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By Brendan Seery

Deputy Editor

The Loft a perfect base to explore Knysna

There is something soothing about watching the light seep away over a body of water in Knysna.

Familiarity breeds contempt, so they say. That’s why I’ve always been a bit grateful we never had enough money to consider buying a “holiday home” down at the coast.

How on earth could you go to the same place every year, or multiple times a year, and not get bored? I’ve been waiting for that feeling to come over me whenever we go back to Knysna. But, so far, in more than 18 years, there is still something about this Western Cape town and its surroundings, on the beautiful Garden Route, which reminds me there are few better places for a holiday.

This time, the reminder came as we sat in our room at The Lofts boutique hotel, watching as dusk fell over the lagoon and the water calmed. No wonder, I thought, that artists like Constable favoured painting ships and waterborne settings.

There is something soothing about watching the light seep away over a body of water. The rooms at the top of The Lofts are a fairly strenuous climb up three flights of stairs, but the effort is forgotten when you see the view … in our space, there were large windows on two sides.

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No- one to the side or above meant it had the privacy of a penthouse.

That was another surprise about The Lofts – you felt you were somehow cut off from the busy rest of Thesen Island. That’s not my favourite place because it tends to be packed with rich Joburgers and Cape Townites in their fancy cars and poser designer clothes.

Picture: Brendan Seery

We opted to eat our breakfast and supper at The Lofts, rather than go to nearby restaurants on the island or in town – and what a clever move it was. The menus are simple, but the food is excellent and the cherry on the top is that the dining area is in a space called The Atrium, which, as its name implies, is high-ceilinged (it is effectively between two arms of the hotel) and airy. Often, I think, boutique hotels try too hard to be clever and quirky with over-the-top interior design.

The Lofts gets it just right – and when you sit in The Atrium, you get a sense of confidence … that this is a place that makes its case for quality in a quiet, restrained manner. The hotel was the perfect base. In the two decades, we have been going there (visiting family mainly), we keep discovering new things.

You have the indigenous forests of the Tsitsikamma; the youthful energy of Plettenberg Bay; the mountains; some of the best beaches… And further afield, you encounter dramatic scenery around every corner. For the more energetic, this is a mecca for mountain biking, and running anywhere is a pleasure because of the views.

You can hike, sail, canoe, swim and windsurf. And there are restaurants and places to shop when you still have big-city urges. To mangle a famous quote about London by writer and essayist Dr Samuel Johnson: If a person is tired of the Garden Route, then that person is tired of life… v The Lofts Boutique Hotel is a member of Cape Country Routes. www.capecountryroutes.co.za

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