Did you know that penguins mate for life? Once they have identified The One, they "propose" by giving their potential mate a smooth pebble. Isn’t that sweet?
The iconic Boulders Penguin Colony along the False Bay Coast is one of the best places in South Africa to get up close and personal to these adorable, tuxedoed creatures. Surrounded by huge granite boulders, this sandy cove within the Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected area is home to a large colony of endangered African penguins since 1982, and one of Cape Town’s top attractions. Here, you can watch them waddling on the beaches, sunning themselves on the rocks and even get into the water with them. A stone’s throw away, with direct access via boardwalks meandering through the lush greenery, you will find the Tintswalo at Boulders Boutique Villa.
Part of the Tintswalo family, the triple-level villa is tucked away in a quiet cul-de-sac and you may be forgiven for thinking that you’ve arrived at a house instead of a hotel. Indeed, it is a fusion of two private homes. Inspired by the vibrant natural colours surrounding the villa, the interiors are luxuriously appointed, yet comfortable and relaxed. You can expect soothing shades, rich textures, fascinating artworks and exquisite furnishings, complemented by friendly service.
There are two open-plan lounge areas, and a choice of indoor and outdoor dining areas, from where one can watch the staff at work in the open-plan kitchen.
The rooftop plunge pool is great for warm, sunny days, while the sheltered courtyard and firepit is perfect for more chilly days.
Kids have not been neglected – there is a penguin-themed playroom for young kids, and a games and movie room for teenagers like mine.
There are nine expansive suites accommodating 20 people in total. Named after famous ships in history, they have names like Drommedaris, Mayflower, and Cutty Sark. It is possible to book individual suites, or the entire villa if you are a large group. Each suite is uniquely designed to provide luxury, comfort and privacy. The two on the top floor have private balconies with the best views.
We stayed in Grosvenor, which was named after an 18th century East Indiaman ship. Spacious enough for a family of four, it consisted of two large beds, a wardrobe area with more than sufficient space and a garden-facing patio. Both air-conditioning and underfloor heating were provided.
Sliding doors opened onto a garden area which led to the Boulders boardwalk. Beverage facilities included an Illy coffee machine and a tea chest filled with a selection of gourmet teas.
The bathrooms have separate bathtubs and showers and feature shell art.
A leisurely staggered breakfast is usually served on one of the two balconies, which have spectacular 180-degree views over Boulders Beach, the surrounding fynbos, False Bay, and the mountains. We enjoyed yoghurt, homemade granola, eggs and smoked salmon, accompanied by a selection of fresh fruit, cheeses, pastries and juices.
Delicious canapes are served in the afternoons. We particularly savoured the crumbed mushrooms and smoked salmon and cream cheese rolls. In-house dining options have been recently introduced, or you can visit one of the popular restaurants in and around Simons Town. A private chef is available on request.
We spent a few hours relaxing among the penguins at Boulders Penguin Colony, which was thoroughly entertaining. Boulders Beach is also one of the best swimming beaches in Cape Town due to the soft white sand and warmer waters. If the beach is too busy, you can visit Waters Edge, a nearby off-the-beaten-track beach between Boulders and Seaforth beaches.
After visiting the beaches, do spend some time exploring Simon’s Town. The quaint, historic town is home to the South African navy, The South African Naval Museum and The Warrior Toy Museum, as well as a memorial to Just Nuisance, the only dog ever to be officially admitted to the Royal Navy.
If you’re looking for a luxurious home away from home, in a beautiful, exclusive setting, then this stylish seaside villa makes for a great family-friendly (or romantic) getaway. The hotel’s slogan says it best, "Just Like Home, Only Better”.
Tintswalo - “The intangible feeling of love, gratitude and peace that you bestow upon someone who has given you a meaningful and worthy gift.”
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Things you must do in South Africa