We recently visited the Garden Route and found ourselves in Knysna for the night, in need of a place to stay. So we checked TripAdvisor, as one does, to find ourselves a trusted guesthouse.
Villa Paradisa is a name that consistently appears when searching for accommodation here and, according to the app, it is one of the best places to stay in Knysna. And what a great recommendation that was. Hosts Marilyn and Martin, Knysna locals of 30 years, are the owners of this exquisite luxury guesthouse that offers expansive views of one of my favourite towns in the country.
There are four suites on site, all lagoon-facing and each with a different theme. All the luxury mod-cons are prevalent throughout including reliable WiFi and DSTV, but the real catch is the location – you’re right on top of the hill facing the natural amphitheatre.
Something that I really enjoy is that personal touch you get when visiting a guesthouse – something a hotel does not and can not have. It just adds such a great element which is what we found at Villa Paradisa. Upon sharing a glass of wine with Marilyn and Martin that evening, we were told fascinating stories about the Garden Route town. From the mysterious forest woodcutters, to the elusive Knysna elephants, to an account of a lost place very deep in the forest; observed to look almost iridescent with brilliant colours caused from intriguing light patterns. A beautiful and puzzling place that has never been found again.
After our glass of wine we headed out to one of the most well-known restaurants in the area, The Olive Tree. Situated on the main drag, the bistro also offers a personal touch from hands-on owners – a neighbourhood favourite. This quality is one of the reasons why I love Knysna so much, the spirit of hospitality is seemingly second nature to locals. At The Olive Tree, you are treated to a generous chalkboard menu consisting of familiar favourites prepared from fresh and seasonal ingredients.
It was with sadness that we left Villa Paradisa the next day, our excellent hosts really did make us feel at home – Martin is a whizz in the kitchen and cooked us up a mean breakfast before we set off on our next adventure. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay there and would recommend it for local and international visitors to Knysna who are seeking a true luxury experience with a personal touch.
Where 9 Watsonia Street, Knysna
Contact +27 82 495 2221, www.villaparadisa.co.za
Photography Warren Fleming