travellers voted in the last national election, compared to the 39% non-travellers and 55% of travellers voted in local elections, compared to the 36% non-travellers. 51% of travellers also indicated that they were patriotic.

Globally, 40% of travellers versus 31% non-travellers indicated that they participate in community activities. 21% of travellers, compared to 5% of non-travellers indicated that they have communicated with or written to their national government and finally 63% travellers versus 36% non-travellers said that travelling has shaped their perspective on global politics.

“While it might seem like a paradox, there are plenty of reasons for travel to have these kinds of effects on one’s sense of citizenship. The friendships you make over a 3am Gyros in Mykonos will be friendships that will stay with you for a lifetime, and the people you interact with and cultures you’re exposed to have a profound impact on your tolerance and understanding. Contiki’s unique social travel experience sets millennial travellers up to have better relationships with their friends, family and with their wider communities at home, through the skills they learn through their travel experiences.” – Kelly Jackson, General Manager for Contiki.

The survey results give strong evidence that experiencing new cultures and viewpoints through travel in turn enhances character attributes which prove a positive impact on citizenship, such as perspective, empathy and appreciation. Despite young people spending a greater amount of time away from their native countries when travelling, young people who travel do in fact gain a greater sense of citizenship than those who have not travelled internationally.

Also check out The Power of Travel 

 

Contiki commissioned Story and Verse and Fan Data Analytics – two third party professional research and insight organisations – to conduct this research. 

Story and Verse enlisted the expertise of Adam Ganlinsky, PhD, Columbia Business School, to advise in the form of an interview about the character attributes that change as a result of travel, as indicated by his own academic research. These include empathetic concern, perspective-taking, generalised trust, interracial connection, open-minded thinking, learning goal orientation and general self-efficacy. 

Fan Data Analytics, using this insight, conducted a survey of a pool of 2,980 18-35 year olds from the United Kingdom (824), United States (514), Canada (513), Australia (520), South Africa (305) and New Zealand (303). The response pool was broken into equal groups of travellers and non-travellers, as defined below: 

  • Travellers: someone who has travelled outside of their home country
  • Non-travellers: someone who has not travelled outside of their home country  

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from Fan Data Analytics.

Wine and Food Conference to show how to grow Loyalty and Revenue for Cape Tourism

 

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has calculated that last year, the direct contribution of the travel and tourism sector to the South African economy was worth R127,9 billion, accounting for 3% of the country’s GDP.

Margi Biggs

Commenting on the WTTC findings presented in its recent 2017 Economic Impact Report, Margi Biggs, convenor of the upcoming The Business of Food and Wine Tourism Conference, set to take place in Stellenbosch in the spring, said:

“The good news is that the council has projected the sector’s contribution to domestic GDP will rise by 2,7% in 2017, a very welcome increase given the subdued state of our local economy.”

A seasoned travel and tourism specialist, Biggs contends that travel and tourism can contribute still further to the national GDP, “provided we, as an industry, take note of new trends in consumer spending, behaviour and priorities to make our food and tourism offerings more compelling and more competitive, while upping the standard of our execution and service delivery.”

“If we get it right, the impact will be substantial.  It will help to build skills, create economic opportunities and reduce unemployment, generating greater prosperity for more South Africans.  We have all the right ingredients: beautiful locations, a growing reputation for world-class food and wines, and friendly and welcoming hospitality staff.  We just have to finesse what we are doing with the technology and research we now have at our disposal, while applying new thinking to marketing and problem-solving.”

 

She said the annual conference, now in its second year, would be presented by a selection of international and local tourism specialists and would focus on best practice and how to improve the customer experience. An important feature of the forum would be the various ways in which wine and food impact customer loyalty.

“There is a growing view internationally that customer experience will ultimately drive more loyalty than complicated point-based programmes and schemes. We need to take note.”

Amongst this year’s keynote speakers is CEO of SA Tourism, Sisa Ntshona. His address will explore how the food and wine experience can promote South Africa’s competitive advantage as a tourist destination. Included in the line-up of international speakers are Don Shindle, an expert in customer service and GM of the Westin Verasa Napa in California’s renowned wine tourism epicenter. World-renowned TV personality, Andrea Robinson, one of only 23 female master sommeliers in the world will also be there. Dr Robin Back, a South African-born, US-based academic who conducts wine tourism research in both South Africa and the US will be looking specifically at the impact on loyalty of cellar door visits. The programme will also cover such topics as virtual reality, attracting new markets, and PR trouble shooting.

The conference takes place at Spier on Wednesday, 20 September.

For more information on the conference, or to register online, visit www.wineandfood.co.za.

Early Bird registration is now open at a fee of R2 950 (excl. VAT) per delegate, and ends on 12 June. The standard cost per delegate is R3 950 (excl. VAT), and ends on 18 August.  If you register and pay after 18 August, the cost rises to R4 500 (excl. VAT) per person.

Staycations – A threat or an opportunity for your destination?

Written by: Renate Engelbrecht

There is a lot being written about the word, Staycation, but do we really get what it’s about? Do we realise that Staycations could either be seen as a threat or an opportunity for local businesses?

Staycation

Staycation – Photo taken by Renate Engelbrecht

We often tend to focus all our marketing efforts on guests coming in from abroad – you know, those with the dollars. But then, when last have we really taken a good look at what the customers right under our noses, the locals, are looking for? That family of four driving past your destination every day on their way to school; the couple who just bought a new home around the corner and committed themselves to weekly date nights; the retirees who love to invite their precious grandchildren for a visit, but don’t know where to take them for entertainment…

STAYCATION: A period in which individuals or families stay at home and take part in local leisure activities within driving distance from their homes and sleep in their own beds at night.

What causes guests to revert to Staycations?

  • Economic pressure or recession
  • The rise of fuel prices
  • The increase of tourists who want to reduce the carbon footprint
  • The urge and necessity to save time (travelling could take up to two days, where Staycations require one hour’s travel at most)
  • The larger the family, the less the finances for travel when you take into account the costs of restaurants, transport and accommodation
  • Health concerns may alter travelling plans
  • Work commitments may thwart plans of travelling abroad or even just out of town

How can Staycations be to your destination’s advantage?

  • You can get the locals on your side – the best all year round customers you could wish for!
  • Local businesses can work together, for once, and build a stronger, more steadfast relationship
  • You could wind up with a whole new group of customers, allowing you to broaden customer experiences offered, hence catering for a wider range of clients.
  • It will drive you to get involved in your local community – a must in today’s competitive business environment and economy.
  • It will encourage you to learn more about your immediate and surrounding areas – something we tend to neglect when focusing on foreign tourists.

How can you drive locals, or rather, Staycationers, to your destination?

It so happens that not all towns and cities are ideal for Staycations. This is where you, as a destination, have the obligation to create experiences for Staycationers and keep them from driving to the nearest best town for the day. Yes, you still want to make a buck or two, which is why you need to think clever! You need to find a way to cater for guests who want to relax in a wallet-friendly environment, while still growing your profits:

  • Open your destination’s swimming pool for the public on certain days, offering refreshments and snacks on a budget that might up your sales for the day. Add some water activities, i.e. water aerobics at an hourly fee and increase profits in that way.
  • Put up some alternative activities that may be used by the public at a minimal fee. Think table tennis, volleyball, giant chess, put-put and some facilitated local games like the well-known South African Boeresport. That’ll keep’em busy!
  • Run local tours – not only at your destination, but also in the surrounding areas. Make it interesting and try to educate. Educational tourism is just as much a thing as Staycations. Put together an “Explore your city” package with local businesses like museums, botanical gardens and local breweries, for example, and put a mark-up on it.
  • Host a fun run and have participants enjoy a breakfast buffet at your on-site restaurant afterwards at a discounted rate. Often you will find, if it was a good experience, that these guests stay for longer or they return.

I say, let’s turn Staycations into the best opportunity for destinations yet!

Things we tend to forget

Visiting guesthouses and hotels on a regular basis makes you realise how many things we tend to forget when preparing a room for a guest.

Things we tend to forget

Things we tend to forget (Photo taken at The Wardrobe Guesthouse, Pretoria) – http://thewardrobeguesthouse.co.za/

Owning an accommodation establishment does not necessarily make you an expert on what to put in the rooms; in fact, we tend to overlook a few things due to being so used to the establishment’s offerings. As we know by now – no customer is the same and no target market either. A business traveller might need a two point plug next to his bed as well as at his desk in the room. A family room might be more comfortable for leisure travellers when there is bubble bath for the kids or a pack of cards to play with in the room when the weather is not so pleasant. It is about going that extra mile that everyone speaks about.

Here are a few things TMG noticed many establishments tend to forget to add to their guest rooms. Take note and maybe consider adding this to your rooms for the next guests to increase customer satisfaction and to give them a better experience of your establishment. It might be small things, but isn’t it true that it’s the small things that count?

  • Two point plugs in the rooms for a hairdryer (if there is none provided in the room), cell phone chargers, laptops, etc.
  • Information files in the rooms, providing information on local attractions, restaurants, coffee shops and shopping facilities.
  • It is always great to have a minibar in the room – just remember to stock it before the guests arrive and be sure to explain the payment procedures to them. This service is a preferred service by TMG for business travellers, as they are the ones who might work late in the evenings.
  • Have a look at the lighting in the rooms. This is a big issue, especially for business travellers, at many South African establishments. Be sure that there is ample lighting at the desk area and next to the bed for working and reading purposes, as well as at the mirror areas where ladies might want to do their make-up.
  • Make sure about the correct height for the desk and chair where your guests visiting for business might want to work during the evening. You don’t want to tire them – in fact, you’d like them to feel comfortable and at home, right?
  • Also have a look at the position of all electric sockets in the rooms. The places guests would like to have electric sockets are mainly beside the bed and at the desk area, as well as close to a mirror.
  • Speaking of mirrors – remember that women (and many men too) need a mirror at a comfortable height for blow drying their hair, checking their outfits and doing their makeup. Should there only be mirrors in the bathroom, be sure that the area is secure for an electric socket for things like hairdryers and shavers. This is not the ideal, though. Rather add another mirror in the room itself.

Any more things you’ve noticed guesthouses or hotels tend to forget? Share your views and tips with Travelling Mystery Guest by leaving a comment.

My top 5 bucket list restaurants in Jo’burg

1. Cube Kitchen

With a dash of uniqueness attached to its stunningly beautiful food photography, the Cube Kitchen is definitely number one on my dining-in-Jo’burg bucket list. An intimate 30 seat tasting kitchen, they believe the table to be a source of fun and conversation. They encourage lengthy dinners with lots of wine, food and conversation – as long as you bring the wine (they are not licensed, which is a little sad). But it sounds like my kind of people and I’ll definitely pop in sooner than later. Visit their website here: http://www.cubekitchen.co.za/home

Restaurants

Restaurants

2. Leafy Greens Café

Their slogan, “Eat well, do good” caught my attention immediately. “Leafy G” is committed to producing food that has the lowest carbon footprint (food that it high in minerals and vitamins in its raw form). Therefore the menu also changes according to seasonality. Located in Muldersdrift the restaurant also offers a peaceful escape from the busy city life. Find more information about this vegan-friendly café here: http://www.leafygreens.co.za/

3. Schwabinger Stuben

After recently returning from Germany, I would love to visit this old fashioned, yet cozy Randburg Restaurant. Menu options include the traditional eisbein, schnitzel and German sausages and the atmosphere is apparently true to the classic Bavarian tavern. This restaurant seems to be the ideal down-to-earth dining option with good value for money. Contact them on 011 787 2550.

4. Lucky Bean Restaurant

Apparently, according to Food24, you are lucky if you’ve even just been there. This restaurant seems to have taken traditional South African cuisine to another level with Ostrich Bobotie Spring Rolls and a warm Jozi heart. Find them here: Lucky Bean Restaurant

5. The Good Luck Club

For the occasional craving of Asian food, this spot seems perfect! From creamy coconut juice and slow beers to ‘lucky wings’ with ginger, fish sauce, garlic, parsley and mint, this sounds like the best place to enjoy some Asian cuisine. Visit their website here: The Good Luck Club

PR for your town

I’ve recently read an article on the importance of PR for the city of Johannesburg, which made me think: it is not only Johannesburg that needs more PR. It’s every town and every city that we love here in South Africa. Cape Town might be the Mother City of South Africa, but mainly because of its spectacular natural wonder: Table Mountain. We need to find the reasons why other cities and towns in South Africa are PR worthy and tell it to the world!

Table Mountain - Photo taken by Renate de Villiers

Table Mountain – Photo taken by Renate de Villiers

Johannesburg, for one, like mentioned in the article written by Brand Slut, has many different things to offer and its diverse cultures and its history should be just as big an attraction as Cape Town’s attractions when communicated to the world.

Smaller towns like Matjiesfontein, Parys in the Free State, Clarens, Henley on Klip, Haenertsburg, Paternoster – why are they not on every traveller’s list even though everyone who has been there loves it? Because they lack PR!

Matjiesfontein is one of my favourite towns in South Africa. More like a village, actually, consisting of a gravel main road that separates the train station from the Lord Milner Hotel and the rest of the town. It is in this town that you will find the house where the first South African telephone rang – or so the tour guide told us. So much history and stories lie hidden in this town, yet no one knows of it.

Matjiesfontein - My favourite South African town

Matjiesfontein – My favourite South African town

Clarens has become very popular over the years, offering great outdoor activities in and between the Drakensberg. It also allows the not so active to enjoy arts and crafts, which is becoming a very popular reason for travel worldwide according to research from American Express Travel.

Still, I can go on and on about the awesomeness of all these places, but if its inhabitants don’t share their love and appreciation of the place with the world, no one will know and no one will visit. Let’s get up and do some PR, people!

For bookings on workshops relating to the basics of PR and Marketing for tourism and hospitality destinations, contact Travelling Mystery Guest on enquire@travellingmystery.co.za / 082 336 1562.

PS – thanks for the great eye-opener, Brand Slut. Let’s start with Jo’burg.