So in between towing Jason’s bike with my car to try and get it started, playing “flinch” with Joshua, begging Luke to please move back home and trying to find suitable wives for my 5 sons (A full blog post all on its own ), I get to stay and check out the most stunning places. (part of the job my dear) On Monday night I stayed at the famous “Afrique Boutique Hotel” in Poortview on the West Rand. www.afriquehotel.co.za You would love it. So sophisticated, so elegant, so classy, and this is the part that will make you platz…original paintings everywhere! The owner, Nafsika, is a huge fan of Porchie, Georgia, Este Mostert etc, so you can only imagine all this creative genius everywhere! As you drive into the grounds you are overshadowed by 3 storey stained glass windows and bricks and sandstone buildings. Very beautifully built. Stepping inside, your eyes are immediately drawn to the double volume ceilings and the gorgeous exposed wooden beams.
This double volume theme follows through the whole hotel. Back to stepping in…. On the right of the entrance is the reception desk where you will usually find the GM, Duane, sitting or standing, working furiously on some or other project for the hotel. Duane has been with Afrique almost since its inception and has grown substantially in his career, having recently received his Masters Degree in Food Science. (So proud Duane) Walk in a little further and you will see the most fabulous open plan farm kitchen, where guests are welcome to sit around and chat to the chef while he is “cheffing” . I love this interactive feature. Straight ahead is the formal lounge, with big puffy leather couches and a giant fireplace that feeds both the lounge and dining room with much welcome warmth, especially at this time of the year. Now there is this guy, Jackson, who triple triples as the porter, waiter, entertainer and sometimes assistant night manager, who will be waiting to welcome you, grab your bags and take them to your room. Jackson is also studying to be a Wine Sommelier (for us plebs, that means a Wine Steward ) and I can say with confidence that he is going to be fabulous. He is an enthusiastic young man who is excited about what is happening in his life and he is just such a happy smiley nice guy. Because Afrique is a full service hotel, you can order room service any time of the day or night and more than likely it will be Jackson who will bring you that late night hot chocolate. So after Jackson showed me to my room, I had enough time to have a look around and take some night time photos.
The Hotel has 15 luxury rooms and each one is unique, classic and beautiful. Nafsika has gone to great lengths to find just the right pieces for each room. Like me, she LOVES antiques, so each room has unique, one of a kind antique cupboard, desks, bedside tables and stunning Persian and Arabian carpets.And the beds…. all extra length king size with all the lovely stuff like the best linen and bedding to give one the most comfortable sleep. The bathrooms too are just as stunning. Again, each one different but all with Nafsika’s signature touch. Ball and claw baths, big spacious showers, antique vanities…. My bathroom was separate to my room, but some of the other rooms have an open plan bathroom with a screen separating the bathroom from the bedroom. Oh, and by the way, all the rooms have stunning views over the Botanical gardens…
So hurrying along……the food. Oh MY GOODNESS!! Michael, our chef, pulled out all the stops. I would like to think it was only because I was there, but I have it under good authority that this is normal for Michael We had biltong and cream cheese parcels for starters, perfectly prepared lamb shanks and roasted vegetables for main and the most delicious tiramisu for desert. I could hardly walk back to my room!
So what makes this establishment so special? Well besides the fact that the buildings are great, the rooms and décor are stunning and the food absolutely superb, I have to say, as I always do, it boils down to service and guest experience. The level of professionalism of the staff is what makes or breaks an establishment. Nafsike has made careful and calculated choices when choosing her staff and THIS is what makes Afrique Boutique Hotel one of the most popular accommodation establishments in the area. Thanks to Nafsika, Duane, Michael and Jackson for hosting me. I had a fabulous time. For more info and to book, contact them directly at www.afriquehotel.co.za or check out their FB page… https://www.facebook.com/AfriqueHotel/?fref=ts (some photos courtesy of Afrique Hotel Ruimsig)