"I love it", my 4-year-old daughter replied when I asked her opinion of the Point Hotel. I concur, the hotel offers views of the south Indian ocean, sounds of crashing waves & salty sea-air to suck into the lungs. It is situated on top of the best tidal pool in the world, a 5 minute walk from caves which our ancestors occupied 200,000 years ago, which lead onto an awe-inspiring cliff walk above the waves which relentlessly pound this brave sliver of land & the the Cape St Blaise lighthouse which warns ships of the dangers. The Point Hotel is the best kept secret in South Africa's hospitality industry.
The Point Hotel
Tel : 044 691 3512
Fax: 044 691 3513
15 May 2012: Louis Harris, owner of the Point Hotel, said that “2011 was an excellent year for us, with good growth over 2010’s somewhat disappointing figures; and now it looks like 2012 is going to be even better than 2011.In fact, if things keep going the way they are, we could even post record occupancies in 2012. We’re installing a gym and spa next to our business centre, and a Japanese garden outside the spa that will provide our guests a tranquil place to relax and rejuvenate. We’ve installed chic wooden flooring in the Lighthouse Restaurant, and redecorated it in a modern style that fits with its dramatic views over the ocean - and we’re also extending the restaurant’s patio to give our guests more space to watch the waves, and, of course, the dolphins and whales that so often swim past the hotel. Then were also repainting the exterior, and re-decorating the rooms: all of them have been fitted with flat screen TVs and new carpeting, and the first of the bathrooms have been upgraded. Judging by the plans, The Point is going to become a really attractive tourism hub, which is exciting because the Province recently gave it Icon status. Mossel Bay is already known as the Do Stuff Destination because it’s got so many unusual attractions and adventures, and these developments will provide even more incentives for travellers to extend their stays. And The Point Hotel - with it’s sea-front rooms and friendly, welcoming staff - is the ideal place for that.”
The Point Hotel sits on a finger of land sticking out into a wild south-Indian ocean, and is pretty easy to find, as you just keep driving until you get to the end of Mossel Bay (if it's night-time do the opposite to the ships & head straight for the lighthouse). On arrival we got a friendly welcome and there was some sherry available at the reception. In our room there was a welcoming bowl of fresh fruit and a little bottle of red wine.
This photo gives a good idea of how the hotel is built literally on the rocks, with the cliffs next to it, all of which creates the feeling of being away from it all. We were in Mossel Bay in December 2011 on board the MSC Melody (which is being replaced by the MSC Opera in South Africa's waters in 2012). I didn't know it at the time, but this photo I took has The Point Hotel in it - with the greenish bluish roof centre-right of the photo. To the left of the hotel and higher up the cliff you can see the Cape St Blaise lighthouse and below it the Cape St Blaise cave.
The Point Hotel is the best positioned hotel in Mossel Bay. Right next to the rocks and the sea one can suck in that salty air to one's hearts content. The hotel is positioned directly below the St Blaise lighthouse - there cant be many hotels which provide earplugs for when there are stormy seas and the foghorn is a bit loud!
Most of the rooms are south-facing, so you get a fabulous view away from the glare of the sun, and onto the endless expanse of the south-Indian ocean, and people playing in the tidal pool below. There are a couple of rooms which look onto the War Memorial, and have partial sea-views - these are decent enough views which beat what you can see from most hotels in South Africa, but pale in comparison to the south-facing rooms. All the rooms I saw had balconies, and a lot of time was spent just staring at the ocean and the waves crashing.
We reserved a family room, which consisted of 2 generously sized rooms, each with their own flat-screen TV & a doorway between them (so if the kids are too noisy, you can just close the door). There was a large balcony. I love the view at night, as the lights at the caves are on and there are lights shining on the rocks below - coupled with the glow of the sun having gone down, this is as good as it gets.
Our wily 15-month-old son mastered the art of opening the door to our hotel room, and we had a great ongoing game of him opening the door and us then trying to find where in the hotel he had wandered. At night I enjoyed falling asleep to the sound of the waves crashing on the rocks below. In the morning they put a flyer under the door telling us the day's minimum & maximum temperature, wind speed and whether it would be cloudy.
Working in the travel industry, we've been fortunate enough to be invited on a lot of cruises, as the cruise companies appreciate the publicity our reviews create. In the morning when she woke up, our 4-year-old daughter said she'd at first thought we were on a ship (with the sound of the waves breaking and the view of the sea outside our room, it's easy to think you're on a cruise ship).
The hotel was going through a refurbishment whilst we were there. The new rooms look fabulous - I thought the old rooms looked pretty good too! The thing is that the greatness of the rooms is all about the views.
We spent R295 for 5 days wifi.
In walking distance from the Point Hotel is the Cape St Blaise Cave. The cave is situated directly underneath the Cape St Blaise Lighthouse. The cave was first dug in 1888 by George Leith. It has deposits dating from about 200,000 years ago during which middens were laid down by Khoekhoen or San herders. The cave is also a popular whale watching spot.
The Cape St Blaise lighthouse has been helping ships avoid the rocks at the Point since 1864. It is still manned 24 hours a day. The lighthouse is open to the public & there is a restaurant from which you can take in the view.
There's a war memorial which is next to the Point Hotel. Unveiled in 1928, it commemorates Mossel Bay residents who died in the two World Wars, the Korean War, the South African Border War & the war in Iraq.
It's about a minute's walk to the tidal pool in front of the hotel - it's the best I've been in, and popular too. There were a number of people swimming in the pool. My 4-year-old daughter was thrilled as the waves crashed over the rocks filling it up with foam. A few ropes have been placed in it, presumably for people to hold onto to prevent being washed too far along the channel.
The pool is completely natural, surrounded by rocks on both sides, with 2 channels stretching across. The water is a goldilocks temperature - warmer than the sea in Cape Town but cooler than Durban, just right. The water gets progressively deeper from west to east. At low tide most of it is sand. At high tide you hear squeals of delight as wild waves crash into the rocks sending foam spray into the tidal pool. Some of the youngsters risk their lives trying to impress the gals by diving into the pools.
Breakfast was good. We let our kids run around - our 15-month-old has a habit of getting into dangerous places, to the concern of the management. I find that if you let them run around on their own for long enough, eventually somebody comes to look after them - thank you to the kind waitress who took up the parental duties allowing us a few minutes break to chomp on our food :)
Breakfast started with the usual array of cereals, yoghurts, cheeses. I was pleased that they have relatively large glasses, unlike the tiny little tot glasses you usually get at hotels (who think you're still on shooters from the night before). There was also a warm breakfast buffet consisting of sausage, bacon, scrambled eggs, baked beans, fried tomato, baked potatoes and mushrooms.
Regular readers know that I'm a fussy eater, but I found breakfast tasty and fulfilling. The baked potatoes could have been warmer, but that was probably as I got to breakfast just before they stopped serving.
There weren't many vegetarian options on the menu for lunch & supper, so we alternated between going to the Spur at Hartenbos (our 4-year-old daughter LOVED playing there and meeting kids her age) and ordering delicious Indian curries from the delivery service (caveat - it took over an hour).
The dining room at The Point Hotel has a stunning view, and you have the option of sitting inside or on the balcony outside.
The cliff walk past the Cape St Blaise cave and lighthouse is awe-inspiring. Next to the path is a sheer drop, at the bottom of which one can watch waves endlessly pounding the rugged coastline. If you're lucky you might see dolphins or whales, and there's an abundance of bird-life. There are also several smaller caves.
A HUGE thank you to Chantel for inviting us to review The Point Hotel, and Neil for showing us around. The staff were all very friendly, and we felt very much at home (I can understand why they invited us, if I had a place like theirs I'd also want to show it off!) Our whole family cant wait to get back and visit you again.
Written by Rob Baker
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