Arniston is a place synonymous with tranquil weekends and pristine beaches. Or, at least so I had been told until I visited there for the first time last weekend.

And how right my friends were. The seaside Overberg town, declared a national monument, is the ideal weekend getaway destination for Capetonians with its rustic, fishing village charm and amazing sea views (just look at that sunrise photo further down the page).

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Can you feel it? That’s tranquility.
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If you hear or see the name Waenhuiskrans, it’s just another name for Arniston, literally meaning wagon house cliff in Afrikaans – drawing its name from a large beach cave big enough to fit in a wagon and a span of oxen.

The accommodation choice here was The Arniston Hotel, an internationally recognized four-star inn that we called home for the night. An idyllic location makes the hotel postcard-perfect and it lies barely a stone’s throw away from the shoreline, where waves from the Indian Ocean lap gently. Despite the fierce wind we encountered when arriving in Arniston, relaxation set in immediately. Our hotel room on the ground floor meant that we had a beautiful sea view and were but a few steps away from the beach. A glass of wine and a stroll on the beach followed shortly after our arrival before we hit the spa.

The Arniston Hotel in all its beachfront glory.
The Arniston Hotel in all its beachfront glory.

Ginkgo, the chain of reputable spas you may have heard of in Cape Town, has a location in the hotel. We visited for the current winter wellness special, which entails a 40-minute hot stone back, neck and shoulder massage, a 45-minute facial deep cleanse treatment including an added hair and scalp massage for R700. As far as clichés go, I truly did feel like a new man after leaving the peaceful utopia that is Ginkgo Spa. The sundowners we subsequently enjoyed from our terrace was the cherry on top of my first afternoon in Arniston.

Dinner is included in the current winter special along with bed and breakfast. Quite an impressive choice of meals can be ordered from the dinner menu; the two of us each went with a soup of the day, followed by a Thai prawn curry and linefish of the day dish (kabeljou) for mains, and a crème brûlée and malva pudding for dessert.  The restaurant has a certain romantic air about it and intimate couples sharing a bottle of wine on the night were in abundance. We were one of those couples.

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The rooms are light and airy, with a fishing village theme. You can find our magazine (Cape Etc) here!

Arniston is rugged at night and I say that in the best way possible. If you had to take away the hotel and small fishing community, the area would be as it was thousands of years ago – except for now the white-washed fishing cottages juxtaposed against the inky, star-filled sky.

Watching the sun rise from Arniston’s beachfront was awe-inspiring to say the least. We were up bright and early (read: before sunrise) to witness it. Breakfast is a buffet affair with the usual English and Continental trimmings you would expect at a four-star hotel. One hearty breakfast down and I was good to go exploring the Waenhuiskrans Cave, about a kilometer-and-a-half down the road. Insider tip for exploring the cave: go at low tide. We nearly got trapped by a very sudden oncoming tide while exploring the cave, which is only accessible by hopping over a few rocks at the water’s edge.

That amazing sunrise I mentioned.
That amazing sunrise I mentioned.

If you’re a couple, I’d recommend making the most of winter by heading south, literally, to The Arniston Hotel. Check out the winter special and Ginkgo spa special info here.

Where Arniston Bay, Arniston, Overberg
Contact +27 28 445 9000,[email protected]

Photography Bev Klein

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