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Everyone is making tracks for South Africa - soccer, safaris, surgery and sensational sceneryDate: 28/09/2009
Article source: www.toffsworld.com
Next year all roads will lead to South Africa - and the 2010 World Cup. This huge global soccer extravaganza - being staged in Africa for the very first time - will boot the tourism influx way beyond the 9.1million visitors that visited the Rainbow Nation last year. And many of those making the football pilgrimage in June and July will be from Britain, which accounts for 35 per cent of all European arrivals. Meantime, travellers not wishing to get caught up in the crowds and soccer mania that will sweep South Africa in 2010 are booking their trips for THIS year.
With its fabulous coastlines, dramatic landscapes, abundant wildlife and rich culture, South Africa is consistently voted one of the world’s top holiday destinations. Here, Toffsworld.com - the global No 1 luxury lifestyle website - highlights ways of making the most of sensational South Africa.
PERCHED perfectly on the rocks with spectacular views of the Indian Ocean, The Point Hotel, at Mossel Bay on South Africa’s Garden Route, was opened ten years ago - and has since won more prestigious trophies than any World Cup soccer team could ever manage.
It received four nominations as a finalist in the AA Accommodation Awards (in the Luxury Hotels category in 2000 and in the Full Service Hotels category in 2004, 2005 and 2008) - and took the trophy for the best Full Service Hotel in 2002.
In 2007, the five-storey hotel received an international Top Listing for Environmental Awareness but surpassed all previous plaudits last year by being crowned a finalist in the category World’s Best Luxury Coastal Hotel in the 2008 World Luxury Hotel Awards.
Located exactly half way between Port Elizabeth and Cape Town on the superbly scenic southeastern coast, The Point Hotel offers 52 sea-facing, en-suite rooms each with a private balcony guaranteeing stunning sea views. Each room is equipped with M-Net and DSTV, international plug points, remote control ceiling fans, panel heaters, direct dial telephones, tea and coffee station, lock-up safe and an internet access point with Wi-Fi hot spots located throughout the hotel. At the edge of the biggest natural tidal pool on the South African coast, The Point Hotel is probably the best place for whale-watching in the entire region.
Owner Louis Harris says: “Building and running The Point Hotel has been one of the greatest challenges of my life, but it’s also been one of the most rewarding. It says a lot that I’m as excited about the next ten years as I was at the start.”
It was Louis who restructured Mossel Bay tourism and is now the town’s official coordinator for the 2010 World Cup - and his great professionalism and expertise was acknowledged recently with a special award from the Western Cape’s Minister of Finance and Tourism.
CAPE TOWN is a must-see destination for many visitors to South Africa - and it‘s easy to see why. It still has a European flavour (the quaint cobblestoned Bo-Kaap neighbourhood wouldn’t look out of place in Amsterdam), while the Pan-African Market reminds you that the African continent extends for 5,000 miles behind you. It’s no wonder recent visitors have included Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, Thandie Newton and Mariah Carey.
If you want a base from which you can enjoy the best of the Cape’s natural beauty and vibey urban centre, it’s impossible to beat the Hippo Boutique Hotel, ideally located in the heart of the city. It isn’t just about luxurious accommodation. It's about relaxation in an environment that would make anyone feel at home. From wooden floor to whitewashed ceiling, Hippo Boutique Hotel is a timeless fusion of classic and contemporary tastes, furnished and fitted to suit the most discerning guest's needs and combined with seamless service. Crucially, everything the visitor to Cape Town has dreamed of seeing is within easy reach.
Step out of the hotel doors and you're in the middle of Cape Town's famed café culture, with its never-ending array of restaurants, cafes and markets.
Right on the doorstep is Greens, for fresh, contemporary food and cocktails. Then there‘s Simply Asia, where you can taste the exotic flavours of Thailand with rice and noodle specialities, or you can drop into Fat Cactus for frozen margaritas and excellent Mexican cuisine. Venture a little further and you can explore the Cape's most famous landmarks - Table Mountain and the V&A Waterfront.
If you’re in Cape Town on business, Hippo is just a five-minute stroll to the heart of the commercial district, and Cape Town International Airport is a 20-minute drive away.
Hippo has 20 spacious standard rooms and five designer executive suites (double volume lofts with bedroom/bathroom on a mezzanine level). All rooms are ensuite, air-conditioned and equipped with king size beds and stainless steel kitchenettes. For people who need to stay in touch with business and events at all times, the hotel has multimedia personal computers in all rooms with Microsoft Office software and 24-hour complimentary ADSL broadband and wireless internet access.
MANY of today’s savvy investors regard fractional ownership as the key to living a luxurious lifestyle at minimal cost. Nowhere is this swing to shared ownership and use of professionally-managed luxury leisure assets growing more popular than in South Africa. Here, leading expert Dirk Wilson, of Fractional Ownership Co Za, sees it as an industry “set to explode on to the global map.”
Dirk says today’s consumers shop around to compare the three Ls - location, leisure amenities and luxury. In terms of price, fractional investors are seeking as many value-added benefits as they can, at the best possible price. “Fractional investors are willing to pay less for the privilege of owning smaller blocks of time,” he adds. “Subsequently, fractional promoters are releasing products that offer smaller, more flexible, usage periods in luxury fractional residences.”
Many leading global vacation ownership brands see expansion potential in South Africa. Dirk Wilson points out: “Leisure resort developers in South Africa are now adapting a multi-product vacation ownership model that has been tried and tested in the U.S. market over the last decade. The current economic climate, together with the fact that most consumers have limited access to capital is pushing the possibility of owning 100 per cent of a family holiday home out of reach. Coupled with this, consumers are now acknowledging the financial benefits of fractional over whole ownership.
“Also exciting is that we are seeing major shared vacation ownership exchange brands coming into South Africa. Interval International has just been awarded the Southern Sun exchange business and is moving into South Africa alongside The Registry Collection and Platinum destinations.”
One major advantage is that shares in premium residences at a world class vacation resorts in Southern Africa, are bought in rands, not dollars or pounds - yet the investor can still benefit from a global exchange network of residences situated around the world.
Dirk adds: “Our listings provide the opportunity to buy fractions at great prices or rent amazing luxury residences at fantastic prices, as owners like to get something for their unused weeks rather than have them sit empty - so we are seeing rentals in five-star residences for £30 per night.”
TRAVELLING overseas for healthcare is a relatively new phenomenon. But disillusionment with the National Health Service and the ever-increasing cost of private care means that more and more Britons are making that choice. This year about 75,000 people will travel abroad for medical treatment. South Africa is already seen by thousands as the perfect holiday choice - and it is also an excellent destination for Britons seeking quality health care on a reasonable budget. Established in 1999, the pioneering Surgeon & Safari company is South Africa’s original medical tourism organisation, leading the global industry by setting very high standards, working with top surgeons in private hospitals and providing 24-hour nursing and extensive after-care.
Combining going on a dream wildlife holiday and coming back with a more beautiful or healthier body has obvious appeal. And the luxury post-op safaris on offer range from Bush and Train Safaris to Wilderness and Wine Safaris.
A key element in the success story of Surgeon & Safari (motto: “Privacy In Paradise”) is that patients have recuperation with time to heal away from public scrutiny. With a carefully selected choice of South African plastic and reconstructive surgeons, dental, ophthalmic and orthopaedic surgeons, patients can make a truly informed choice. Surgeon & Safari use only surgeons registered with the South African Medical & Dental Council and fully certified with their specialist associations.
Inspiration and driving force behind Surgeon & Safari is founder and owner Lorraine Melvill, voted South African Business Woman of the Year in 2002. The Surgeon & Safari business model has been written up as a case study in universities and its reputation as the world leader in combining reconstruction and recreation has been reported in publications as diverse as the Wall Street Journal, Harpers & Queen, Company and Psychologist. In launching her company, Loraine recognised that South Africa was uniquely qualified to capitalise on a niche market. "I knew we had fantastic surgeons and an exchange rate that was only going to get better," she says. "At Surgeon & Safari we serve quality. Surgeon & Safari isn't cheap. It's value for money. There's a big difference."
As part of the package deals on offer, the company provides its own unique private home accommodation facility, with large garden and pool area, allowing clients to take time to relax and heal before returning home.
VISITORS from Britain will feel completely at home with Roger Major, the boss and tour guide of My Tours. After running a successful guest house in the U.K., he fell in love with the beautiful, vibrant city of Cape Town - and moved there seven years ago. Now, after studying South African history and tourism and qualifying as a tour guide, he delights in sharing the wonders and attractions of his adopted home.
His smoothly efficient day tours, radiating out from Cape Town, cater for small groups, ranging from two to 20 people, and offer a highly personalised professional service.
Highlights range from the Big Five safari, where visitors get a close-up and can photograph some of the biggest and most majestic animals in Africa, including elephants and lions, to a day tour of Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela spent most of his 27 years of imprisonment, and the spectacular Table Mountain which dominates the Cape Town area. The Cape Peninsula Tour is also a firm favourite with animal lovers, featuring a boat trip to the aptly-named Seal Island and the chance to visit a penguin colony at Boulders Beach and see baboons and ostrich at a nature reserve.
Big attraction for lovers of fine wines is the Winelands Tour - Roger’s personal favourite - which visits six estates in the renowned Stellenbosch region for tastings, cellar tours and, at harvest time, the crushing of the grapes. Then there’s the Cape Town Night Tour, for those in search of some city excitement to round off a day of sightseeing. From dusk until late, it takes in a visit to the Atlantic Seaboard and the buzzing nightlife area on Long Street before visiting the Cape Town Super Casino, with roulette, blackjack, poker and punto banco, and entertainment complex.
NOTE TO EDITORS & PICTURE EDITORS:
For more details or to obtain photographs, phone Barbara Wood at Toffsworld.com on +34 952 560 395 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on the companies and products featured in this Press Release see:
The Point Hotel - http://www.toffsworld.com/travel/south-africa/garden-route-luxury-seafront-hotel-south-africa/
The Hippo Boutique Hotel - http://www.toffsworld.com/travel/south-africa/hip-boutique-hotel-luxury-accommodation-in-cape-town/
Surgeon & Safari - http://www.toffsworld.com/lifestyle/medical-tourism/plastic-dental-ophthalmic-and-orthopaedic-surgery-in-south-africa/
Fractional Ownership Co Za - http://www.toffsworld.com/property/south-africa/luxury-fractional-ownership/
My Tours - http://www.toffsworld.com/travel/south-africa/private-tour-guide/chauffeur-whilst-visiting-cape-town-south-africa/
(Written for Toffsworld.com by David Neville Williams on April 5, 2009).