I AM A VOUCHER KIND OF GIRL. ESPECIALLY FOR VALENTINES.

Groupon may have left the country, but I have definitely become a voucher kind of girl.

While Groupon made friends with bargain-seeking clients (who mostly stuck around for the one promotion) and made enemies of suppliers who were hung out to dry after massive discounts, there is another voucher scheme going. The old-school honest kind where you pay a specified amount and receive a great experience in return. Simple always win.

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5 TIPS FOR VALENTINES DAY

  • DONT, I repeat DO NOT, buy roses. Any florist out there will tell you (or maybe they won’t) that roses are heavily marked up for Valentine’s day, because of demand and supply issues.
  • Instead of buying cut flowers, why not invest in a  flower or other plant – plant it together, say a blessing and watch it grow as you shower it with water and love throughout the year. Married couples, we know you are in for the long run, so invest in a beautiful fruit tree. If married life gets tough you will always have lemons to go with the Tequila.  Click here for 24 Glorious Ways To Drink More Tequila.
  • Home-cooked breakfast in bed is always a good idea. Same goes for lunch or dinner.
  • Buy each other vouchers – it may seem less romantic but hey, what if she really needs a pair of Woollies knickers more than a box of imported chocolates?
  • Gents, I have three words for you: Massage, massage, massage. If food is the way to a man’s heart, so do the words massage and Spa light the flicker of love in any girls eye. Stress not if this is not your area of expertise because once again the lovely voucher comes to mind. For great Valentines Spa ideas, click here, and yes,  vouchers are available. Always.

Happy Valentine’s to all, and let the secretive planning be part of the fun.

Want to feel the love with us @guvonhotels? See our Pinterest board for inspiration:

www.guvonhotels.co.za | www.guvonspas.co.za

HOW TO BE THE BEST FATHER XMAS EVER.

In an age of less is more, I am still astounded by the number of friends who rent storage for the one-half of their possessions that don’t fit into their house. I bow deeply to the Millennials who have a pack-up-and-go lifestyle, and I get really grumpy at old school corporates who do not understand that most businesses can run on a bit of trust, Skype and WIFI.

Gearing up towards Christmas Day the question of Christmas gifts rears its ugly head.

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Wall Street Journal recently reported that “more than 20% of returns happen during the holiday season—about $60 billion in merchandise, according to Optoro, a logistics provider. The U.S. Postal Service handled 3.2 million returns in the two weeks that followed last Christmas and said there will be even more this year. United Parcel Service Inc. expects to handle four million returns the first full week of January, up 15% from two years ago as online sales continue to grow.”  Although these are American stats, South Africa is surely short on the heels of its international counterparts.

With so many unwanted or unfit gifts being returned, we surely need to reassess what and why we are giving gifts?

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, known as “The Minimalists” to their 4 million readers, help people live more meaningful lives with less. They share some valuable tips on minimalist gift-giving:

Joshua explains: “I tend to avoid physical gifts, but I still enjoy participating in the holidays. I now give gifts of experiences, charitable donations, or, if I give material goods, I give consumables, such as a bottle of wine or a bag of coffee from a local roaster. It must be something someone can use, or, if it’s an experience, it’s a memory that can be shared, from concert tickets to an evening of watching the sunset together. It sounds cliche until you actually do it, and then you realize it’s great.”

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Being part of the hotel and spa industry certainly has its perks. Nothing fills my heart with more joy than enjoying a chilled glass of Chardonnay overlooking the mountains and dams, relaxing into a Spa treat, or just nibbling on something as simple as a snacky Ploughman’s Platter with the sounds of a waterfall close by. Would I choose any of the above instead of another set of wine glasses? Or another photo frame? Hell, yes.

So before you test your road rage levels and parking warfare skills, ask yourself if an online Spa/hotel voucher (or even a movie ticket, for goodness sake) would not be better for your own sanity and those around you. I hear a resounding yes all around.

Happy holidays and may the experience-gifting bring you much joy.

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http://www.guvonhotels.co.za | http://www.guvonspas.co.za

Click here to buy your Spa vouchers  | Click here to book now at one of eight Guvon Hotel properties.

 

Words: Christa Badenhorst | Group Marketing & PR |Guvon Hotels & Spas | Photo credits: @Four_cousins

Three luxury bush camp estates planned for Askari Lodge in Magalies.

Located on the magnificent Plumari Private Game Reserve at Askari Game Lodge & Spa, and ringed by the breathtaking mountains of the Magaliesberg, Ukuphila is set to become a leading destination for Gauteng investors and bush enthusiasts alike.

Giuseppe Plumari, CEO of Steyn City Properties and owner of Plumari Private Game Reserve has a dream: to create and share a space where families can take time out from the bustle of Johannesburg and experience the glory of nature together. It’s a dream based on his own experience as a young father, when he would bring his children to his farm, the Plumari Private Game Reserve to have a break from city life.

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The establishment of Ukuphila, a development presenting 75 luxury homes in three well- appointed  camps, has brought that dream to fruition. “This is a first,” says Plumari, noting that the 4 000ha reserve is one of the only Big Five game farms in Gauteng. What’s more, at only an hour’s drive from Johannesburg, Ukuphila is easily accessible, even for those who can snatch only a day away – holidaymakers would have to drive for at least three hours to experience a game viewing destination offering an experience of the same quality. “What makes this place truly special, however, is the fact that most Big Five reserves in the area don’t allow children. In contrast, Ukuphila is all about family. We love the fact that children will learn about nature here; hopefully, we will play a role in nurturing a passion for conservation amongst the next generation of South Africans,” says Plumari.

He reports that careful thought has been given to the planning and construction of the new private bush camps at the game reserve so that it has minimal impact on the land. This pertains to the aesthetic of the homes, too: DBM Architects, who were charged with creating a look and feel for the homes, have applied their ample experience in lodge design to come up with an organic, earthy style which sits softly on the soil.

DBM Architects’ Wynand du Plessis explains that the design takes inspiration from the Transvaal farmhouses of old, which have been reinterpreted in a more contemporary manner. “Ukuphila’s homes aren’t drastically different from the charming old houses in surrounding towns like Hekpoort – think thick stone walls, corrugated iron roofs and wraparound stoeps,” he comments, “but the use of modern materials, like exposed timber trusses and rough-hewn wooden beams, freshens the look.” The design is not only ideal for the environment; it’s also particularly well suited for the climate.

The homes have been positioned to ensure prime views and privacy and may be configured to suit each homeowner’s specific taste. Thus, although architectural guidelines are in place to protect the integrity of the estate and the environment, certain elements may be adjusted; homeowners may select their own colour schemes, for example, and may specify the number of rooms.

The homes – which measure up to 360m² on erven of up to 1 125m² – are designed around a central entertainment hub with open plan kitchen, dining room, lounge and bar. “This forms the core of the house, making for special family moments,” Du Plessis says. The hub opens out onto a wide veranda which is literally part of the bush, thanks to the absence of fences and gates. Again, homeowners can customise this space with the addition of a fire pit or infinity pool.

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The bedroom pods, separated from each other by courtyards, lead off the entertainment hub. Each boasts its own separate entrance, outdoor shower, en suite bathroom and wooden deck. The modular design of the hubs is a special feature, making it possible to isolate part of the home – perhaps to be used by different families holidaying together, or maybe to be rented out to other holidaymakers, creating a passive income stream for homeowners.

The homes are found in three groups of 25, in small nodes especially chosen for their sweeping views. The sites – Kudu Creek, Thorntree Hill and Magaliesview – have their own singular character and atmosphere, since the sheer size and diversity of the Plumari Private Game Reserve means that it is possible to experience many different types of vegetation and scenery during one game drive.

Although game drives are one of the major attractions at this one-of-a-kind reserve, other pastimes are available. Outdoor activities such as target and clay pigeon shooting are on offer. A world class equestrian centre is planned, while Poplar Country Village – another future attraction – will feature a microbrewery and artisanal food market. A breeding programme, established for such rare species as golden wildebeest, adds an extra dimension to an already special destination.

Guests will, moreover, be able to enjoy the four-star facilities of the luxurious Askari Game Lodge, located on site. These include a restaurant, pool and spa facility and, for those who have to mix pleasure with business, a fully equipped conference centre. The property also has its own chapel, making it ideal for weddings. Another highlight is the Plumari Museum, with exhibits tracking the history of the area, from the earliest inhabitants of the Magaliesberg to the brave Voortrekker Boers who established the first farms in the region.

The presence of Askari Game Lodge is significant for another reason, too: it is possible for homeowners to add their bush homes to the lodge’s pool of accommodation, providing yet another avenue for revenue.

“This place has always been a haven for my family, and we are looking forward to sharing its peace and the wonders of nature with others who love the bush as we do,” Plumari concludes.

 

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Press release issued  November 2016 on behalf of the Plumari Group by Marie Yossava | Grapevine Communications | http://www.grapevinecommunications.co.za

For further information, contact Daniela McCormick on 011 431 4092.

For images, contact Christa Badenhorst on christa@guvon.co.za

SUNDAY NIGHT SECRET GETAWAYS WITH SPA TREATS – ASKARI LODGE & SPA.

Sunday nights are quickly becoming my favourite for little weekend getaways. You still have the whole of Saturday and up to Sunday lunch to sort out the boring detail of shopping, cleaning and all related domestic dread. And then off to a lovely destination for a lazy Sunday afternoon, a relaxing Sunday evening and dinner somewhere fancy.

We all get Sunday night blues and this little adventure totally bypasses the blues. Most hotels are open for breakfast from 7h00 onwards and if they are not, arrangements  can be made for a little take away breakfast pack. Trust me, nothing beats getting to the office on Monday morning (still in time, off course), knowing that you have just had a mini weekend breakaway.

START YOUR WEEK IN LUXURIOUS STYLE WITH THIS FANTASTIC SPA BREAK OFFER

Package includes:
– One night in an Executive Room
– Complimentary access to all spa facilities
– One hour treatment per person
– Dinner for two and breakfast

Please note: If a Deluxe room is available, we’ll upgrade you, with our compliments.

R1580 per person

www.askarilodge.co.za | www.askarispa.co.za

Contact us: Tel: (014) 577 2658/9 | Email: spa@askarilodge.co.za
Central Reservations: 08611 48866 | cro@guvon.co.za

Terms & Conditions:
Valid Sundays | Terms & Conditions apply
Bookings essential | Subject to availability | All rates are inclusive of VAT
Packages and promotions non-commissionable

52 PLACES IN 52 WEEKS. A BMW-ER TEST DRIVES ASKARI LODGE.

Starting this fresh Monday morning with a lovely guest blog by BMW biker Stuart Crous: onmybmw1200gs.  It is his mission to visit 52 places in 52 weeks and share his experiences with us about  food, accommodation and general comments. 

 

“We found this gem by absolute chance. We were just out riding through Muldersdrift and Hekpoort when we came to a t-junction in the road. Left to Magaliesburg or right to Hartebeespoort, we decided to go left. About 3 kms down the road we came across a large Askari Game Lodge signboard and decided to take a look, we have never been allowed in at game lodges before as the bike is either dangerous or noisy. We got to the main gate and asked if we could go in as we wanted to go for breakfast at the lodge. To our surprise they allowed us in.

imageSo we took the ride up to the main lodge, on the way we were able to see many buck, zebra, giraffe and we even saw 2 elephants drinking at the watering hole. WOW what an experience our first viewing on the BMW GS. We got up to the lodge very excited and talking about this unique experience not knowing what else Askari has to offer.

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We were then shown where the restaurant and spa was situated. We were taken back in time to the Voortrekkers with the Ox wagons surrounding the restaurant. They also have an old museum in a barn with numerous old wagons and carts.

The breakfast was a delight at R225 per person for a full buffet and we sat outside on the patio and enjoyed the view. We only realized afterwards that this was a very popular wedding venue and couples select Askari to get married at because you can have your photos taken with these beautiful huge elephants. They also have a nice selection of accommodation available from self catering, to garden cottages and deluxe suites. Check out the Askari website for details.”

 

Blog and photo credit: https://onmybmw1200gs.wordpress.com/2016/09/11/askari/

WARTHOGS PET-FRIENDLY BUSH CAMP – A SHOWSTOPPER AT THE WEDDING EXPO.

“We were not prepared for the tremendous response we received this past weekend at The Wedding Expo”, says Christa Badenhorst, Group Marketing Manager of the Guvon Hotels and Spa group. “Collaborating with the SA Guide Dogs Association, we created a genuine showstopper of frolicking puppies and gorgeous Golden Retrievers who guided their owners along the Wedding Expo isles, with cute wedding signs around their necks”.

Warthogs Bush Camp just outside of Magaliesburg recently opened its doors after a refurbishment and the announcement that this small bush camp will be pet-friendly, has been received with huge excitement from the general public.

Wedding Expo guests were delighted to know that their much-loved pets can now be part of their wedding ceremony as a ring bearer. Excitement mounted as brides starting to realize that  ”Save the date” photos and engagement shoots with their pets in tow, now is a real possibility.

Warthogs Bush Camp just outside of Magaliesburg lends itself to family gatherings, weddings, and action-packed weekends filled with nature-themed activities such as trail runs or mountain biking. Tucked away in the Magalies meander, an hour’s drive from both Johannesburg and Pretoria, Warthogs Bush Camp has 10 chalets accommodating 20 people sharing. The ambiance of the dining area, outside lapa and rock pool allows you to escape the buzz of city life and enter the tranquil African bushveld.

Big 5 game drives and Spa treatments are available from our sister property, Askari Game Lodge & Spa just 2km down the road. Warthogs itself has a selection of Kudu, Blesbok, Rooihartebees and off course warthogs. Bird clubs love this venue with its dedicated walking routes and often book the entire lodge for birding weekends.

Guest staying at Warthogs Bush camp are welcome to enjoy Askari Lodge’s Big 5 game drives and Spa facilities although pets will not be allowed on the property as it is a fully fledged Big 5 game lodge.

“We recommend that camp exclusivity is taken by guests which opens up a world of possibilities for your weekend, as the dog breeders clubs and dog trainers can vouch for”, Badenhorst noted. She further urged dog owners to keep an eye on their pets as on any farm or bush camp, there are snakes at the lodge.

Badenhorst hinted at a future collaboration between themselves, the Wedding Expo, The SA Guide Dogs Association and suppliers in order to offer an all paid for wedding for sight-impaired person in the coming year. More info about this exciting initiative will be released once plans have been finalised.

For fun pet posts and Pins, do join the Warthogs Facebook page and visit our “The pleasure of Pets” Pinterest board!

All Guvon Hotels properties were present at the Wedding Expo offering their excellent wedding services to prospective brides and grooms:

 

 

 

 

 

WHEN CUPID STRIKES AT ASKARI LODGE. ELOISE CUPIDO TIES THE KNOT.

Tune into Top Billing on SABC 3 on Sunday at 12h30 for Eloise Cupido’s wedding that took place at Askari Lodge & Spa in June.

We share the sweet love story of South African actress Eloise Cupido and her man, Chris Wilkinson:
When you are on a plane, you’re mostly hoping the person next to you respects your elbow room and doesn’t step over you seven times to visit the bathroom. What you don’t count on, like actress Eloise Cupido, is that you’ll end up marrying your fellow passenger.
The couple decided to tie the knot at this Magaliesburg game lodge, half a world away from Auckland, New Zealand where groom Chris Wilkinson is from and a far way from the Klein Karoo where the bride grew up.
Elouise Cupido

Making her television debut years ago on SABC’s Vetkoekpaleis, today Eloise is a presenter, MC and voice artist who’s written and produced her own album. Chris is a mineral exploration consultant who struck gold in his fiancé. Eloise had never been up Table Mountain so that’s where Chris proposed.

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When Chris first Googled Eloise, he hit the jackpot while his online presence was non-existent. So it has stayed – and their differences work! When it came to a venue, the             Big 5 Askari Game Lodge & Spa offered to host the wedding and did a top job.

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To view more real life weddings at Askari Lodge and other Guvon Hotel venues, visit our amazing Pinterestboard:  https://za.pinterest.com/guvonhotels/real-life-weddings/

For more info on weddings at Askari Game Lodge & Spa – click here

Tel 014 577 2658 | http://www.askarilodge.co.za

WHEN A WEDDING TAKES YOUR BREATH AWAY.

Every now and then I receive wedding images from photographers who’ve done work at one of our lodges. All weddings are beautiful, but some just take your breath away, like the wedding of Natalie and Jako. The lovely couple got married at Askari Game Lodge & Spa in Magaliesburg and spared no effort in the detail and planning of the day.

To view the wedding photos and some insider secrets to the wedding, have a look at the article which appeared on the SAweddings.co.za website:  http://www.saweddings.co.za/articles/inspiration-51/real-weddings-53/natalie-jako-216

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The photos are courtesy of: www.trompievanderberg.co.za

For info on our wedding specials, Bush boma weddings or forest weddings, contact the Lodge on Tel 014 577 2658 | www.askarilodge.co.za

11 OLIFANT FOTOS

FRIDAY IS BRAAI DAY!

I have this little jingle running amok in my head. It may have something to do with the fact that its a Friday, almost lunch time and that I am looking at pics of the new Bush Braai venue at Askari Game Lodge in Magalies where we spent a gorgeous lazy lunch last week this time.

After an eventful game drive where I almost landed on our MD’s lap after misjudging the game drive vehicle’s force going downhill, we ended at a breathtaking clearing a few kilometres from the main lodge. The Bush Boma is in  forest and  red rocks from the farm have been used to demarcate the area with a hip-height wall all around. The fire pit is surrounded by cut tree trunks and benches – a lovely rustic set up inviting you to sit down and immerse yourself in the stillness.

Our lunch consisted of a simple gourmet burger selection, fresh from the grid, and the most delicious pancakes, berry coulis and cream dessert. (Confession time: I had two. So did the GM from Fairway Hotel).

The Bush Boma area will be the venue of choice with year end functions coming up and GM Graham Shipway explained that braai and spitbraai menus would be more suitable for this venue. When booking the Bush Braai for a year end function, a portion of the menu price will go toward the Askari Rhino Fund.

The Bush Braai and game drive package is available for overnight as well as day guests and pre-booking is essential due to the limited number of people the  area can accommodate.

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Before you light your braai fires at home tonight, have a look at our Proudly SA Braai Pinterest Board for some great ideas. The Bacon wrapped corn is on my wishlist – what a delicious treat for braai!: https://za.pinterest.com/guvonhotels/braai-proudly-south-africa/

 

Enquiries:  www.askarilodge.co.za | Tel 014 577 2658 | reservations@askarilodge.co.za

 

 

 

 

ASPIRATIONS IN THE SPA WORLD? WHO DO YOU CALL? GUVON ACADEMY.

On a cold and dreary day like today with temperatures carelessly hovering around the six degree mark, a Spa seems to be a really nice place to work. Surrounded by soft music, beautiful fragrances and people talking in low whispers as to not to disturb the peace, beats any other office environment hands down.

Guvon Academy now offers Spa training for existing Spa staff who want to add to their skills, as well as anyone who wants to train as a therapist.

The huge interest in the hotel industry for staff wanting to upskill as Spa therapists is evident in the first student intake of 40 students, ranging from Mount Grace, Glenburn Lodge & Spa, Kloofzicht Lodge & Spa, Askari Game Lodge & Spa, Rosewell Spa and Valley Lodge.

Training is provided by the bubbly and energetic Donna Lira who is passionate about the Spa and training industries and places great emphasis on the need for therapists to be multi-skilled.

In a tight economy with job creation at its lowest in all times, it is comforting to know that all learners have the opportunity for practical experience within the Spa workplace at Guvon Spas.  Should a position be available to be employed by Huvon Spas on successful completion of the training, there is the added opportunity to grow within the group.

Training takes place at the Guvon Academy, based in Muldersdrift at Glenburn Spa or alternatively at Donnalira Academy based in Weltevreden Park.  Learners may attend the location which is most convenient.

The Spa courses can be completed on a full time or part time basis: Full Time is available for learners that can attend on a daily basis and prefer structured classes.  Part Time & Modular Training programs allows the learners to continue at their own pace while still providing a learning pathway to the full qualification.

The training is perfect for learners who want to enter the Beauty Industry, or therapists that are in full-time employment and wish to expand their skills. With both the Full Time & The Flexible Learning programs the training consists of contact tuition with a practical and theory component as well as self-study & self-assessment.

HOW TO ENROLL: Contact Sonia at Guvon Academy for further information:

sonia@guvonacademy.co.za, academy2@guvonacademy.co.za or (011)668-1621/8 -079 772 6886