The Secret to Shangri-La
South Africa, Limpopo; If the rat-race is wearing you out and you need a break not too far away from the city, possibly with the kids in tow, then Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa (a mere hour outside Johannesburg and 14km from Modimolle) has everything you need and much more.
Named for a fictional, mystical place described in James Hilton’s 1933 novel, Lost Horizon, Shangri-La is synonymous with this hidden paradise – permanently happy and isolated from the outside world. Shangri-La means “the place of eternal youth”, and once you’ve entered the magnificent and impressive archways of this jewel in the Waterberg, time stands still and you are assured of leaving refreshed and restored. This Limpopo-based secluded sub-tropical paradise in the heart of the Bushveld offers all the amenities and cheerful service you’d expect from a four-star property – without the hefty price tag.
The hotel, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, is the ideal destination for families, offering child-care facilities, family-friendly restaurants and numerous activities for both young and old.
If you need to unwind, book a treatment in the spa or relax on a lounger on the pool terrace. Located at Shangri-La’s iconic sparkling pool, the Spa forms part of the relaxation area. Offering two calm treatment rooms – one customized for couples – guests can expect a range of services from an enticing variety of massages and skin and body care treatments, in beautifully soothing surroundings which will ensure a deeply enjoyable experience.
The hotel provides a unique country setting for your destination wedding, with an appealing brick-face wedding chapel, a variety of romantic venues to host your ceremony, and a myriad of hidden garden nooks and Bushveld backdrops, including the impressive Jacaranda Lane, offering excellent opportunities for capturing your special day.
Shangri-La offers modern and well equipped conference facilities on site, boasting three charming venues – an ideal place to foster creative and productive events. The wide selection of facilities and break away venues make company team-building experiences a worthwhile investment.
Another unique aspect is the hotel’s fenced game breeding programme. Guests are spoilt with views of springbok, impala, nyala and rare breeds of antelope. A hike to the majestic 350-year-old wild fig tree, situated on the outskirts of this earthly paradise, makes for an exhilarating outing for the entire family.
Up for something energetic? Then grab a tennis racquet or head for the onsite volleyball court, take the kids for a game of putt-putt within the hotel grounds or go for an early-morning run along one of the trails. Other family-friendly activities include a snooker table (pool) and a giant outdoor chess set.
For the more adventurous, there’s game viewing, zip-lining, 4×4 trails, hot-air ballooning, horse-riding and abseiling in the area which enjoys a mild year-round climate. Nearby Modimolle has numerous historical places of interest and Bela Bela, just under 25km away, is renowned for its therapeutic hot springs, spa and endless fun in the Forever Resorts Warmbaths water park.
During the school holidays, Shangri-La is offering supervised children’s activities to entertain the young ones. Budding junior chefs can don their chef whites and join a Junior MasterChef Class to learn how to conjure up delicious dishes, guided by the in-house culinary team. For the adventurous, there’s action cricket, touch rugby and action soccer. Other fun activities include clay building, “eye-spy”, painting, marshmallow golf, musical chairs and much more. In summer there are swimming pool games which are ideal for keeping the youngsters busy in a safe monitored environment.
At night, kids join in the a la carte dining experience which includes a selection of themed dinners including Greek, Chinese, Italian and braai evenings. If you want some alone time, book a child-minder to look after the little ones while you indulge in a romantic candle-lit dinner and the children are treated to a kiddies’ movie night to watch the latest animated and family-friendly blockbusters, complete with popcorn, sodas or pure fruit juices for the health-conscious parent. Child-minders can also be pre-arranged for day-time baby-sitting duties, or to watch over youngsters in their dedicated children’s room, which is equipped with toys, the latest X-box, beanbags, a flat-screen TV, loom-bands and colouring books.
Families are accommodated in one of four family units, which have adjoining rooms for children, king-sized beds for the adults, showers or baths. Two of the family rooms have prime positioning near the game camps so you can see the antelope, indigenous Boschveld chickens, monkeys and baboons from the wide colonial porch. Besides the wildlife, the hotel’s resident water-loving Labradors and coy cats provide endless amusement and occasional friendly companionship.
Another fantastic family activity or dreamy couples outing is the highly recommended star-gazing in the rustic amphitheater or cosy boma. Wait for the stars to come out and showcase the Southern Hemisphere’s striking Milky Way; from the Southern Cross to Orion, depending on the time of the year, guests young and old will be amazed. The setting of both venues is on the edge of Shangri-La’s main building and the only light is the low gloom of a sombre fire that crackles in the background, while the sounds of the vervet monkeys, meerkats and owls creates the mood of being in the heart of Africa.
With three concurrent TripAdvisor Awards of Excellence in 2013, 2014 and this year (for consistently high ratings from its travelers), as well as two 2015 provincial Lilizela Tourism Awards for Service Excellence (including Best Visitor Experience), the hotel has recently undergone extensive refurbishments to its main building, which include an nguni-inspired promenade, a sun deck, cellar, an additional 100-seater restaurant aptly named The Bellows, the Baroque-themed Heritage restaurant and the intimate Barry’s bar.
For cocktails and pre-dinner drinks, head for the cosy Barry’s Bar amid antique furniture and oil paintings, or the sociable wooden deck, which provides seating among the treetops. This is the ideal spot for socialising over cocktails, exploring their Diners Club award-winning wine list, or for after-dinner cognacs and nightcaps. The hotel also boasts a beautiful wine cellar.
Afternoon tea, champagne breakfasts and light meals are served on the patio, while the more intimate Heritage Restaurant offers lunches and sumptuous dinners for up to 40 guests. In the morning, the Bellows Restaurant – a spacious, sunny venue with a big roaring fireplace, serves hearty traditional South African and Continental breakfasts.
Unwind, relax and reconnect at Shangri-La – where you can well and truly push the snooze button on life and leave refreshed and rejuvenated.
The following Family Package, which includes kiddies programme activities, is available during the October and December school holidays:
Pay only R2290 per family per night inclusive of dinner and breakfast in a two bedroom Family Room, offering one main bedroom, sleeping two adults, and an inter-leading single bedroom for one child. (School holidays: 2 – 12 October 2015 / 11 December 2015 – 11 January 2016)
For more information and to book, call Shangri-La direct on (27) (014) 718 1600; email email@example.com or visit http://www.shangrila.co.za . Visit the Facebook page and Follow on Twitter
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