TRAVEL

Honest country hospitality

Dating from the 1870s and rebuilt in the 1920s, the rural art deco 4-star Montagu Country Hotel in Montagu on South Africa’s scenic Route 62, offers classic country comforts, friendly service, traditional cuisine and classic and luxury accommodation.

Montagu Hotel, a member of Cape Country Routes, was founded in 1996 during a time when there was no tourism to speak of in the sleepy town. Realising travellers’ need to get to and through Montagu, PJ Basson – general manager of the hotel – and his partner founded Route 62, the historic highway that connects Cape Town and the Garden Route.

With its catchy name and similarities to Route 66 in the US, it instantly became a hit with media and tour operators alike.

The hotel is built in an art deco style, complete with furnishings and trinkets from that period. Montagu Hotel is the only original art deco hotel in South Africa, and one of the last privately owned country hotels left. 

Dealing with COVID-19

The pandemic has wreaked havoc in many industries, including the tourism and hospitality sectors. The hotel has been shut for two months and, Basson notes, the financial impact has been massive. 

“I believe the whole industry is in for some changes. We have the time and opportunity now to assess the whole business and carefully plan our path for the future. I believe we will continue and expand our local business, but will also strengthen our relationships with international operators,” he says.

“People will always have the need to travel. And, as a product, we must be ready once travel is fully allowed again. The next nine to 18 months will be all about the balance of surviving financially, and offering top service to our guests.”

Basson says that post-COVID-19, will rise a new level of hospitality and experiences. “Visitors will be hungry to experience new adventure and comforts away from their own homes and will also appreciate the efforts made by hospitality players much more.”

His advice to other business owners during this unprecedented time is to “use the time available to take a hard look at your business and make the changes you are now in a position to make”.

Montagu Hotel has two Play & Stay in SA Specials – for its Classic Rooms at R483 per person sharing per night –  Bed and Breakfast (single supplement R542.50) and its Luxury Rooms at R763 per person sharing per night –  Bed and Breakfast (single supplement R917). T’s & C’s apply.

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