Friday, October 14, 2011

Getting Carried Away at Plettenberg Bay’s Grand Café & Rooms

The Grand Credo: I lose myself, and surprisingly find myself, within the candle-lit alleys of The Grand. Though gasping for breath I feel amplified, glorified, beautified. The glamour intoxicates me. The décor mesmerizes me. All for happiness.

Dark was falling as we arrived. The weather had turned foul, windy and threatening with rain. Tired after a long journey, I was thinking of the usual cures – a soak in the tub, a little TV, nothing too exciting – just glad to have a bed for the evening.

But that was all about to change.

We had arrived at The Grand Café & Rooms – a sprawling pink mansion, perched high on the hill in the centre of Plettenberg Bay. We climbed the stairs, heaved open the wooden door – ornately carved and oversized – and crossed the threshold into another world.

gotten there – while the stuffed leopard in the adjacent reading lounge, slung over the back of a vintage sofa – seemed to stare at us, his face turned permanently in an unnerving growl.

The café was warm and inviting – a massive fire glowed ‘hello,’ while the dining room – enrobed in shades of deep red and pink, glittering with the reflection of candlelight on silver candelabras – whispered, ‘romance’ in between table settings of red roses and gleaming champagne flutes on crisp white linen. The walls – filled with photographs of old friends and handwritten postcards from far-flung places – spoke of good times and glamour days. A decadent cake display, where each delight was housed in its own glass castle, shouted ‘indulgence’. Hunting trophies – the heads of kudu and wildebeest – overlooked the room with an oddly surprised gaze – as if they were wondering how they had

Eccentric and chic, dark and moody – the ambiance at The Grand certainly makes an impression, and we were only just getting started.

Our host led us past the terrace plunge pool with its millionaire’s view of the sea, through a series of enclosed courtyards and private spaces to reach our room. More like an apartment from somewhere in Paris, the oversized 4-poster bed seemed to take centre-stage. My suspicions were confirmed when our soft-spoken host motioned in its direction, “It’s all about sex” she said, blushing, “at least that’s the idea.”

Uncommonly tall, the posters were formed in dark wrought-iron, rising up like the slender trunks of an elegant tree, suspending the bed in mid-air like a floating cloud. A velvet-clad footstool, imprinted with the delicate wings of an angel (perhaps on her way to heaven) stood by.

The adjoining lounge-cum-bathroom featured a plush, red velvet sofa, more candles and roses, bath with a private view overlooking the sea. The fatigue of the road was a distant memory as we popped the champagne and danced to the beat of Afro-jazz before returning downstairs for a bistro-style dinner in the lavish café. Starting with oysters (what else) we nibbled on fresh seafood and sipped (more) champagne, ending with – arguably – the Garden Route’s most deliciously concentrated and foamy cappuccinos.

The vibe was exuberant – the candlelight invigorating – and we had somehow found ourselves in a glamorous moment of carefree abundance. The transformation was complete. We lost ourselves and found ourselves – totally and utterly seduced – in everything that’s Grand.


  1. Theresa, Love how you make one feel that they are right with you at the cafe. Enjoy your writings. Karen

  2. Thank you, Karen. That is the best compliment you could have given me!