With our plethora of public holidays falling willy-nilly throughout the week, it is often easy to ‘engineer’ a four day long weekend and so it was that we decided to explore a far flung part of the beautiful Eastern Cape. This time we visited a long forgotten love, the Morgan Bay Hotel in, you guessed it, Morgan Bay. Although it’s a scant 45 minutes from East London, it’s a much more ambitious 4 hours (plus stops at the many wonderful farm stalls en route) from Port Elizabeth, so an ordinary weekend would just not do.
More than a decade ago we had enjoyed a memorable few days there and had fallen in love with it. This was at a time when all the access roads were rutted, gravel tracks and the worry of how our aging sedan would cope somehow added to the romance of the place. But, as so often happens, the passing of time had faded our passion and life and other travels had prevented us from ever returning.
Revisiting a hotel you once loved is very much like reconnecting with an old ‘flame’. First come the feelings of anticipation and excitement and the resurgence of fond, long forgotten memories. Inevitably, these only last until the appointed hour draws near and then panic sets in. Will I still recognise it? Will I still like it? How much will it have changed?
Well, I needn’t have worried. This quaint coastal village has changed very little since our last visit.
Sure, there are a few more houses, the road is (thankfully) now tarred and the hotel has added a new conference centre, restaurant and spa but its tranquil essence and homely, welcoming aura remains untainted.
Nevertheless, just as with an aging lover, the passing of time has left its mark and in some areas a little age-defying intervention wouldn’t go amiss.
Some of the grubby, torn upholstery in the lounge could use a nip, tuck and freshen up and the injection of some filler (grout) would rejuvenate the shower cubicle. Also, the judicious application of a little firming cream (glue) would undoubtedly smooth the wrinkled laminate flooring in our bedroom.
That having been said, nothing can detract from the magnificent setting with its long stretch of sandy Indian Ocean beach, picturesque river mouth and cliffs that beckon you to abandon your book and scramble to the top.
And the food … ah the food … c’est magnifique!!!