Garden Route - Which Place to Stay?

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Jan 27th, 2006, 12:39 PM
  #1
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Garden Route - Which Place to Stay?

Hi,
My boyfriend and I are planning to spend 4 nights in Knysna to be centrally located during the Garden Route. We are looking for accomodations in March and at this point in time the following locations have confirmed they have availability. I am having a hard time finding information. Anyone have any knowledge of these places?:

Lakeside Lodge
www.lakesidelodge.co.za

Blue Oyster
http://www.blueoyster.co.za/

Tides End Manor
http://www.tidesendmanor.co.za/index.htm

Paradise Found
http://www.paradisefound.co.za/

Any input or further suggestions in the $150 a night or less range (450 Rand PER NIGHT PER PERSON) would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks!
laosa13 is offline  
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Jan 27th, 2006, 12:51 PM
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Hello,

I don't have any personal knowledge of these particular places, but I'd recommend taking a look at the Portfolio Collection, www.portfoliocollection.com -- there are a huge number of small guesthouses and boutique hotels which offer a lot for your money. I spent a month in SA staying only in Portfolio properties and was never disappointed by the service or the calibre of the accommodation.

Cheers,
Julian
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Jan 28th, 2006, 02:39 AM
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The Portfolio site is good as they rate their accom places and only recommend ones that meet a certain standard. Recommendation though would be to have a look at the Portfolio site and choose a few but then go into the actual web sites and talk direct to the owners, we saved ourselves a bucket load of money as the Portfolio group add their commision. By dealing direct with the owner also we seemed to get a much quicker response and were provided info like airport pick ups etc which Portdfoilo does not do (unless they have changed in 12 months)
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Jan 28th, 2006, 02:43 AM
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I want to echo Julian's and Karen's advice. We spent most of our 5 weeks in South Africa (in May/ June 2004) staying at properties we found via Portfolio Collections. We did exactly as Karen suggests and used the PC site to create a shortlist which we then narrowed down by visiting the direct websites for each property and contacting the owners directly.

This is worth doing for two reasons - firstly the rates and descriptions on Portfolio Collections are often out of date and secondly, I found it possible to negotiate substantial discounts with most places by dealing directly with them. Note we were travelling in low season - I doubt this would be so successful in busier times.

It also made it possible to ensure rooms met our requirements - we wanted bathrooms with baths as well as showers, we needed a bed with no footboard as my husband is 6 foot 6 and finds these very uncomfortable and so on...
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Jan 28th, 2006, 02:47 AM
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Hello,

In my experience, the rates are sometimes lower through the Portfolio website and sometimes lower if you book direct -- it seems to vary from property to property. In particular, more expensive properties often have lower rates through Portfolio than they do on their own sites.

In the high season there usually isn't much difference between the two, but in the low season it is worthwhile to negotiate directly with the owners.

Cheers,
Julian
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Jan 28th, 2006, 03:40 AM
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I agree with the comments made above, however you'all rave about the portfolio book, why not support it by booking through it? Being thrifty is wise, but for the sake of a few pennies keep the resource alive .........?
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Jan 28th, 2006, 11:45 AM
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laosa13,

My husband and I spent 2 nights at the Tides End Manor Guest House in Knysna this past October. It was a lovely experience, nice rooms, OK bathrooms, large lounge and breakfast room (and any kind of english breakfast you would like). Comfortable outdoor tables and chairs to have your breakfast coffee or afternoon tea. There's even a high patio overlooking the lagoon (we had a wine and cheese picnic up there one evening, while watching the sun set over the water). The owners Jeanne and Ranald were very good hosts. Just be sure you don't get the room with the sunken tub in the corner of the bedroom, unless you like soaking after a long day - we preferred the shower.
We would stay there again on a return trip. It's also pretty central to Knysta and the good places around the town. The manor is a bit tricky to find at first - it's located in a gated community - the gate house will check with the owners before letting you in the first time, then you'll have a key. We phoned Jeanie just before arriving, so they were expecting us and watching for us. Best wishes for a wonderful trip. Don't forget to stop and wander through the very interesting native market by the side of the road on the way to Cape Town - lots of fun things.
- Joan
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Jan 29th, 2006, 01:30 AM
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MKhonzo
The rates I got were nearly always 50%, sometimes even less than 50% of the published PC price so it was definitely not a few pennies.
If it had been just a few % in it I'd have been inclined to book through them but...
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Jan 29th, 2006, 03:49 AM
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Wow kavey, that is a rip off, thanks for adding that to the stream,
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Jan 29th, 2006, 04:33 AM
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To be fair, it's not as black and white as that. Because we were travelling in LOW season many of the guesthouses in question didn't have any other guests or if they did they were still operating at very low occupancy.

Although PC shows high and low season rates for some places, I think even the low season rates are intended to cover periods that would be busier than our May/June visit.

I contacted owners directly and sent a very personal and detailed letter telling them a little about us, about the special (and rather longer than usual) trip we were doing and about our budget. I said that whilst I appreciated that their property was not in the budget category would they be able to meet our rather low budget levels given the low season. I made sure to reassure them that whilst we might be travelling on a backpacker budget for this trip that we appreciated the finer details of their property and would certainly take care of their property whilst staying with them. This very personal approach, with each letter written specifically for that guest house, elicited very positive results hence such a huge price differential between PC prices/ normal prices and what we paid.
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Jan 29th, 2006, 05:48 AM
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Actually, having made that claim, I think it's more accurate to say we paid 50-60% of the PC rates, not 40-50%.
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