Province’s resorts enjoy busy season

As guests pack their beach towels and check out of hotels and resorts along the Sunshine and Wild Coasts, general managers are generally upbeat about a successful season in the Eastern Cape sun.

CHECKING OUT: Like many hotels and resorts along the Sunshine and Wild coasts, Crawfords Beach Lodge in Chintsa East was fully booked this festive season Picture: SUPPLIED

At the Halyards Hotel in Port Alfred, general manager Freddie du Preez said although occupancy was down from last year, revenue spend had increased.

“People who did come spent more on food and drinks and so we had a very good season with revenue up by R100000 from last year.

“Our pool deck was buzzing all the time and guests invited their friends to enjoy the pool bar and the Bedouin tent we put up for atmosphere.

“Most of our guests were from Pretoria, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth and we also had some from the UK and Poland.”

Crawfords Beach Lodge co-owner Lyn Crawford said although the bookings did not come as early as usual, the Chintsa East holiday resort was fully booked from December 10, with many holidaymakers checking out yesterday.

“It was a lovely holiday season and even the intermittent rain didn’t dampen the guests’ spirits,” said Crawford.

“Chintsa was really the in-place this season because we also had a music festival, with musos like The Parlotones, Prime Circle and Matthew Mole entertaining revellers at the C Club. A lot of holidaymakers from other resorts came to see the bands, as well as people from East London.”

Further north-east, Trennery’s Hotel general manager Sherwin Carr said although the seaside hotel and campsite had experienced a “bumper season” with 100% occupancy, the general spend was down on the 2016/17 season.

“Dinner, bed and breakfast is included in our rate, but this year people stuck to that and held back on luxuries like burgers and milkshakes for lunch and spending at the bar,” said Carr.

“Things are very tight for South African guests, but we also have the international buses with Dutch tourists who came until December 18 and start again now.

“They start in Johannesburg and do the Kruger Park, then come down to us before heading to Cape St Francis, Knysna and Cape Town.”

The general manager of the Ocean View Hotel in Coffee Bay, Alex Brett, said the season was “good but quiet”. He said that although the hotel enjoyed a 90% occupancy rate, holiday stays were shorter than in the past.

“Previously guests would stay between 14 to 20 days but now they stay about seven. It has to do with the disaster in our economy and because fuel went up astronomically before the season.”

Brett said many large mines and corporates no longer shut for three weeks over the festive season, which also affected the hospitality industry. —