Grootbos Forest Lodge

Grootbos Forest Lodge: Our full report

Rooms
16 suites
Traveller's rating
Excellent (100%) From 4 reviews
Children
Best for aged 12+
Open
All year

Grootbos Forest Lodge is set within an impressive old milkwood forest within the small, but pristine Grootbos Nature Reserve. It bills itself as a ‘a masterpiece of sophisticated contemporary design – within a five-star eco-paradise‘, whilst attracting visitors for the nature on its reserve and in the ocean at the bottom of the hill.


Tucked away amongst the knarled and twisted boughs of the milkwood forest, the Forest Lodge does have quite a magical situation. It has been constructed with some elegance and style using plenty of local sandstone and sustainably harvested timber – on a hillside which is close to its old sister lodge, Grootbos Garden Lodge.

The spacious and very contemporary main area has a bright and airy interior, with floor-to-ceiling windows along one side, giving magnificent views over the fynbos-covered hillside, down to the dunes, across Walker Bay and, on a clear day, to Cape Point.

At one end of this is the activity centre and curio shop. Centrally located is the welcoming reception and then heading off to the other end is a cosy sunken lounge and bar with a fireplace and books. This is a great spot for pre- or après dinner drinks. At the far end, the dining room offers a culinary feast at each meal time. During our most recent stay, in May 2014. we found the food at Grootbos to be excellent.

Outside are two verandas: one overlooking the substantial pool with comfy loungers, and accompanying panoramic views; the other leading out from the dining area where you can eat al fresco.

Forest Lodge has a subterranean wine cellar near the dining area with a very fine selection of climate-controlled wines – mostly South African – and no main lights, just halogen shining on the wine bottles. In the centre of the room is a large dining table, which would look spectacular when lit up with candles for a special function or dinner.

Beyond the main lodge, winding brick pathways lead through the dense, tangled ancient milkwood forest – which must surely have been the inspiration for some sylvan fairytales. Carefully built amongst the trees are 16 luxurious suites. These are spacious, with a bedroom, a separate lounge, a bathroom and an outside veranda.

All suites are equally equipped and furnished, with just one exception, the honeymoon suite, which provides your own private pool. Natural textures and colours characterise the suites, as well as pictures of fynbos flowers, giving them a natural chic, modern feel.

In each suite, a large bed dominates the bedroom with ornamental mosquito nets draped from a wooden frame suspended from the ceiling. From here you can lie back and take in the super views through floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors that open onto the private veranda with outside shower.

The light, open-plan bathroom has a sandstone-tiled floor with underfloor heating. It has a double shower, bath with a view and twin basins, all white with modern chrome fittings.

The lounge has comfy sofas and chairs, a large wooden table and a TV and DVD player, and a warming log-burning stove. Large sliding glass doors open onto the side section of the veranda. Off the lounge there is also a second smaller bathroom with a toilet and a shower.

In the entrance lobby, beside the front door, is a shelf with a kettle, tea and coffee (including a cafetière), some cutlery and glassware, a jar of freshly made biscuits and a bowl of fresh fruit (replenished daily!). Below this shelf is a stocked minibar.

All suites have AC/ heater systems, underfloor heating, electronic safes, bathrobes, slippers and a wide selection of toiletries.

Just like its sister lodge, the Garden Lodge, many activities are included when you stay at Forest Lodge, including horse-riding, walking and 4WD tours around the reserve, land-based whale-watching, beach picnics, guided cave tours and a trips to see some of the lodge’s social responsibility projects. For more details of these, and some other activities which are possible but cost extra, see the activities at Grootbos Garden Lodge; they’re the same at both lodges.

Our view

Forest Lodge is a very adult, smart lodge in a magical settling. It’s a well-run place where you can just stay to enjoy the lodge, but you can also dip into some excellent guided activities. Relative to most places in the area it’s costly – but meals and most activities are included, and we think it’s worth it if you’re looking for an interesting and high-quality place to stay.

Geographics

Location: Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, South Africa

Ideal length of stay: 3–4 days is ideal for a relaxing stay with time to sample most of the activities on offer here.

Directions: From Cape Town, take the N2 past the airport to Somerset West. Either follow the N2 over Sir Lowry's Pass turning on to the R43 after the Houhoek Pass, or take the R44 along the coast and turn onto the R43 to Hermanus. Drive through Hermanus and continue on the R43. The turn off for Grootbos is 13km past Stanford on the left-hand side. From the Garden Route: The N2 brings you west past Swellendam and Riviersonderend. Some 10km past Riviersonderend turn on to the R326 to Stanford. At Stanford turn left on to the R43. Grootbos is 13km from Stanford on the left-hand side.

Accessible by: Self-drive

Key personnel

Owner: Privately owned by Michael and Tertius Lutzeyer.

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: The dining experience at Forest Lodge was outstanding. Some of the ingredients used to prepare the delicious menus are even homegrown organic products.

On our last visit, in May 2014, breakfast consisted of a full buffet of cereals, muffins, fruits, yoghurts, cold meats, cheese and smoked salmon, as well as a choice from a wide selection of hot breakfasts, including eggs Benedict, omelettes and pancakes.

For lunch there is a salad bar as well as a choice of four hot dishes and a pudding. We enjoyed a tasty chicken Caesar salad followed by a fruit platter..

Dinner is an activity in its own right – a four-course extravaganza! There are two or three choices for each course but as an example of the top cuisine here, one evening meal that we thoroughly enjoyed consisted of a snoek paté starter (a local South African fish), followed by butternut and cinnamon soup. We then had a delicious seafood tagliatelle with prawns, fish, mussels and calamari in a creamy tarragon sauce. This was rounded off with an indulgent chocolate fondant served with vanilla ice cream.

Forest Lodge also has a decent wine list to accompany the food.

Dining style: Individual Tables

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included

Drinks included: Not included

Further dining info: No

Special interests

Honeymoons: Grootbos Reserve’s Forest Lodge is set in a very special forest. Bringing you close to nature, it’s an excellent inclusion for a honeymoon to South Africa – with plenty of space for romantic strolls on an empty beach, as well as horse-riding and even whale-watching.

See more ideas for Honeymoons in South Africa

Beach holidays: Sandy beaches and clear water make Grootbos an ideal location for unforgettable beach holidays in South Africa. Not only for relaxing, but also for more or less highly adventurous activities as horse riding, whale watching or the thrilling shark cage diving.

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Birdwatching: Grootbos is a great place for birdwatching in South Africa. The variety of flora lends itself to plenty of bird species including a real range of sunbirds, Cape sugarbirds, black harriers, Cape bulbuls, kites and kestrels as well as many others.

See more ideas for Birdwatching in South Africa

Riding holidays: Whether you would prefer a leisurely ride through the Grootbos Reserve with stunning views on the Southern Cape mountains or a rapid gallop for more experienced riders on the sandy beach, Grootbos offers you 20 well-trained horses from their own stable.

See more ideas for Riding holidays in South Africa

Wildlife safaris: Grootbos has its own water-based ‘Big 5’ which can be observed either by boat or from the shore. You may see African penguins, dolphins, Cape fur seals, right southern whales and even great white sharks.

See more ideas for Wildlife safaris in South Africa

Walking: Grootbos is set in the smallest of the world’s six floral kingdoms, the Cape Floral Kingdom, numbering approximately 9,000 species. Explore this unique flora on walks through the reserve or the coastal area, and don’t miss the fynbos ecosystem and ancient milkwood forests.

See more ideas for Walking in South Africa

Luxury: For opulence and exclusivity amidst natural surroundings, spend a few days at Grootbos Forest Lodge. The deliciously meals here use often organic, locally-sourced produce. Meanwhile activities are run by experienced guides who can help you to understand the local environment and ecosystems.

See more ideas for Luxury in South Africa

Children

Attitude towards children: Grootbos Forest Lodge does not accept children under 12 years. Children of all ages are accepted at Grootbos Garden Lodge.

Property’s age restrictions: No children under 12

Special activities & services: There are no facilities for children at Grootbos Forest Lodge, but the swimming pool is an attraction for older children. There is a wide range of children’s activities and services at Grootbos Garden Lodge.

Equipment: None

Infrastructure

Power supply: Mains Electricity

Power supply notes: The socets here are made for South African plugs with three round pins; adaptors are available at reception.

Communications: There is a direct-dial telephone in each suite as well as a computer jack. The whole lodge has complimentary WiFi and there is good cellphone reception in the area.

TV & radio: There are TVs with DVD players in each suite as well as in the main lodge area.

Water supply: Mains

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: No

Medical care: There are doctors in Gansbaai (5km away) and a hospital in Hermanus (20km away).

Dangerous animals: Low Risk

Security measures: There is 24-hour security on the entrance gates and various guards on night patrol around the lodges.

Fire safety: Each suite has a fire extinguisher and others are located in the main building.

Extras

Disabled access: In Place

Laundry facilities: There is an extra charge for laundry. Approximate cost is R20 (just over £1) for a pair of trousers or a shirt and R5 (about 30 pence) for underwear and socks per item.

Money: Forest Lodge can change money on week days only.

Accepted payment on location: Grootbos accepts Visa, MasterCard and Amex cards as well as cash in South African rand.

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