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Celtic Manor - reviewed by Helen Brain   
Thursday, 29 January 2009
The Dazzling View is Just The Beginning - Celtic Manor We arrived after an easy forty-minute drive from Cape Town. Gordon’s Bay is a strangely old fashioned place – away from the bustle of neighbouring Somerset West, it has retained its unsophisticated coastal holiday town charm. Not that Celtic Manor is unsophisticated. This four-star luxury guesthouse has everything a visitor could want. The staff go out of their way to be helpful and welcoming, but also know when to step back and be unobtrusive.
We were shown to our large, comfortable room. Direct access to our own garage made coming in and out easy. Not that we were going out. We were here to relax and to be pampered in the spa.

Privacy and perfection
A private balcony equipped with loungers invited us to lie down and relax while admiring the sea view. My husband, Luke, was recuperating from major surgery, and this was just what we needed – a calm, quiet place to sit, a sea breeze, and the ever changing ocean to remind us of how small our troubles are in relation to the vastness of nature. The view was so good that for once the television stayed off. Watching the goings on at the beach and yacht basin was enough entertainment.

The house is built on four levels down the mountainside, giving each bedroom an ocean view. A breakfast area leads into the spa and pool. The guesthouse has a large family suite as well as two luxurious self-catering apartments. The sauna and Jacuzzi are available to guests in the evenings, and to spa clients during the day.
To the spa!
The spa is decorated in Moroccan style, with earthy oranges and reds, wrought iron day beds to relax on, and Moroccan background music. It’s a busy spa, with three full-time therapists plus freelancers. I had a hot stone and Swedish massage, undoing the knots of tension in my neck and shoulders, and Luke was spoilt with treatments especially tailored to soothe his hands and feet, which had become numb and painful during his recent chemotherapy.

I wondered why the Welsh owners, Jane and Alan Otton had decided to decorate the spa in a Moroccan style, rather than keeping with the Celtic theme. The Celts were a deeply spiritual people, and I imagine that a spa decorated with soothing greens, ancient Celtic symbols and artwork as well as traditional music would make a stunningly different environment, but the Moroccan theme was also quite lovely.
Accommodating us for dinner and beyond
After our spa treatments it was time for dinner, served in a private dining room next to the bar. We were treated to cheese and onion tartlets in phyllo pastry with rocket and pepperdew, and fillet steak with lightly cooked vegetables. The chef went to some trouble to accommodate Luke’s tricky dietary needs, and we appreciated the attentive service. Diesel, the small, fluffy, and very appealing dog was especially attentive, sitting politely, but pleading with soppy eyes for a piece of steak when the staff had left the room. How could I say no?

It was a treat to fall asleep with the doors open to the night sky, and the sound of the waves breaking onto the beach far below.
Celtic Manor is an ideal place for a holidaymaker wishing to unwind. It’s close enough to Cape Town and the winelands for day trips, but the beautiful view and pampering staff will guarantee a relaxing stay for those who don’t feel the urge to explore.

Celtic Manor
22 Suikerbossie Drive
Gordon’s Bay
Western Cape

Tel: +27 21 856 1907

Helen Brain is a freelance writer. She is the author of over thirty children's books, many of them best sellers, and an adult memoir.
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