“ Address: 22a Dikkop Street / Knysna / South Africa „
Lagoona Inn, by the beach in Knysna, was the hotel selected by our tour company for our two night stay in the region. Whilst Knysna is a very popular holiday destination, we visited in August (South Africa's winter), and it was very rainy whilst we were there, so didn't really get to explore the immediate area as much as we would have liked. We arrived late in the afternoon having been soaked and windswept out at nearby Plettenberg Bay and I decided to head straight into the shower. I am glad I did because I got a hot shower, my room-mate who showered after me, had a cool one, as did most other people who came back the same time as us. Although the owners claimed to a friend that complained, that there should be plenty of hot water there obviously wasn't. This was rectified the next evening to some degree, but even my room-mate (who got to go in first this time) didn't think the shower that warm, at best it was lukewarm by the time I got in. However, this could partly be due to several people trying to shower at the same time, as the group of us taking up 7-8 rooms all returned at the same time on both days.
The complex is made up of pleasant white buildings that suit the beach front image. There is a small reception area, and towards the back is a bar and restaurant area, and some rooms are upstairs in this building. I was in one of the rooms round the side of the main building, over-looking the beach (at least that is what it looked like in the torrential rain) about 500m away. We didn't visit it, but is it walking distance. I believe there in also a small pool here.
Our room is entered via patio doors and there was a little patio area with a table and chairs out the front. For privacy (and security) there were also large shutters outside the doors. Apart from the patio doors there was only a small window at the side for natural light. The room had a TV, twin beds, a table with tea and coffee facilities and limited hanging space. I believe there was a hairdryer supplied but we used our own. Lighting was good and I had no trouble reading by it. There were extra blankets available and it was heated, but the heater was tiny, and really only noticeable if you stood within 30cm of it. It had a simple décor of neutral and pale green tones, I wouldn't say it was particularly modern and could do with a bit of an update.
The large bathroom had stone floors, a lavatory and wash basin with a good sized shower, but the entrance to the shower had curved stones on it, which I found difficult to walk on. Décor wise it was fairly uninspiring, and it didn't seem as though a great deal of thought had gone into it. There was a heated towel rail which was a welcome bonus however.
On the first night we ate in. This is not something that is usually available as I understand it, but something they do when large groups are in or by special arrangement. I was very impressed with the meal and Gunther, our host, obviously enjoyed getting his chef outfit on and coming up with a beautifully presented and tasty meal. We stayed in several lodges and similar establishments on this trip and this was the nicest 'in-house' meal as far as I was concerned. To start was a tasty, herby lentil soup, and as a veggie this was followed by a stuffed butternut squash served with a mushroom pasta, an aniseedy dish that I avoided and a my first experience of deep fried brussel sprout (not as unpleasant as I expected). Dessert was poached pear and ice cream. I would recommend eating here if you get the chance, and the price was reasonable for three courses (around the £10 mark).
Breakfast was generous with a good hot and cold buffet selection with porridge, lots of cereals, sausages, eggs, beans and all the usual suspects represented. There was also a variety of fruit and yoghurt, but you did tend to have to prompt them if you wanted extra toast - the toast on my large table had gone cold before I was ready to eat any, and they didn't replace it until I asked.
Off of the light and summery styled dining room was a small lounge area and a bar area that operated on an honesty policy. The lounge area is very informal with a small fire and a piano in need of tuning.
Should you not be eating here, there is a pub at the end of the road; otherwise you may need to get into Knysna itself which was a short drive away. Knysna is a pretty town and there is quite a lot to do in the area, but this is best seen and accessed by car. There are a number of brochures and leaflets in the hotel, as well as restaurant menus to help you decide where to visit.
Overall I enjoyed my stay here, especially the food. The atmosphere is relaxed and I don't think the decor would have bothered me if the weather had allowed us to spend more time outside.