The sun is spreading its bright golden hue on the tranquil lake and the perfectly manicured gardens with its peaceful ponds. We have arrivedï¿½ We find ourselves in the lap of luxury at Lake Pleasant, a retreat where we can be together as a family and replenish our worn-out bodies and souls.
The drive from Cape Town was good. The kids were well behaved all the way and I'm so proud of them. It is however late in the day and we are all exhausted, ready to take off our shoes, bring out the wine (and juice), and relax. I fail to imagine another place that offers serenity and peace
quite like this - especially when you have a pre-schooler and toddler in tow.
Lake Pleasant is situated along the world-famous Garden Route
. The Garden Route is a destination unlike any other. Driving through it is like driving through a holiday. It's one of the most glorious parts of the world, both in terms of its striking beauty and what it has to offer tourists. Sedgefield, situated between George and Knysna, is an idyllic family destination where you can relax and enjoy the great outdoors. It lies nestled between pine-covered hills and beautiful unspoiled beaches, in the heart of our very own Lakes District.
Just past Sedgefield, you'll find a turn-off on the right hand side to Groenvlei.
A hundred metres or so further on and you will find the welcoming gate to Lake Pleasant Living - the perfect place from where to discover the countless activities on the Garden Route or enjoy the comfort and luxury of upmarket living.
Lake Pleasant Living is not just a place to overnight at. It combines lifestyle living with excellent facilities, all in a wonderful natural setting
. An hour after arriving, Hannah asked "Mommy, are we going to stay here for very, very long?" It's perfect for families and my kids spent much of their time here at the children's playground, which includes a jungle gym, an outdoor kiddies pool with a water slide and a huge sandpit (also a volleyball quart).
The property also boasts an outdoor rim-flow pool
with amazing vistas over the lake and an indoor heated relaxation pool. These are however intended for guests seeking peace and quiet and therefore kids are requested to use the kiddies' pool, which was also designed with their comfort and safety in mind. Children can also do some fishing off the jetty and I hear they often catch their first ever fish here.
The accommodation is luxurious. Classic, up-market furnishings and finishes with original artwork define Lake Pleasant Living's exclusivity. The serviced suites all have breath-taking views of the lake
and landscaped garden from private patios and balconies. Our two-storey villa has two on-suite bedrooms with a business desk area on the top floor and a superb open-plan lounge, dining room and kitchen - fully equipped with cooker, fridge, freezer, dishwasher, washing machine and tumble dryer.
The patio is furnished with a gas braai, beautiful eating area
and rim-flow plunge pool. In the bedroom they had already provided two cots with beautiful white linen for the girls and a baby chair is available on request. The kids are in their element. There is so much grass to run around on and reception has a DVD library which, of course, offers children's movies as well. This is great for keeping them busy while I pack, unpack, do some writing, etc.
On our first night, being a true South African who just spotted a showy gas braai, my husband cooks up a delectable barbeque. Lake Pleasant Living has its own herb garden to supply the Bistro kitchen and guests are welcome to use the garden for their own gastronomic requirements.
The Bistro Restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and offers delicious meals, accompanied by fine South African wines. The staff is really friendly
and they welcome even the littlest (messiest) diner. After dinner you can have an aromatic coffee, warming cognac or liqueur and a selection of fine cigars are on offer from the humidor - sink back into a leather couch and enjoy the atmosphere.
For those who seek pure relaxation, without the noise of kids running around, The Spa On The Lake features sauna and steam rooms
and an indoor heated relaxation pool. Body and beauty treatments can be booked as an added service. Upon arriving at our villa, we were presented with a complimentary scalp or foot massage. Guests can also enjoy unlimited complimentary use of the gymnasium located in the spa.
There is so much for a family to do, see and experience here - whether you hanker after nature, culture and heritage, outdoor adventure, gourmet delights or spirit, mind and soul experiences. On the property you can fish for bass or sail on the lake, go mountain biking, go on walks and hikes or pamper yourself in the spa. The area offers some of the finest golf courses
in South Africa; Simola Golf and Country Estate, Pezula Golf Estate and Fancourt Country Club to name a few.
You can also go bowling in Plettenberg Bay, paraglide or go shark diving. The Garden Route is also great for whale watching
. If you want a cultural experience, you can visit Bendigo Mine for a glimpse of the hardships endured during the earliest gold mining activities in South Africa. If shopping is your game, the Garden Route Mall features 125 shops!
A great outing for the kids is the Cango Caves
and Cango Wildlife Ranch in Oudtshoorn. We also took Hannah and Georgia to the strawberry-picking farm in George, where they fed the rabbits and played on the jungle gym. On weekends and during holidays, Red Berry farm also offers pony rides and a giant ball in which you can roll around on the water. Afterward we visited a nearby cheese tasting farm, where Carl was in his element with all the different types of cheese on sale.
Our time at Lake Pleasant Living was short and we wished we didn't have to leave so soon. With our family, Lake Pleasant certainly achieved their ideal, which is that when you leave you should feel pampered, relaxed and rejuvenated
. We surely did.By Illana Strauss Dillon