Tuesday, 1 March 2016

A Happy Return to Gooderson Monks Cowl Golf Resort

You know when you rave about something whether a restaurant or a place you have stayed at and then the next time you go you are disappointed? Well this was NOT the case with our return to Monks Cowl. Everything from the booking of the rooms (confirmed at 7:50pm!), the checking in, the stay and the checking out was fabulous! We found the rooms (especially the beds) as wonderful as when we stayed the first time.

Oh, I am getting ahead of myself as I haven’t said how this return to Monks Cowl Golf Resort came about. Well I was fortunate to win (yet again) a stay there through a competition run in the Sunday Times. This win was very bittersweet as it was a Father’s Day competition and my Dad passed away before Father’s Day. There is much to do when you lose a loved one so I didn’t think I would be able to redeem the voucher in time. In fact, it was about to expire when I emailed to ask for an extension and I received a prompt reply granting the extension until the end of February. I’m not sure that my Dad would have wanted to go to the Drakensberg as he was very much a homebody and he would probably have told my Mom to go with me again. In fact, Mom did come with me again and we were also joined by my daughter – a girl’s weekend!



We drove up on Friday and we made one stop on the way at The CoffeeSmiths in Nottingham Road to try their cappuccinos. We also took a walk next door to look at the St. Johns church which was built in 1885 (look for photos in another blog post). It was a very pleasant trip so we arrived at Monks Cowl eager to start our weekend of relaxation. My daughter had been sick the previous week so we didn’t expect to do any hiking like Mom and I had done the last time. We were warmly greeted in reception and I just had to fill out the paperwork so we could receive our room cards. While I was filling out the paperwork Donald Kiley the Resort Manager came and welcomed us to Monks Cowl again. We were given rooms 1 and 2 – my daughter decided to take room 2 (the room that Mom and I had last time).

Our very comfortable room

View from our patio


We unpacked (at least Mom and I did) and then decided to have a late lunch at Friar Tuck’s. Toasted sandwiches; lots of water for Mom and I and a coke for the daughter. It was an extremely hot day and we had driven up with the aircon on in the car the whole way. We were so grateful to have aircon in the rooms as well. As I said it was a late lunch so we decided not to go anywhere else that day. We returned to the rooms and discovered that the “Cinderella” movie was on TV and spent a wonderful time enjoying the fairy tale. Dinner is served from 6:30pm also at the Friar Tuck restaurant. We went up to eat after 7pm which is extremely late for us to eat. I ordered Lamb stew which came with mash and a side plate of vegetables, my Mom had soup of the day and my daughter had crumbed squid. Mom finished her meal off with a large bowl of ice cream and chocolate sauce and my daughter and I shared chocolate pudding. We were very happy that Tom the resident Monks Cowl cat decided to come and visit our table. With happy tummies we made our way back to our rooms to enjoy our showers (bubble bath for my daughter) and to watch TV before having a fabulous sleep.

The meals we enjoyed

Tom


The next morning Mom and I were awake our normal time which is 5am for the both of us. I know my daughter only woke up at 6:30am. We woke up to an overcast and rather cool day in the Berg. Breakfast is served from 7am and we got there at about 7:20am. The last time we were at Monks Cowl we stayed during the week and didn’t get to experience the breakfast buffet which is only available on the weekends. Fortunately this time we were there on a weekend. We ordered from the hot breakfast menu first – such a delicious ham and cheese omelette. I then had muesli and yoghurt from the breakfast buffet.

Since it was rather cool with occasional light drizzle we decided to take a drive up the road to look at Thokozisa – a small and quirky looking shopping centre. We never went there last time and I’m so glad we decided to go and look. There were clothing shops, a tourism office, antiques, jewellery, play area for the kids and a restaurant. The bird life inside the centre was amazing. Lots of carefully planted bird loving trees and bushes and even a small pool of water with a very noisy Red Bishop as its resident. After our slow meander around Thokozisa we drove to have coffee at Valley Bakery where we had gone the previous time in the Berg. A nice warm cappuccino and a delicious pasteis de nata were consumed by me. Mom had tea and a pasteis de nata and my daughter had a strawberry milkshake.

Thokozisa

Valley Bakery


After my coffee fortification I drove us to get a closer look at the actual Monks Cowl Mountain. It was a different view than what we saw the last time as the day was overcast. The mountains are still so beautiful with their covering of mist and cloud. I stopped at the local shopping centre to get my daughter some new lip ice and we also looked inside a clothing shop and an art shop that we didn’t look into last time. My Mom had a wonderful conversation with Steve Bull (a resident artist) and his wife and she got to pet their 20 year old Jack Russell called Muthi. The dog is well known in the area for latching onto a family and staying with them as they camp and hike. He has gotten too old to do that now and it amazed me that he could still walk around at that age, although he is nearly totally blind and deaf. We drove back to the resort and discovered there was another version of the Cinderella tale “Ever After” to watch. So we relaxed on the beds and enjoyed the movie.

Views of the mountains


New pathway, Lounge, Spa and pool at night


We had not felt like lunch so by supper time we were quite hungry. This time I had crumbed pork with mashed potatoes and a side plate of vegetables, my Mom had soup of the day again and my daughter had crumbed prawns. They didn’t feel like having any dessert and I decided to try the cheesecake which I really enjoyed. Before returning to our rooms we walked down to take a look at what the second pool looks like at night. It looked so inviting with the blue lights but it was a rather chilly night and we were not brave enough to have a swim. We didn’t find anything exciting to watch on TV and we were all feeling very tired so we had a relatively early night.

It was sad to wake up and realise that we would be checking out in a few hours so we stayed a bit longer, than we had the previous morning, in our lovely comfortable beds. Soon it was time to go and have another delicious breakfast (I had an omelette again) and then we sadly had to go and pack. Loaded the car and went to pay our bill and check out. We saw Donald Kiley (Resort Manager) to say goodbye and thank him for the wonderful and relaxing stay. I actually said we were so sad that we had to go and would have loved to continue staying there. (We popped into Granny Mouse in the Midlands on the way home so look out for a few photos on another blog post)

If you are looking for a relaxing stay in the Berg where you will be well looked after and have delicious food – then I really, really recommend that you book in at Monks Cowl Golf Resort. I have heard that there will soon be a fabulous special and I will add it to this post once it is advertised.

The resort offers the following facilities : Spa, golf, adventure golf, 2 x swimming pools, 2 x trampolines, jungle gyms and tennis court
The Superior Rooms (which we stayed in) have 2 x double beds, bar fridge, DSTV, tea and coffee making facilities, bathroom (shower and bath) and private patio. There are also self-catering units which are fully equipped and have a master bedroom en suite, second bedroom with twin beds and bathroom and 2 sleeper couches in the lounge. They also have DSTV, a private patio with braai facilities and a fireplace in the lounge.

There are lots of other activities to do in the area (ask for information about them at reception) or you can just do nothing but eat and sleep – the beds are very comfortable!

Hope to see you yet again Monks Cowl Golf Resort and thank you for looking after us so well.

Gooderson Monks Cowl Golf Resort
Sub 16 of Heartsease Farm
Cathkin Park
Bergville
KwaZulu-Natal
3340

036-4681300



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