The darling of Plettenberg Bay hospitality, the eponymously named The Plettenberg, has updated its old world glam in a recent refurbishment. The five-star Liz McGrath Collection hotel has overhauled its newly renamed Garden Room, Blue Room and Villas to embrace contemporary cachet whilst retaining tasteful charm.
Situated on a rocky headland, The Plettenberg is gifted with the most spectacular site overlooking the ocean and offers the best 270-degree view in the bay. It was the site itself that provided the inspiration for the new interior direction. One of the main aims of the revamp was to bring the Garden Room and Blue Room up to the minute and create continuity throughout, as the previous style of these rooms was not in keeping with the rest of the hotel.
The interior redesign was headed by the daughters of the late and much-loved Liz McGrath, Lesley Kelly and Susan Nathan, who co-own the hotel along with their brother Michael McGrath, the Liz McGrath Collection’s current chairperson. Lesley and Susan add their aesthetic style to all three of the group’s hotels, including the Marine in Hermanus and the Relais & Châteaux Cellars-Hohenort in Constantia. The duo has had extensive experience in interior design through developing their own luxury properties and from their many years of travelling and experiencing other five-star hotels around the world, and have lent their expertise to crafting the new look at The Plettenberg.
The aptly titled Garden Room looks out on to the natural fynbos and rocky coastline of the “garden route” as well as the cultivated hotel garden directly beyond its windows. The focal point of the room is undoubtedly the magnificent view from Robberg to Nature’s Valley and the mountains in the East.
The room was previously decorated in a more subdued style that, according to the sisters did not do it justice. The new direction they undertook entailed uplifting the fabrics and accessories and the addition of a striking botanical wallpaper that makes an undeniable statement in the room. It provides a bold counterpoint to the sea view that surrounds it.
The sisters wanted to create a feeling of “the beach, the sea, vibrant life and a huge vista. It’s a special room to soak up the view of the beach, mountains and ocean, so a strong wallpaper was selected and accentuated with white pots and lush indoor plants, and cream sofas with lovely turquoise cushions,” they explain.
“We work with all the top fabric houses in the country – Mavromac, St Leger & Viney, Black Fabrics, Home Fabrics and Halogen,” the sisters state. “We had a particular success with Gail Butler from Halogen on this refurbishment project,” they acknowledge.
The revision optimises the room’s incredible assets and the end result is a peaceful space to enjoy High Tea, cocktails, or a light lunch. Day visitors are most welcome to make use of the room, which is equipped with WiFi.
As for the update to the hotel’s other common area known as the Blue Room, the sisters wanted to create an inviting zone to relax in that carried a dynamic sense of life and leisure. A striking and strident blue now sets the tone here.
“We decided that because The Plettenberg has the most spectacular site overlooking the ocean, we would introduce the wonderful colours of the sea and the Plett skies. These same colours are reflected in the suites and rooms throughout the hotel, where turquoise tones and blues prevail.”
“We took our inspiration for the very strong cobalt blue from a famous hotel in Capri where the colours used are very similar to the darker seas in Plettenberg Bay,” they explain.
Although the Blue Room doesn’t have a sea view, it immediately feels fresh, modern and inviting. The cool, contemporary look-and-feel is in complete contrast to the older antique English appearance it had previously.
Away from the all-access rooms, the new interiors of the private Villas are awash with the hues of the ocean and offer stand-out views over the bay. Here, calmer and more soothing sea tones predominate.
In total, the entire redesign took eight weeks to complete and the Villas are now open for booking. The successful revitalisation of the hotel in this inviting contemporary language has reconfirmed The Plettenberg’s reputation as one of the standout destinations of South Africa’s East Coast.