By Anina Malherbe-Lan

If you’re looking for the perfect sunny Winter escape without leaving the borders of South Africa, the spectacular The Plettenberg 5-star hotel in Plettenberg Bay feels like a world away from the ordinary, as it sits perfectly perched on a lush natural cliff overlooking the vast ocean and famous Lookout Beach. 

Tucked neatly into the exquisite Garden Route, Plettenberg Bay boasts a wonderful year-round temperate climate, multiple pristine beaches and lush green forests, making it the ultimate South African seaside escape. The 5-star Small Luxury Hotels of the World property has direct beach access and sports some of the most breathtaking vistas in Southern Africa, with views of the ocean, mountains and endless stretches of golden sand. The hotel features 37 beautifully appointed guest rooms, including 12 Suites and two spectacular Villas.

One of the most famous drawcards of The Plettenberg must be its sunsets. We visited this quaint hotel during June, and was so pleasantly surprised by the gorgeous weather. A great benefit of visiting during Winter is that Plett (as its affectionately known by locals), is much more quiet that time of year compared to high season, and you pretty much have the pool and beach to yourself most of the time, which by the way, is very inviting and totally swimmable during the warmer Winter days. With a choice of two pools and multiple swimming beaches and what feels like the perfect temperature lukewarm water, Plett definitely gets my top vote as one of THE best Winter destination in South Africa. 

Serving all of the most gorgeous jewel colours in the night sky during sunset hour, the hotel’s setting becomes totally magical from 5pm onwards when the light starts dropping. Enjoy a cocktail from The Sandbar next to the rim flow pool as it becomes one with the vast ocean in the background, while you soak up the emerging evening magic as you build up an appetite for dinner at The Restaurant. 

Popular items on The Restaurant’s menu include Head Chef Kyle’s Klein Karoo springbok loin with fynbos cream potatoes, red cabbage marmalade, slow-roasted baby tomatoes, field mushrooms, string beans and a port reduction. The Sesame-encrusted Norwegian salmon is another favourite dish, served with black garlic risotto, citrus rocket salad, umami beans and an orange-teriyaki reduction. The Restaurant is renowned for its ocean bounty, drawing inspiration from the rich marine life that can be found in the bay. The indoor dining section offers beautiful views of the pool and ocean, while the outdoor terrace is perfect for alfresco dinners, with mesmerising ocean vistas.

Enjoy a pot of tea with a good book in the Sun Lounge & Terrace, before getting pampered at the Fresh Wellness Spa. Recently revamped by talented interior designer Sue Bond, the gorgeous lounge area sports pattern upon pattern in a palette of serene blue and green. Showing off multiple textures such as weaved baskets, wood, raw linen and exotic objets d’art sourced from around the world, you will want to sink into one of the big patterned couches and never leave. The contemporary interior is the perfect cross between laid back beach chic meets London summer house.

The suites are spacious and light. We had a beautiful corner suite with endless views of both the ocean and pool area, with two French balconies which we kept doors open to welcome in the fresh ocean breeze. The blue and green colour palette continues in the room itself where all your needs are catered for, from decadent Danish sweets, to all sorts of snacks, including crisps, hot chocolate and a Nespresso machine for a cup of descent coffee in the morning.

Complete privacy and warm hospitality completed our stay, with every whim and want being catered for at The Plettenberg. Whether you are looking for a romantic seaside escape or an action-packed family holiday, The Plettenberg is the ideal place to relax and unwind, recharge your batteries and reinvigorate your spirit.  

For more information on rates and availability, contact The Plettenberg at +27 44 533 2030, email them on or visit their website on