SCHOOL HOLIDAYS: FIXES FOR YOUR DILEMMA NEXT WEEK

As much as moms have a love-hate relationship with school holidays, I rejoice. No traffic between 7h00 and 8h00 on the roads. No road rage from sleepyhead mommies in PJ’s with bed hair. My colleague who usually manages to crochet half a blanket on her way from Pretoria to Joburg, is at work before she can untangle the wool. (Read more about our Blankets for Mandela day project)

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As schools close 31 March only to reopen again after Easter, the workforce sighs with relief. Moms, on the other hand, are getting slightly panicky, especially if they are working moms.

WE HAVE SOME SOLUTIONS TO YOUR SCHOOL HOLIDAY DILEMMA:

Take a midweek break and book into Bush Willow Tented Camp with the kids and husband in tow. Set on the Glenburn Lodge & Spa property, this tented camp is more glamp than camp – the tents are already there, equipped with beds, a toilet and small kitchen.  Even hot water is included. Bring the mountain bikes and do the beginners trail with the kids, or get dad to teach them how to fish in the Blauwbank Spruit.

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Should Muldersdrift  feel too close to home,  instead search for Warthogs Bush Camp on Google Maps. Just over an hour from Johannesburg and Pretoria on the outskirts of Magalies, this small Bush Camp allows pets. If Rover and little Ronnie is inseparable, this will bring you heaps of joy. Pets stay for free while humans pay a budget-friendly self-catering rate. Warthogs Bush camp is 2km from Askari Lodge and Spa, and on a Sunday you can watch the two elephants from a distance as they play in the dam in front of the restaurant.

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Glenburn Lodge & Spa has great facilities to keep the kids busy  on the hotel property and at GlenPalms: A putt-putt course, a dedicated games room, tennis courts, play park and obstacle course. Chalets provide a friendly family set-up with self-catering options,  its own braai facilities and a lovely patio, several overlooking the river frontage.

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If by the end of April your nerves are frazzled and you can’t wait to drop the kids with the friendly school teacher, book your Mother’s Day Spa treat. In sympathy, we’ve loaded the special on the website so long, and made it valid from 1 May, for the entire month. You survived the school holidays. You deserve it.

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Editors Note/ Disclaimer: Opinions are totally my own as far as children go. We clearly have something in the drinking water at  Guvon Hotels head office with three pregnancies on the go, so brace yourself for baby boom blogs and news over the next few months. Our latest newsletter even includes baby room decor tips with an Easter theme! Click here to read our Easter newsletter – bunny alert!

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Bookings: Central Reservations Office: Tel  08611 48866 | Email: cro@guvon.co.za | www.guvonhotels.co.za

 

ROMANCE DOES NOT TAKE A VACATION. MAYBE IT SHOULD?

Fresh from a date night last night with my one and only, reading Ane Malan’s article “Romance does not take a vacation” on Date Night Ideas SA, made me think.  The sentiment is a good one because love shouldn’t take a vacation. It should be an everyday bread-and-butter essential in your life.

Fast forward to the real world where your husband works 12 hour days and fills the rest of the time with some random sporty activity. The washing machine breaks and it seems that the ceiling is about to collapse. Sadly the blue colour on the Plascon swatch looks nothing like the real thing – the bright turquoise bedroom wall gives me a headache when I lie on my left side. These are the times when romance definitely is on vacation. Absent With Out Leave.

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Romance needs a vacation as much as slap chips need vinegar.  The one is unthinkable without the other. We need to get away to remind ourselves why we fell in love in the first place. Without deadlines and pressures, surrounded by a beautiful natural setting, we take a step back and realise he is still looking pretty good for his age. His jokes are still funny. And he brews a mean espresso.

Journalist Susan Haydn delivers a compelling argument for relationships in  5 Things you need to know to live happily every after. The take home for me is

“Make kindness the default mode. What you have is special and might not come around again, so guard it with your life.

With Easter around the corner, take your romance on vacation. Book that special getaway; lie down on a Spa bed and massage the cares away. Heck, even a picnic in your back garden with a string of fairy lights mimicking the view of Cape Town at night from Blouberg will do the trick. Take your love on a vacation. Something or someone worth this much is worth the investment.

Click here for Easter accommodation specials at Glenburn Lodge & Spa, Fairway Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort, Kloofzicht Lodge & Spa

For Easter Spa specials, visit www.guvonspas.co.za

(Click HERE to read the lovely “  Romance does not take a vacation”. )

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SURE WAYS OF FALLING IN LOVE WITH THE LOWVELD

Is the open road calling you? The peace and tranquillity at Umbhaba Lodge, along with the seclusion of the Lowveld provides a much-loved venue for short breakaways, especially as we head into winter, which is prime game viewing time in the Kruger Park.  With thirty suites each in individual style, many with open log fireplaces, ideal for those chilly winter evenings, Umbhaba Lodge should be tops of your stay-over list while in the Hazyview area.

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While the major tourist attractions such as the Blyde River Canyon, God’s Window, Bourke’s Luck Pot Holes and game watching in the Kruger Park, seems to steal the limelight while staying at Umbhaba Lodge, it’s worth noting that several waterfalls within the area, makes this hiker’s heaven.   The Lisbon Falls, Berlin Falls, Sabie Falls and Mac Mac Falls are all within 30 minutes drive from Umbhaba Lodge. Start your day with a hearty breakfast on the lodge stoep, strap on those hiking boots, pack a picnic lunch and head off in the general direction of Graskop for a day of scenic beauty.

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The Kruger Park is well-known for game viewing, but did you know that South Africa’s best loved Staffie, Jock of the Bushveld, was born on Voortrekker Road in 1885, which runs south of Pretoriuskop in the Kruger National Park, and is a short distance from the lodge?

A commemorative plaque has been erected to remind us of the bravery of Jock, which has captured the imagination of people for hundreds of year.  The 475-pager “Jock of the Bushveld” was first published in 1907 when it became an instant best seller and a local classic. Since then it has never been out of print and captured the hearts of a new audience with a 3D animation film. Heavyweights such as Bryan Adams and Johny Clegg have thrown their weight behind the ultimate story of a man’s best friend and the intense humanity of Sir Percy Fitzpatrick.

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School holidays are the best time to introduce your kids to the tales of Jock of the Bushveld and reading these stories at night around a fire in the Umbhaba Lodge lounge, your own African Tribal Suites or perhaps while traveling in the car following Jock’s trail, is a wonderful way of spending a few days in the Lowveld and bonding with the kids. (Click here for some great advice on traveling with kids.)

Sight-seeing and game viewing is hard work and enjoying a cocktail, glass of port or ice cold beer in the Burn Out Bar after a day of game viewing in the Kruger National Park comes highly recommended.  With an inviting fireplace, comfortable lounge and a wooden deck with great views, this is the perfect venue to reminisce about the day’s excitement.

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Umbhaba Lodge forms part of the Guvon Hotels & Spa’s group – a leading hospitality group offering a collection of hotels in Gauteng, Northwest and Mpumalanga. All properties offer excellent accommodation, conference, team building and wedding facilities. Kloofzicht Lodge & Spa, Glenburn Lodge & Spa and Bush Willow Tented Camp are in Muldersdrift, in the Cradle of Humankind. Askari Game Lodge & Spa, a Big 5 game reserve, and Warthogs Bush Camp are in Magaliesberg, while Umbhaba Lodge is situated in Hazyview. The Fairway Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort (Randpark Golf Club), and All Suite On 14th (Fairlands) add city retreats to our country collection of properties.

reservations@umbhaba.co.za | Tel 013 737 7636 | Central Res: 08611 48866 | www.umbhaba.co.za

 

 

 

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

HAS XMAS COME EARLY AT FAIRWAY SPA?

With so many year end functions at the moment, we need to look our best. Fairway Spa in Randpark offers a FREE MANICURE or pedicure with every facial booked from Monday to Thursday – ideal to get you looking like a million dollars for your year end function.

Better yet – for every massage booked, you get one free. Even the gents will love this!

Call 011 478 8000 to book now. Offer valid for November only.

www.thefairwayspa.co.za

Jumpstart Christmas 2016 - The Fairway Spa

BENEFITS OF DATE NIGHTS. AND DO WE HAVE MANY OPTIONS FOR YOU!

On this sultry,  I’d-rather-stay-in-bed- with hot-chocolate Friday morning, we share a blog from Date Night SA who has single-handedly changed the face of date nights all over South Africa. As you sip on your morning coffee and read through all the brilliant reasons for a date night below, picture the myriad of options within the Guvon Hotel group – ranging from the Big 5 in Magalies, to riverbanks and dams at Glenburn Lodge & Spa  and hot-air ballooning over Kloofzicht Lodge & Spa. If you have the inclination or desperate need for a date night like I do at the moment, then we have the venue.

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Happy reading, with thanks to Leilanie Kuter and DateNightSA:

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BENEFITS OF DATE NIGHTS

1) A date night is an opportunity to communicate, and this communication may help couples “deepen their understanding of one another and the relationship.” Communication is important because “individuals continue to change,” and over time, “as they and their relationship develop, they experience new challenges and problems,” Wilcox and Dew point out.

2) Date nights are valuable for their novelty. Researchers are discovering that “couples who engage in novel activities that are fun, active or otherwise arousing – from hiking to dancing to travel to card games – enjoy higher levels of relationship quality,” the report notes. In this way, couples counteract a tendency to take each other for granted. Couples, it says, “may be particularly likely to benefit from a regular date night if they use it as an opportunity to do more than that old standby: dinner and a movie.” And couples are encouraged to choose activities that represent “a balance of each partner’s interests, rather than tending to do things (novel or not)” that reflect the same partner’s preferences each time.

 3) The report says “date nights may strengthen or rekindle that romantic spark that can be helpful in sustaining the fires of love over the long haul.”
4) Date nights may strengthen a couple’s sense of commitment to one another. The report says, “Partners who put one another first, who steer clear of other romantic opportunities and who cultivate a strong sense of ‘we-ness’ or togetherness are markedly happier than are less-committed couples.”
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5) Date nights are a way to relieve stress. They allow a couple “to enjoy time with one another apart from the pressing concerns of their ordinary life.” Date nights also may serve couples as an opportunity “to extend emotional support to one another in times of trial.”
Wilcox and Dew wonder if date nights are most beneficial when they focus on fun and engaging activities, and “steer clear of marital challenges or other stressful topics” such as family finances. The authors hope future research addresses this point.
Reference: For Your Marriage. Visit www.foryourmarriage.org for more interesting articles on marriage and date nights.  (Credit: original post :October 20, 2016, updated with Guvon Hotels images)
See our specials page for wonderful Spa and overnight specials, perfect for that date nights out or call Central Reservations to make your Last Minute Special booking:  08611 48866

 

 

 

BY GEORGE! AND WHO IS THIS LITTLE FELLA?

How cute is the new Last Minute Specials campaign of Guvon Hotels? (“All our properties under one WOOF”). Boils down to ridiculously good prices if you book on a Thursday or Friday for the weekend at Glenburn Lodge & Spa, Kloofzicht Lodge & Spa, Fairway Hotel and Golf Resort, Askari Game Lodge & Spa, as well as Umbhaba Lodge.

George is the Mascot with the Most and will tell the world about the “Barking Mad Last Minute deals” on a weekly basis.

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Our lovely canine has charisma, a passion for life, is clever beyond a doubt, witty and a real friend to his human. He works as hard as he plays, is always up for a challenge and is never too busy for friends and family. Life is not taken too seriously and Rest & Relaxation is  high on his woof-list.

The idea of George was initiated by our brilliant Reservations Manager  Reta Coetzee one  late  Friday afternoon, roundabout that time when the coffee mug becomes a vessel for something with more substance.

“We are super excited about this new addition to the Guvon family”, says Reta Coetzee. “George adds an element of fun to our Last Minute campaign and also ties in with the latest addition to the Guvon Hotels & Spas portfolio –  the pet-friendly Warthogs Bush Camp just outside of Magaliesburg. At this small bush camp pets are welcome – not only for stays but also for weddings. Once the word got out, weekends were snapped up at an astonishing rate and one now has to plan a bit in advance to secure a doggy weekend stay. Unlike some other venues only the humans pay and doggies stay for free.”

“I am at liberty to say that each week delivers a huge dosage of cuteness, so make sure not to miss our Last Minute specials when they are announced on our social media channels on Thursdays.”

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Group marketing manager Christa Badenhorst adds: “Having recently booked my dog into a doggy hotel I know it can be a costly affair . With a two humans + dog stay priced from R750 per room at Warthogs Bush Camp, its a pretty good deal”.

If you want to be one step ahead of the pack, subscribe to our newsletter – the newsletter goes out on a Wednesday to our loyal clients and gives you the edge on the race for securing a booking. Remember – its first come, first serve!

Central Reservations: 08611 48866 | www.guvonhotels.co.za