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Tech Meets Nature In the Most Spectacular Way At theLAB Robertson Guest House
Fully automated rooms, phone-charging menus and solar-powered energy
You’ve just woken up from a great night’s sleep. The first thing you do is switch on the coffee machine. Then open the blinds, flip on the lights, and turn on the shower … all without leaving your bed. No, it’s not an episode of The Jetsons. You can get a taste of the future of accommodation right now, in the charming countryside of Klaas Voogds West (just outside Robertson), of all places, at theLAB.
THERE’S MORE (MUCH MORE)
Besides the nifty room automation system, other draw cards for theLAB Robertson guesthouse include solar energy, a wellness centre, high-tech conference room, on-site winery, abundant birdlife and glorious views of the surrounding hills, mountains and farms.
“You get the full package,” says brand marketing manager, Martine Naber. “What brings people here is the hospitality, the eco-friendly practices, room automation and the beauty of Robertson; it’s a magical place. Plus, there’s a lot to do in the area. People want an experience.” And an experience is what you’ll get.
YOUR WISH IS ECHO’S COMMAND
“We want to show our guests what the future looks like and we want them to have fun with it,” says Naber. The room automation system (Amazon Echo) at theLAB is the star of your stay and is incorporated into each of the modern, minimalist-styled rooms.
The LivinAfrica Box (i.e. LAB) is at the centre of their room automation and is hidden in the ceiling of each room. Guests can control the functionalities through buttons, switches, but most importantly (and you’ll have the most fun with this) through voice commands. Shout out some commands, such as “Echo, turn on the TV”, “Echo, make me coffee” or “Echo, what’s the weather forecast for Cape Town?”
THE BREAKFAST MENU IS A PHONE CHARGER
Choose between the single, double, deluxe or superior rooms. The superior rooms have their own private jacuzzis (and a few have a fireplace). Every room has its own patio, a majestic view and an all-day soundtrack of birds chirping, as well as a TV with access to Netflix, a coffee machine and an honesty bar fridge.
In the morning, the restaurant serves a buffet breakfast of cereals, fruit salad, yoghurt, bread and cheeses. You can also order warm meals like French toast or bacon and eggs off the menu. If you forgot to charge your phone during the night, the menu holder also serves as a power bank.
The breakfast room has an easy-to-use automatic coffee maker (with just a push of a button you have yourself a double espresso) and a Zümex orange juicer – chuck in a couple of oranges and you’re set for juicy goodness.
EXPLORE ON AN ELECTRIC SCOOTER OR LAZE ON THE DECK
After breakfast, jump on a nifty electric scooter or bicycle and go explore the surrounding area. There are wine farms, restaurants and farm stalls waiting to be discovered. If you’re feeling slow, take the Wine Valley Safari hop-on, hop-off bus, which has a stop outside theLAB. Other activities in the area include bird watching, horse-riding, hiking and river cruises.
Or stay put at theLAB. There’s wine-and-chocolate pairing at the in-house Rosendal Winery. The deck was made for lazy afternoons of basking in the sun with a drink in hand and watching the weavers flutter around the dam as they visit their nests in the reeds. Or, if you prefer, take your drink to the heated pool.
JACUZZI, SAUNA AND SPA PACKAGES
The wellness centre has a jacuzzi and sauna, and they offer a variety of treatments, from manicures to massages. If you’ve come with a special someone, there’s the all-inclusive couples destress day spa package, which takes place in a cosy treatment room with a fireplace.
The 16-seater conference room’s main feature is the impressive 55” Microsoft Surface HUB – a touchscreen, all-in-one digital whiteboard that runs on Windows 10. The room has everything you’ll need: plug points built into the table, high-speed wifi and Echo at your disposal. Plus, there is plenty of natural light, sweeping views and French doors that open up to the edge of the dam.
PLUS: IT’S ALL ECO-FRIENDLY (AND BASED ON A DOG)
Solar energy heats the water and is the source of electricity and there are friendly-to-nature products in the bathrooms and the spa. These are some of the ways theLAB practises a green way of life. They also reduce wasteful packaging by providing guests with wine, beer and drinks on-tap at the outside honesty bar, and filtered water in glass bottles is provided for free.
Other eco efforts include recycling where possible, free electric vehicle charge points, and theLab has a vegetable garden.
“We are serious about eco-consciousness, not just the commercial aspect, but to invest in the country and make guests aware of environmental issues,” says Naber. “We’re also measuring our energy consumption to optimise usage.”
Clearly, it’s not just cold tech, theLab has lots of heart, including the fact that the brand is centred around LivinAfrica Director Jos Balk’s beloved labrador Einstein (the motivation behind their logo), who died at the age of 16.
By Daryn Wood
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