I arrived at Silver Forest quite tired and travel weary, after a couple of weeks on the road scouting new places for my tour operator Slow Travel Africa. I had been invited to experience this new property as part of this tour, and I have to admit that I was fearing one of those non-stop hosted visits that leave you completely exhausted and gasping for air. How wrong I was!
I was greeted with a cool, wet towel, scented with lavender to awaken my senses, followed by a glass of bubbles. I was asked if I wanted to hop straight into the spa, but to be honest I didn’t want that experience to be rushed so I asked for a little time to rest. The schedule was quickly reshuffled, and I was whisked off to my suite and told that the butler would come later to make dinner arrangements. I opened up the large sliding doors to the verandah, and suddenly my room was a space in the forest where you could hear birdsong and watch the treetops. Pure bliss! Later in the evening, my private butler brought a light dinner and lit the fireplace. I felt like royalty.
The next morning, I opened up the sliding doors again and rolled out my yoga mat in the light morning breeze. I then padded over to the breakfast room, where I was greeted with a strong coffee, lots of fresh fruit, eggs Benedict and a glass of bubbles.
The owners of Silver Forest, Penny and Keith, wanted to show me around the area, and I reluctantly got out of my cozy slippers and into something more appropriate. But as owners of a boutique hotel and spa, they clearly know how to compose an interesting yet relaxing day out! A stroll through the beautiful gardens at Vergelegen, a spot of wine tasting and then an olive oil tasting at Morgenster (did you know that their olive oil is rated among the top 15 in the world?!), all within 10 minutes drive from the lodge gave me some serious neighbourhood envy. The afternoon was spent relaxing in the spa, with its inside and outside pools, steam room and gorgeous treatment rooms.
The property is set on the edge of Somerset West, but it feels like you are miles away from everything. Large trees surround the buildings, and clever design blend inside and outside space in an effortless way. You are pampered without being smothered, and it is impossible not to relax. I must say that Penny and Keith have managed a very hard balance in creating a stunning and luxurious property that is still affordable and relaxed. This is not a small feat in a market that otherwise seems to be either ultra high-end or rather no-frills.