Sticky koesisters, authentic Cape Malay curry and gorgeous harbour views
Windtown Lagoon Hotel
Worship wind, water and wellness at South Africa’s first boutique kitesurfing accommodation in Langebaan
When Martin asked his friend Suzette, owner of the Windtown Lagoon Hotel in Cumbuco, Brazil, whether she might need a general manager for her soon-to-be opened hotel in Langebaan near Cape Town, he was only partly serious. Little did he expect that Suzette would offer him, a young Dutchman, and his girlfriend, Freija, jobs almost instantly. As fate would have it, in March 2011, only four months after the employment contracts were signed, the duo headed to the rainbow nation to open the first boutique kitesurfing hotel in South Africa, Windtown Lagoon Hotel.
As professional kitesurfers themselves – they met each other on Dutch waters in 2005 – running the upmarket accommodation in Langebaan, an internationally recognised ultimate kitesurf hotspot, was a dream come true.
"It’s nearly always windy here and the water is relatively shallow and warm,” sums up 28-year-old Martin when asked about the reason the West Coast locale has become so popular. A mere 120km away from Cape Town – roughly 1.5 hours drive (a feasible day trip from the city) – the lagoon’s azure waters and white sand beaches make for the ideal holiday destination for those wanting to learn to kitesurf, those who already can and even those who’d rather just appreciate the tide’s ebbs and flows from a safe distance.
“Next to land being far more affordable here, Langebaan is also the ultimate spot to learn kitesurfing in South Africa,” adds Martin. This doesn’t mean that Langebaan isn’t suitable for professional kitesurfers. “You should see this place from December till February – that’s when all the international top kitesurfers come out to practice their newest tricks, shoot promotional clips and videos.”
While Langebaan already counts several schools and accommodation options for surfers – predominantly backpackers - the Windtown Hotel offers not only a place to stay and sleep but also endows the town’s collection of B&Bs, hotels and self-catering houses with a truly new dimension. “Our guests are active people of all ages who have a subtle preference for kitesurfing and windsurfing and who can afford just a bit more luxury than what a backpackers provides,” explains Martin.
Moreover, the ‘truly new dimension’ of this new hotel in Langebaan is clearly visible in the interior and design of the resort, which was completely built from scratch.
All natural products and tropical woods intermingle to create the hotel’s stylish character, and the resort’s layout lends itself to relaxed, laidback and accessible social gatherings. Though, the resort offers not only accommodation, but also a fine-dining eatery called Breeze Restaurant, a water sports shop where you can buy or rent the newest gear, a conference venue as well as a spa and sauna.
The hotel offers 28 beautifully decorated and fully-equipped rooms, all facing the terrace and pool area. The terrace is where the guests come together to discuss the swell, share stories and dip in the pool; moreover, it’s where visitors can have the occasional braai and (regular) cocktails. Rooms vary; options include either single, double or triple beds. Children’s cots are also available in this child-friendly hotel. All rooms come with a spacious en-suite bathroom, TV and free Wi-fi (limited to 100MB per day). Prices for rooms range from R850 for a single room in high season to R1000 for a room with a double bed. Prices in low season range from R550 (single) to R1000 (triple room).
The unique concept and set-up of the Windtown Hotel is carried through to their in-house Breeze Restaurant. “The restaurant has received an overwhelming positive response from guests and locals thus far,” Freija tells us; likely a nod to the fact that the eatery is the only fine dining option in town priced affordably. The chefs are all trained and coached under the Dutch Michelin Star chef Paul van Waarden, and the menu is ‘designed to suit most tastes with both specialities and local, seasonal delicacies’. ‘Just let the breeze carry you,’ reads the motto.
“The healthy element of food plays an important role in our kitchen too,” adds Freija. The extensive wine list complements both the lunch and dinner menu perfectly.
Guests can order a two-course meal for R140 and can indulge in the culinary luxury of a three-course meal for just R40 more. Starters include fresh oysters, tuna sashimi and duck liver crème brûlée. Not to mention, how does fresh kingklip, ostrich steak or Asian prawn curry sound for a main? All fish on the menu is caught fresh from the ocean a mere 150 metres away from the restaurant. The desserts on the menu are (more than) worth mentioning: coconut panacotta, chocolate cake (let’s forget healthy for a second) and the exotic Malibu marinated pineapple. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner both for hotel guests as well as for those not staying at the resort. Don’t forget to try one of the cocktails while lounging on one of the comfy loungers on the terrace – the colourful concoctions go extremely well with the interior and the vibe.
Learn to surf @ Windtown
Never seen a kite, surfboard or a SUP before and on your way to stay in Langebaan? No problem whatsoever: Windtown offers daily lessons for beginners and seasoned water enthusiasts. Their qualified instructors offer professional sessions varying in time from one-hour lessons (R200) to a complete two-day course (R1700). If you really want to master one of these water sports there is also always the option of an intensive private lesson (R500 per hour). Prices include all equipment needed.
In addition, Windtown offers a special series of lessons especially for girls wanting to learn how to kitesurf: Kitechix. In 3-5 days Freija teaches participants all the basics, tips and tricks to becoming a professional kitesurfer – just like her. More information about the regular Kitechix weekends can be found on www.windtown-sa.com.
Interested in more quirky places to stay just outside of the Mother City? Read our overview of unusual places to stay in Cape Town and surrounds.
Also, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, join our Google+ circle and check out our Pinterest boards for updates. Not to mention, subscribe to our newsletter to keep up to date with what's hip and happening in our pretty city.