The Centurion Hotel… a landmark!

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The good thing about living in the capital city of South Africa, is that you are always just an arms-length from almost any and everything you might need.  Joburg is a mere hour’s drive away, so is the bush veld, lodges, most food spots and shopping malls.  One spot that is certainly going to capture the attention of young and old, is the formerly known, Centurion Lake Hotel.  Now, boasting a new name, The Centurion Hotel, is a landmark to everyone who frequent Centurion.

The Centurion Hotel forms part of The Legacy Group of hotels and resorts.  Not only is The Legacy Group the leading hospitality group in South Africa, but is also renowned for their presence in more than 6 countries world wide, with numerous world class resorts, hotels and bush-lodges that fits connoisseur and families alike.

I was fortunate to receive an invitation to attend the relaunch of this gem in the heart of Centurion and I must say, I was pleasantly surprised.  Their rooms, interior and hospitality were par excellence, their vibe is trendy and the energy was contagious.  Raymond Kodisang, the General Manager of the Centurion Hotel passionately shared their plan and dreams for Centurion and the greater City of Tshwane with us.  All I can say Gautengers, is ready yourselves for promotions that will make any weekday one to remember.

From their Crunch Lunch promotion weekdays at only R59,00, to their Quiz Night on Tuesdays will have young and old enjoy themselves at this very central hotspot.  Did I mention they have date-night on Wednesdays?  Sport lovers can make themselves comfy in front of a big screen every Saturday with kiddies entertainment being provided.  Make a point of visiting them when you have the chance and when you reach those dreaded Sundays, why not go for sundowners at their infinity pool and take pictures to your heart’s content.  Keep up to date with all they have to offer on their social media page via Facebook, The Centurion Hotel.  Being a Pretoria resident myself, I can not wait to see what’s in store next for this great Centurion landmark. There we have it people, all I can say is…. go visit them!  Now!

Freestate beauty in Clarens!

South Africa is most probably the best country to live in when it comes to scenery, beauty and places to visit.  (Yes, I am South African and might be a little bit biased, but bare with me).  It can be very vast when traveling by car, but all special and popular cities, places of interest and holiday spots are easily accessible by a 2 hour flight (and tickets can be bought at a bargain when your timing is right).  We have deserts, the Karoo, the Bushveld, Game Reserves, tropical beaches, mountain ranges that takes your breath away and then there is the Freestate.   A very VERY underrated and unappreciated patch of earth, smack bang in the middle of our country.

Being born in the Freestate I do know that there is little happening, apart from agriculture and farming, but there are a few gems that’s just waiting to be discovered.  Clarens is most certainly one of them.  I have visited this quaint little town quite a few times and every time, I feel like I’m greeting an old friend and also learning something new with every time I set foot in this booming town.  Only 3 hours (by car) away from the capital Pretoria, this town sees a lot of weekend visitors from mostly Johannesburg, Pretoria and surrounds.  It’s just a beautiful place to spend a weekend and plentiful options for accommodation.  December last year, a few friends and I  took a trip down and we enjoyed every moment of it.

Take note that winter times can be very VERY cold and you should plan for possible snow, but in warmer months, you can have lots of fund river rafting, hiking in the Golden Gate Nature Reserve or just spending time in the town shopping.  I would like to share my top picks of Clarens with you.

1.  Accommodation

The choice is yours to stay outside of the town or in the town itself and it really comes down to what tickles your fancy.  This time around, we opted to stay in town at the Golden View Luxury Self Catering in their Oak on Church unit that’s got a view to die for!  Tastefully decorated and affordable, it’s close to town and a quick walk will take you right to the square, where all the action takes place.

2.  Dining at Clarens

When it comes to dining, the options are endless.  Breakfast spots that you should give a go, is The Post House, The Courtyard and Artists Cafe.  My personal favourite?  The Courtyard.  Their fresh baked artisan breads are pure dough magic and tastes amazing. (Don’t forget to check out their bakery section, sweet tooth heaven!).

Lunch time is always a great treat when visiting the Clarens Brewery, they’ve got amazing beer tastings, gin offerings and charcuterie, cheese and bread platters that is a killer lunch pick.  Make sure to visit the RED STONE GIN distillery when you are there.  Love it!

Dinner in Clarens offers you a variety of options, from the local Pizza spot, to Pub dining or you can take a turn and head off to Clementines and enjoy amazing food, prepared well and never disappoints.

3.  So? What to do in Clarens?

Art Galleries in Clarens are quite bespoke and when you set foot into one of them, you can see why.  Art and artists alike find their spot there and paint on canvas is not in short supply.  The art is quite high-end and beautiful!

Shopping isn’t getting the backseat as I like to take a few souvenirs home.  Anything from lamps, doorknobs (the artistic ones), carpets, jewellery, pastas, pickled goods and jams are to your disposal.  They even have an Eco friendly shop that sells functional items, go check them out.

Do you see yourself as an extreme sports junky?  Then horse riding, biking, hiking and river rafting might be added to your list.  You can even go dinosaur hunting (take note, they are extinct and you will be chasing fossils and bones LOL!).

Ok, so this town is exceptional and you just have to make time to get yourself to visit Clarens whenever you can.  They have numerous wedding and function venues as well and the mountainous backdrop creates magical photoshoots.

Ok, so my YES, NO or MAYBE for Clarens are the following:

YES?  This town is an awesome experience and I will go back there again…. and again but do so in warmer months as the cold can sometimes be a bit of a mood damper.

NO?  The roads around the town is not in the best shape and if you aren’t careful, you  might loose a tyre in one of those gigantic potholes.

MAYBE? Check their online calendar for town events.  If there is a MTB race or Beer festival or some big event, KNOW that the town is going to be very busy, so plan your trip well if you are not much of a social animal and rather book outside their peak times.  Visit the Clarens website here to plan your visit.

Now there you have it! I do hope you visit Clarens soon and I look forward to hearing from you and your experiences in the beautiful and picturesque town in the Freesate!  The gem is waiting for you!

 

 

Give us today our Daily Coffee

Always looking for the next coffee spot in Pretoria? Then The Daily Coffee is just the place to visit.  They are situated in the Greenlyn Centre in Menlopark and easily accessible from the N1 via Atterbury.  Nestled in between the greenery of the premises, The Daily Coffee gives you a setting that’s both private and relaxed. 

Pretoria has seen an uprising of coffee spots and the coffee culture in the capital is definitely making a turn for the better.  I find it always very refreshing when you can experience something that’s different, good quality and gives you a setting where you can breathe, work and even relax.  Meet, The Daily Coffee.

The Daily Coffee have a variety of menu options ranging from lovely well prepared coffee (well duh!) to gorgeous breakfasts, light meals like burgers, sandwiches and wraps and even low carb meals.  Menus are reasonably priced and makes them a good restaurant anytime of the month.  Ask them about their Gluten free options. 

Their food is prepared well and their coffee is the best!  I enjoyed their Daily Fix breakfast and fellow diners ordered Eggs Benedict and a open sandwich with salmon & rocket.  It was decadent, tasty and you can be sure they use the freshest of ingredients and are not shy when it comes to portion volume.  I left, happy, satisfied and will be back for sure.  Points scored:  Setting in the garden, privacy and it’s pet friendly!  Points deducted: attention to detail, make sure the plate is clean of smears before it arrives at the table.  Overall impression:  Love it, Go! Now!

The Boss & the (cookie) Monster @ Brooklyn Brothers

 

Arriving at the Glenfair centre in Lynwood Road Pretoria, you can see that this is a pitstop to almost everyone.  Families that go to the neighbouring restaurants, people quickly pop in to the shop to get the last minute shopping before heading home and then me.  I’m here to review and enjoy one of Lynwood’s most popular food spots.  Brooklyn Brothers Glenfair.  Fortunately fellow foodies shared the evening with me and as I’m tucking the menu closer to see what we’re in for, my eyes stopped.  There it is, the words glistened on the gloss paper and I know that tonight is going to be epic.  I”m referring to the legendary burger called The Boss.

Brooklyn Brothers are renowned for their comfort food offerings and that’s the reason why people frequent this great place so much and so my evening started.  Their range of craft beers were introduced and once again, the beer gods were smiling at us.  From the CBC’s notorious Amber Weiss to the equally great Van Hunks Pumpkin Ale and off course a few different beers in between.  The first course was a delightful platter filled with Honey glazed chicken wings, Jalapeño poppers, sticky Bourbon BBQ ribs, chicken strips with a Tikka sauce and topped off with onion rings with a beautiful ranch dressing.  That was only round 1!  Round 2 and I finally got to meet The Boss of all burgers.  Neatly planked (or shall I say plated?) a bulky medium prepared premium beef patty with crispy bacon & blue cheese sauce and on the side, golden brown deep fried onion rings.  Man I was happy.

They have a “beat-the-heat” challenge for the brave (or shall I say foolish?) and you can have your name engraved on their wall of heroes, that’s if you can stomach the inferno it promises to deliver.  I however, declined the offer.  By the time dessert arrived I questioned my capacity but couldn’t resist their WTF Killer shakes (yes, that’s the name they go by).  I enjoyed their Parkslope chocolate shake and soon realized this was a monster of a different sort, I called it the cookie monster.  Bravo!  Brooklyn Brothers is a sure, good food, good company, good vibes social spot and anyone can leave happy, satisfied and looking forward to the next visit.

Points scored on my list:  Portion size is good, taste and preparation was good, menu variety is tops and service is excellent.  Points deducted:  The lighting on the deck was a bit strong and draws bugs and the onion rings was a bit oily to my taste.  Overall impression: Great! Will most certainly visit again. Well done Brooklyn Brothers.  To the rest of you: Go! Now!