One night in Wilderness is all it took! For our 10th anniversary, we booked a room at the Wilderness Hotel and treated ourselves to a 2-hour Couples Re-unite pamper session at the hotel Spa. Man! We needed that.
As exciting as it is to plan for long-term travel, the process of deciding and preparing for it can be very stressful at times. Apart from that, we’ve not had a good nights sleep since our youngest was born almost two years ago. Seriously. Not one!
With my Dad and brother at home to spend quality time with the children, my Mom, the angel that she is, bravely took charge of 23-month-old and not-yet-weaned-breastfeeding Melissa. We were seriously worried about leaving her for the night and fully expected a 2 am call to hurry home to save a hysterical baby and her completely stressed-out Ouma. The call never came. The next morning, I eventually called because I was convinced that they must all be sitting on the curb outside our house, bags packed and ready to flee the madhouse. I’m not sure if I should be happy or sad because the reply on the other side of the phone was my cool as a cucumber brother assuring me that only ONCE did our baby ask for us and that she is happily playing with her brother and sister without any hiccups what-so-ever.
Check-In at The Wilderness Hotel
Back to our one night in Wilderness and our arrival at the Wilderness hotel. All the deluxe rooms were booked when we called earlier in the week, so we were automatically booked into a standard room. I was a bit worried about the “standard” part because the price was not so standard, but the room was lovely and exceeded my expectation.
We checked in a little after 3 pm which is the earliest available check-in time. Yes, we couldn’t wait to get away ok! Like I said, we seriously needed the break to get some much needed Mommy and Daddy time. We dumped our bag, checked out the room and had the complimentary coffee. What is it with those minute milk thingies?! You need 4 of them for one cup at least and they always only supply 2 per guest.
Our room did not have a view, but that was fine because we were not going to spend much time there anyway. The view from the deck over the hotel entrance is spectacular. I enjoyed it over a cup of coffee later after our walk on the beach.
Blue Flag Wilderness Beaches
After we were settled in the room, we took a leisurely stroll through the very little village, planning our cocktail route for later that evening. Wilderness has a great collection of cafe’s, restaurants and pubs all within walking distance of each other and the hotel. We planned to start at the pub in the market square where you can enjoy live music on weekends. We’d then have one and only one cocktail (mostly virgin for me of course) at each place on the way back to the hotel and then we’d vote for our spot with the best vibe in Wilderness. There is Cocomo’s, Bongo’s, Roxis and more. Some nightlife, which we rarely get to enjoy together, to look forward to for later.
We took the 5-minute walk going under the highway to the blue flag Wilderness beach. We enjoyed a leisurely stroll and a moment to sit down and just take in the peace and beauty of the place. In South Africa we have some of the best beaches in the world and in the Garden Route, we are spoiled for choice. For me, February is the best month to visit the Garden Route because the weather is at its best with less wind and rain. Perfect for beach life, adventure and paragliding. The masses of holidaymakers are gone meaning traffic is back to normal and the beaches are basically empty.
Spa Couples Massage and Pamper
Too soon we had to end our moment on the beach to get back to the hotel for our 6 pm pamper appointment. Eeeeek!!!! I love massages and I love getting them with Brendan. We were warmly greeted by the friendly receptionist on duty at the Spa who showed us to the sauna with instructions. Half an hour in the sauna, then cool down in the pool or shower before part 2 of the treatment. Got it! Well, sauna is tuff if you are not used to it! We are not used to it I’ll tell you that. We were not in five minutes before we wanted to bail with yelps of “I can’t breathe!” and “it’s too hot! Do they know what they are doing?!”. We realized we were being whooses and tried to relax and sit it out, but 15 minutes was stretching it. We cooled down in the pool for 5 minutes and then bravely while giggling all the way, we faced another 10minutes in the sauna from hell before another quick cool down in the shower. We decided that we have to sauna more.
For part two of our couples treat we were led to a treatment room where calming music was softly playing and two massage beds were prepared for us. We were given a few minutes to get ourselves ready for the massage beds. Face down on the bed covered with towels. The full body massages were great. I very slightly regret choosing hard when I was asked how much pressure I prefer, but on the bright side, every possible kink and knot in every muscle of my body has been massaged out and away. A lovely experience overall.
For the last part of our treat, we were shown to another treatment room where a thermal bath was prepared for us with bubble bath, candles all around the room and a cocktail each. Very romantic. A tad unhygienic we thought, but very romantic.
Room Service And a Good Nights’ Rest
A little before 8 pm we realized that we’d not eaten yet and were absolutely starving so we left the spa in a great hurry to get to our room. Still shiny and oily from head to toe despite our thermal bath, we were happy to order room service for dinner before hitting the shower and heading out to our cocktail crawling night out in town. We went big on room service. The waiter asked us if they should bring cutlery for four! Ha! I got a full portion chicken snitchel because we always share and a calamari basket. Brendan ordered bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers and a sweet chili chicken burger. Starters and mains sorted. For dessert, we could order anything from the buffet for only R35. I ordered a little bit of everything to sample and extra milk for more coffee.
By the time our feast arrived we’d started watching that awful old movie, Snakes On A Plane. What was Samuel LJ thinking? Thank Goodness we ordered as much as we did because most of the plates were filled with chips. Great chips, but mountains of it. Once the meat was gone, you had only chips left, which we did not eat. If you love good fries, you would be sorted by room service here. The food we did have was great and it came in at R400 including the tip. Not bad.
Our one night in Wilderness did not end with the fun-filled night out we planned and definitely would have done 10 years ago. Instead, I fell asleep with a belly full, curled up on the comfy bed next to Brendan before 9 pm! The reality is that we are tired parents of 3 and as much as we want to have the amazing night out together a good nights’ rest is just priceless at the moment. That is what we needed and that is what we got at the Wilderness Hotel. We slept through the night and I woke at 7:30 refreshed and rested and ready for breakfast.
Breakfast And a Much Needed New Check-Out Checklist
Breakfast was great. A full hot breakfast buffet was served from 7 to 10 am. It was a beautiful day so we sat on the balcony and enjoyed a little bit of everything in the interest of sampling all the goods, including the white and dark chocolate flakes and the peanut butter syrup type caramel mix, which we had no idea what it was for, but it was delicious. After breakfast, we packed up and checked out. All staff were friendly and helpful. From check in to check out. Their generally casual and relaxed manner made us feel at home.
Brendan wanted to take the scenic route back to George via Whites and The Seven Passes Road, but I needed a few things so we headed to the Garden Route Mall for a bit of shopping before going home. Luckily Brendan remembered that we left my charger and adaptor at the hotel. I called the hotel and asked them to get it and keep it at Reception. We were back there in 10 minutes and the charger and adaptor were ready for collection. Thank you Wilderness Hotel!
This is why I immediately made up a CHECK OUT CHECKLIST. If you can think of anything to add to this list please leave us a comment?
The Scenic Route: Whites Road, Map of Africa, Paragliders In Action and The Seven Passes Road
So we got the chance to take the scenic Route back after all. It worked out great because it was a stunning day for it. Take Whites Road and stop where you can to take in the view of Wilderness from the top. It is breathtaking. Whites Road is a gravel road and while it is perfectly safe for any car to drive up Whites Road on a dry sunny day, I would think twice on a rainy day. Seeing the Map of Africa is not very spectacular, but when you get to the top of Whites Road take a left to the Map of Africa anyway. It is just one of those natural sites you have to see when you are in the area and if you are lucky and if you are here in February you will see Paragliders on the opposite side taking off and filling the sky like colorful butterflies.
BEST VIEW OF WILDERNESS
If you want the best view of Wilderness guaranteed every time you look out of your window or when you look up from the sparkling pool, you cannot go wrong with the luxury and style of the Boardwalk Lodge. We stayed there a while back on a complimentary visit thanks to our good friends Chris and Melissa and we cannot recommend this place enough. You are guaranteed an absolutely amazing view from almost every room and unit available. They have a variety of accommodation options to choose from including Self Catering Timber Chalets and Stylish Studio Suites. If luxurious comfort and style is your speed then book well in advance to make sure you get space with them. The Boardwalk Lodge is popular year round but especially if you want to visit in February you need to book in advance because they are very busy this time of year with international paragliding and adventure tour groups.