When I received an email that read: ‘On behalf of the team at BBC Good Food Middle East I would like to extend a big congratulations on winning the BBC Good Food Middle East Awards voting prize!’, I initially assumed it was spam that had somehow gotten through.
I went and googled ‘BBC Good Food Middle East Awards voting prize’, and then realized I had actually posted the same thing on my facebook page a few months earlier to encourage readers to vote for their favorite blogger, restaurants and foodie brands in the UAE.
Any member of the public who voted online for their favorites in each category were automatically entered into the competition.
Vote and win a Luxury Cape Town Holiday and Family Safari in South Africa with South Beach and Gondwana Game Reserve worth $3,000!
Never in a million years did I expect to win the voting prize! And what a prize it was:
A two night stay at South Beach Cape Town for 2 adults and 2 children PLUS
A two night stay at Gondwana Game Reserve for 2 adults and 2 children
After initial difficulties in contacting the respective establishments, I finally managed to secure a reservation for South Beach Camps Bay luxury serviced self-catering apartments during my trip to Cape Town in April.
When I indicated that I have no children, they kindly offered to accommodate two more adults instead, as the prize included two fully serviced suites. It seemed like the perfect getaway for a coming of age celebration and girly weekend with my beloved ones.
The weather in Cape Town had turned cold and gloomy on the day I arrived from Dubai, and it rained intermittently over the next few days. When we drove off a week later to South Beach Camps Bay, the clouds were dark and heavy, threatening rain and thunder showers.
I realized as I drove along Sea Point beach road, following the signs for Camps Bay, that I had never actually driven on the winding coastal road hugging the steep cliffs between Bantry Bay, Clifton and Camps Bay myself. The hairpin bends and construction along the route made for a relatively nerve wracking trip (at least for me).
Trying to keep my eyes on the road, I still marveled at the homes that seemed to be hanging off sheer cliff faces in Bantry Bay and Clifton. On the beach side of the road all you can see from street level along Clifton seafront is what appears to be deck parking. Those are however some of the most expensive real estate on the Atlantic Seaboard, as the luxury apartments hug the cliffs falling into the sea and spilling onto a narrow white sandy beach.
As we came around the final bend and Camps Bay came into view, I was struck by the beauty of the seaside suburb curled around the lower reaches of Lions Head and the Twelve Apostles range, even with the dark stormy waves pounding the shore.
One wrong turn and a detour later, we finally reached South Beach. It is located a few doors away from the Theatre on the Bay and if you are arriving in the evening, be prepared to navigate through the theatre traffic.
Check in was smooth, although trying to maneuver a large car inside the tight parking garage may turn out to be hazardous. Fortunately, there were only two or three other cars parked inside and I was able to reverse into the allocated parking spot without hitting anything.
The guest relations officer / receptionist showed us to our apartments and there were oohs and aahs all round from the minute we stepped inside. The apartments have an all white décor with touches of gray (which may explain the no children under 13 rule), and is larger than most studio apartments.
The entrance is into the large kitchen area where we found everything we needed to prepare the continental breakfast provided by the hotel. The refrigerator comes stocked with oatmeal, fruit salad, eggs, yogurt, milk, juice, cheese, butter and preserves as well as Vienna sausages and polonies. There were also bananas and apples in the fruit bowl and croissants in the bread bin.
Coffee and tea are provided and replenished as required. There is also a Nespresso machine, but the pods are an extra charge at ZAR 150 per carton, if opened. If you think, as I did, that the charge is excessive, there is a Nespresso store at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront where they are available at nearly half the price.
There is a fully stocked bar shelf as well as other refrigerated beverages and snacks and these are charged according to the price list provided.
The living area has two arm chairs facing a wall mounted flat screen Smart TV connected to a media centre. The television is directly across from the sleeping area where the king size bed is located. There is a small white leather sofa and coffee table facing the one sliding door to the balcony area.
The bathroom and toilet are adjacent to the bedroom. I loved that the bathroom had underfloor heating that could be set to heat up as required. Since the coastal areas can be frigid during Autumn and Winter, this is a lifesaver. The rain shower is spacious enough for two people and the soaking tub is deep and luxurious.
There is a gym on the ground floor and swimming pool on the first floor, but we did not use either of them during our stay (it was way too cold, brrr).
We realised after arriving from dinner on the first evening, that the balcony sliding door of the one rooms was not locking properly. It was shortly before 12 am, and it did not seem appropriate to be calling the front desk staff for repairs at that hour. Needless to say, none of us had much sleep that night.
My initial idea of taking a walk down to the Promenade for breakfast the next morning was scuttled as one of the group felt lazy and preferred to drive (less than 200 metres). In the end we didn’t stop on the promenade and continued on to the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront where we eventually had breakfast. After breakfast we indulged in a few hours of retail therapy, including buying Nespresso pods!
Tired and hungry we returned to the haven of the South Beach apartments for a nap and late dinner. Strangely enough, I have absolutely no recollection of what we ate (a.k.a no Instagram pic 🙂 ). I did however manage to capture a beautiful sunset as the clouds cleared somewhat.
I had forgotten to report the sliding door issue before we left to go out to breakfast that morning, but when we returned we found that it had already been repaired. The staff member who assisted us informed me that there was always someone on duty, and that we could have called down to reception at any time of the night for assistance.
He reminded us that South Beach Camps Bay is located directly behind the Camps Bay Police station, and is possibly one of the safest places to be.
We were awake bright and early on the final morning and prepared the continental breakfast provided by South Beach. It was a delicious and filling spread prepared with love.
Continental breakfast @blueviewssouthbeach on our final morning in Camps Bay. My full experience is on the blog now.☝🏻 #uaebloggers #luxurytravel . . . . #huffpostgram #foodgasm #foodie #foodiegram #Dubaiblogger #photooftheday #igworldquest #instahealth #cleaneating #healthy #foodporn #healthyeating #healthychoices #healthyliving #realfood #thefeedfeed #buzzfeast #huffposttaste #f52grams #yahoofood #cookit #MyDubai #foodstagram #foodphotography #NGPEats #travelblogger #travelpics #luxurylife
On our drive back home we stopped for photos on the Camps Bay promenade. It was a lovely day with bright blue skies and occasional powder puff clouds. The residents of the area were out in droves for alfresco brunches at the beachfront cafes, walks with their dogs and sports on the beach.
South Beach Camps Bay can only be described as perfectly located for a luxury sea side vacation or weekend getaway. It is within fifty metres of the Camps Bay beach, and less than five minutes walk from Victoria road and the Camps Bay Promenade shopping mall and beach front restaurants. The Theatre on the Bay is a few doors down the same street for any thespian inclinations that may strike.
The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is a twenty minute drive away with access to Robben Island as well as the Two Oceans Aquarium. There is access to Camps Bay beach across the road as well as the beaches further down at Bakoven and Oudekraal.
The myCiti bus and Open Bus routes pass through Camps Bay so there is adequate public transport from the city centre and Waterfront. Alternatively, the hotel can arrange a taxi pickup.
Despite the construction of another annexe to South Beach on the property next door, there was minimal noise disturbance during working hours and nothing at all after dark or weekends.
All suites are serviced daily and there is complimentary wifi throughout. The service staff were unobtrusive but the common areas were spotless and the rooms were in a pristine condition at check in and when we returned from our day out.
I loved the layout of the apartments and the fact that every need is taken into account to make the stay memorable. My one complaint was that the armchairs in the living room, despite the modern design, are probably the most uncomfortable I have ever sat in. This sentiment was echoed by the others in the group.
The kitchen was equipped with every requirement needed for cooking and serving a meal. This includes full size fridge/freezer, built in microwave and hob, frying pans, cutlery, crockery, stemware, serving dishes and even placemats.
The continental breakfast provided by South Beach is delightfully varied and was more than sufficient for our needs. In addition, they do replenish any used items on a daily basis.
South Beach Camps Bay are luxurious self catering serviced apartments in the perfect location for a relaxing beach holiday and in close proximity to beaches, restaurants, supermarkets and other attractions.
Disclaimer: I was a (prize winning) guest of South Beach Camps Bay and BBC Good Food Middle East, however all opinions are unequivocally my own.