Snapped is a companion piece to the hugely successful, "I turned away and she was gone"
Romans Villa is for luxury, micro-celebrations + private beach walks
5-room romantic hideout where “people come to fall in love”
The smell of ocean and fynbos, an uber-luxurious environment, hosts who go all out to deliver a bespoke experience for two (like an intimate wedding), plus a beach so private you could skinnydip is what makes Romans Villa Guest House Gansbaai’s best-kept secret.
Proof of its romantic capacities is a guest book filled with heart-warming reviews and tales from local and international couples. So much so the owners have affectionately dubbed the boutique guesthouse as “the place you come to fall in love”.
THERE’S A PRIVATE BEACH (& AN OUTDOOR JACUZZI)
One of the most seductive arrows in its quiver has to be the private beach. Because Romansbaai is surrounded by the estate, it’s practically exclusive to its residents and guests. “It’s always quiet here,” explains Nynke. “There are no guards or people to restrict you, so I always tell my guests to go and enjoy the beach.” And because the villa only accommodates children over 16, the home is always tranquil and peaceful.
The views are also spectacular. “From our property you can see all the way to Walker Bay, Betty’s Bay, and you can even see False Bay, Muizenberg and Cape Point, on a clear day,” she adds. Another thing: there’s a new spa that includes a jacuzzi set up in aromatic fynbos, where couples can have an intimate and sensual hydrotherapy experience.
YOU’RE IN THE HANDS OF CONSUMMATE HOSTS
Nynke and Ernst Visser’s hospitality motto gezellig (Dutch for cosy and homely). If guests feel like sharing a glass of wine, the Dutch couple happily sit with them. Their personal touch also extends to the rooms.
The master suite is super-romantic with a fireplace, king-size bed (fine linen, of course), and art that reflects the colours of the coastline. All five rooms are en-suite with bathroom windows that look out onto the ocean, and four have an outdoor shower.
IT’S PERFECT FOR SMALL CELEBRATIONS
What many visitors don’t realise is that the estate also plans micro weddings and celebrations. “A lot of people have stayed here on honeymoon and say they wish they had known about our intimate wedding service,” says Nynke.
Nynke says it only takes a few days for them and their event planner to plan a celebration. “For one of our weddings she designed an archway, decorated with fynbos and proteas, made especially for the day. We borrowed our neighbour’s vintage, olive-green Land Rovers to transport the couple to the beach for their vows. Thereafter, our chef prepared a lunch in our dining area, where we displayed a collage of images of the couple and their friends who could not join them on their day,” recalls Nynke.
THERE’S SO MUCH TO DO IN GANSBAAI
The villa is close to Gansbaai, a 5-minute drive away. Next door to the estate is the Gansbaai’s 9-hole golf course. There are also excellent wine estates in the area, including Lomond, Paarden Kloof and Springfontein estates.
Gansbaai is one of the richest bays along the coast, famous for sharks and whale watching. There are also loads of outdoor activities, from a guided fat-bike tour over the De Kelders dunes or unchaperoned mountain-bike routes. A must-see for history buffs is the Strandveld Museum, which houses the largest privately-owned collection of relics from the iconic HMS Birkenhead shipwreck of 1852.
WITH ALL THAT ROMANCE, IT’S EASY TO STAY PUT
The private beach is a sandy stretch separated by rocky outcrops. It would be easy to find a nook to spread out a blanket and spend the day. You also could order a picnic lunch filled with goodies from the owners’ deli.
From June to October, simply open your room’s curtains and step onto the private veranda for a front-row seat to a mesmerising display of whales and dolphins in the bay. There’s also a pool with a wooden deck, furnished with teak outdoor loungers and a table of sunscreens and towels. Or soak up the sun and watch the sunset set with a glass of bubbly. Suites start at R3 000 per night, including breakfast.
THERE’S A RESTAURANT CLOSE BY
In Pearly Beach is a treehouse-like structure in stark contrast to the houses and nature that surround it. Known for its Asian-inspired sticky pork belly, English eggs benedict, charcuterie (procured from a local Italian family) and Bo-Kaap curry, Fynbos Deck Restaurant and Deli is a reflection of the owners’ love for travel and culture.
Request to be seated outside to watch the sunset. Standouts on the dinner menu include a beetroot carpaccio with candied walnuts and a plant-based pesto dressing, pan-fried line fish served on a bed of Parmesan basil mashed potato, seasonal greens and a piquant citrus salsa dressing. Don’t end the night without having the restaurant’s popular trio of two-bite-sized American-style baked cheesecakes, topped with a tart berry coulis.
THE FOOD CAN COME TO YOU
On special occasions, the guest house brings the best elements of its restaurant to the villa for a six-course, fine-dining experience. The menu includes dishes such as salmon and prawn verrine, wild mushroom soup, goat’s cheese soufflé, chicken roulade with creamed potatoes and asparagus, springbok carpaccio and white chocolate tartlets.
Alcohol pairings include wines from the estates nearby, but guests may make a request for their courses to be paired with gin, whiskey or craft beer, too. “We hosted a guest who only drank beer, so we created a menu that featured stouts, lagers, and ales to cater to his preference,” recounts the restaurant’s front-of-house manager.
ROMANS VILLA GUEST HOUSE
340 Oystercatcher Road
Romansbaai Beach & Fynbos Estate
+27 (0)28 384 0033
340 Oystercatcher Road, Romansbaai Beach & Fynbos Estate, Gansbaai
By Tracey Che King
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