If you're doing the Garden Route or having a bit of off time in Plettenberg Bay, you have to stay at Lairds Lodge… here's why..
During the PharSide SA Road Trip, you may remember after Day 2 the mission of a day we had, we pulled up to our sanctuary… Lairds Lodge.
Situated only 8kms outside Plettenberg Bay, South Africa off the N2 towards Knysna being just another 21km's further, it's far enough to be away from the hustle and bustle that most of city dwellers yurn for, and close enough to nip right back into town to enjoy everything that this amazing place has to offer. This was my first time to Plettenberg Bay and without a doubt, it certainly won't be the last, I now have found the place that I want to live if I ever decide to move back to SA, this place is possibly the most stunning part of South Africa, so much that our plan was to only stay one night, although when we found out about everything that can be enjoyed down there and the hospitality that Lairds Lodge had to offer, we landed up staying a second night with absolutely no regrets whatsoever…
Lairds Lodge is a quaint country house which is nicely secluded for those who just want to get away and relax to the max. We arrived a little late the first night that we missed dinner by a long shot, which I would come to deeply regret when we tasted the dinner the following night. We were met by our main man, Jabu who showed us right to our chalet without having to go through all the usual rigmarole when you arrive at a hotel, which was brilliant because I probably would have passed out at the check-in counter if we'd pulled into a Holiday Inn and it probably wouldn't have just been our bags that would have been lugged up to our room. Jabu insisted on grabbing our bags and opened the door where both the Jen and I had a simultaneous "Oh wow" moment. Let me tell you, this place is plush, the attention paid to finer detail is unsurpassed to any hotel/lodge I've ever been too. Put it this way, a few months earlier, I staying in a $600 a night executive suite of the Hilton Hotel on 6th Avenue, New York, and this place makes that seem like a cockroach infested cheap ass dodgy motel that you see in the movies. It's as if each rose petal had been strategically placed on the bed covers with a nicely decorated piece of home made fudge placed on the pillows screaming out to get demolished… yes, not even that kept me awake thanks to the super comfortable kingsize bed that, when you lay in it, your body stayed behind but your spirit sank softly as if dissolving into the bed.
Whilst I sat in the court yard in the warm bright sunshine enjoying a healthy, fresh and extremely tasty breakfast, after sleeping like an absolute baby the night before, I got to gaze out watching horses in a field just across the driveway, where the only thing that flows through your mind is, "How awesome is this" a moment when you think, how the hell did I land up here, in a good way of course You get your own personal bit of wildlife too as we had a local monkey parking on the wall watching us as if he was the papparazzi.
The staff are extremely knowledgeable in the huge list of activities around in area and Lairds stocks a full set of brochures of all the places to visit such as visiting the beaches; the Tenikwa Cheetah Sanctuary; the Elephant Sanctuary and of course the worlds highest bungee jump at 216m high… Broukrans Bridge just to name a few. Our waitress even gave her personal experience of the jump, see what I meant by knowledgeable
There is one thing that I noticed about the staff at Lairds which is extremely rare, it makes for huge points in my books which I'm sure it does for a lot of people. I'm not sure how the management get it right, but it really comes across that the staff are extremely happy to be working there, no lies. The staff are extremely warm and friendly where it seems they really want to help you. How often do you go somewhere where you can easily see right through the fake smiles and fake attitudes from the staff where you can see its just a job. Definitely not the case at Lairds, because it seems like one big happy family run business where even the person with the smallest job has a percentage stake in the business so they treat it like their own. How often do you go somewhere and see the staff putting on the five star service act, only to catch them out the corner of your eye acting the total opposite of the way they were towards you minutes earlier, I usually pick up on this very easily, I don't like fake, and if there's one thing I can say about this place is that I did not once see that here. The service was like I'd never experienced before, to the extent that sometimes, I didn't feel worthy of it, it's truely an experience that I imagine only the Queen herself experiences on a daily basis, because at Lairds you honestly get treated like royalty.
The dinner for me was a unique experience in itself. You place your orders during the day although when you sit down for dinner, you can see why. You don't sit at individual tables, all guests are seated around one massive table, again as if you were a royal guest at Buckingham Palace. The starting course is served along with drinks with a wide variety of premium quality wines to choose from, the guests are slightly quiet at first since not everyone knows everyone, however as if without fail, as people get through the first bit of the starter, comments on its quality start ringing out as if it was planned to get all the guests familiar with themselves. For the mains we selected the Kudu fillet which is not "made to order" but "perfected to order", its not often that I ask a waiter to please thank the chef but those Kudu fillets we're cooked to exactly how I liked them better than I could ever dream of doing myself. The desserts were created with such fine attention to detail as if they were a work of art, I wouldn't have been surprised if I went into the kitchen and found some famous chef at work. We had an awesome evening chatting away with the other guest most of which, funny enough were from the UK on holiday in SA, it was great to hear about there experiences of South Africa and their holiday in general. The setting was definitely a new experience but turned out to be a great one at that, it's a brilliant idea.
Sound impressive, it was, as you can tell I was truly blown away by the place, I've never been treated so well anywhere before and I don't think there is much else that could beat it. You'd expect that after everything I'd told you that this would be ridiculously pricey, tha'ts just the thing… it's not, compared to other places in the area, it's very reasonable however if very budget accommodation and all the nasties that come with that are your thing, then you'll probably find that too, I can't say it would be as good as an experience as this though.
Lairds really prides itself in what they do and how they do it, I give them full points for it. They've got me hook line and sinker because there's no other place I'd stay other than there the next time I'm down there… why would I? I think you should go there to experience what I experienced.
There is only one complaint I have about Lairds Lodge…. and that is, that we eventually had to leave…
For more information on Lairds Lodge check out their website at www.lairdslodge.co.za