Looking for a luxury family holiday at local-friendly prices? Bridget McNulty has the scoop.

There isn’t much positive that the coronavirus pandemic has offered us. But if we’re looking for silver linings (which I always am!) then the one good thing about where we find ourselves today is the opportunity for once-in-a-lifetime family holidays.

This might sound strange if your overseas holiday was cancelled because there are no international flights, but hear me out.

The joy of South Africans being stuck in South Africa over the festive season is that many of the absolutely incredible luxury hotels and lodges are now offering local-friendly rates.

If you’re a family looking for an unforgettable getaway, look no further than Tintswalo Boulders just outside Simon’s Town in Cape Town. Yes – the amazing penguin beach where you can never find parking! Except now you get to live there, for a weekend.

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Tintswalo Boulders: A once-in-a-lifetime family getaway – Luxury at local prices

Kid – and parent! – friendly

My children are 4 and 6 years old, and I really struggle with finding restaurants that we can all enjoy, never mind hotels. What I want, really, is pristine white linen, extreme comfort, and silence.

What my kids want is toys, noise and fun. Somehow, Tintswalo Boulders has managed to combine the two – their adult rooms are everything you could wish for in a luxury hotel (complete with sumptuous bathrooms, gently lit by scented candles).

Their kids room is covered in penguins, filled with toys, and an absolute joy for the little ones. Add to this the fact that they have a play room with even more toys, books, boardgames and a PlayStation for older kids, and you have a recipe for a fun family holiday.

Tintswalo Boulders: A once-in-a-lifetime family getaway – Luxury at local prices

Welcome from the first moment

Of course, the place is only half the equation when it comes to a holiday – the people are just as important. And it’s here that Tintswalo Boulders really shines. The staff were immediately welcoming and didn’t mind the kids exploring the entire villa, asking to swim in the rooftop pool (despite it being a wintery day) or playing hide and seek in the lounge.

They gifted the kids with activity packs, set up the play room for us to have a family movie afternoon (The Lion King, of course!) complete with popcorn and marshmallows, and made us feel so welcome at every turn.

One of the highlights of our stay was breakfast each morning – a decadent affair served indoors on cold days or on the deck looking out at the most incredible ocean view on sunny days. The chef prepared flapjacks and bacon specially for the kids, and they feasted on the array of fresh fruit, cold meats, pastries and juices that we were served.

Let me tell you, starting the day with a luxury multi-course breakfast before taking a stroll to see the penguins (three minutes away!) and returning to a beautiful room filled with toys, followed by a movie on a big screen TV is a day my kids won’t soon forget.

Tintswalo Boulders: A once-in-a-lifetime family getaway – Luxury at local prices

All the details

Tintswalo Boulders is a boutique B&B villa, which means you can stay in one or two rooms (as we did) or hire out the whole villa for bigger groups. It would be absolutely amazing for a family Christmas or New Year – completely unforgettable.

It opens up on to the penguin boardwalk at Boulders, which is an amazing experience. All the joy of seeing penguins up close and popping to the beach for a walk, none of the hassle of needing to find parking and carrying bags full of beach toys all day.

They provide a huge breakfast and delicious afternoon canapes (served on that glorious deck) but don’t do any other catering – so you can wander off to Simon’s Town or further afield for dinner.

There are plenty of family-friendly restaurants to choose from nearby – we went to Bertha’s the first night and our kids loved it so much we returned the second night! Tintswalo Boulders is currently running a special (till the end of February 2021) where two people for two nights (in a standard or superior suite) stay for R6,800, and a family of four (with two children under 16) stay in two rooms for two nights for R10,500.

It’s been a tough year for most of us, and this was such a joyous escape from real life. It really is an opportunity for a holiday you’ll never forget. My son said, “This is the best holiday ever!”  within an hour of arriving, and was so sad to leave. I was too – but we took enough photos to ensure we’ll never forget it…

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