The Cavern Resort & Spa in the Drakensberg just gave us one of our best family holidays yet. It was a beautiful holiday for all five of us and here are 10 reasons why they get it all so right for both parents and kids:
- The Kids’ DiningHall
The children (under 7) have their own dining room, fully equipped with high chairs, kiddie’s tables, chairs & placemats, and a range of meal options (way more than my kids ever get the option of at home!!).
The breakfast options alone included:
– Scrambled eggs, bacon & porkies
– Toast & spreads
– Fresh Fruit
Lunch and dinners all had as many options as these! Plus a dessert!
The children’s meal times were slightly earlier than the adults, which worked so well because we could feed them (or in some cases dish for the boys and leave them there to eat), and then we could go on to enjoy our meals peacefully, actually enjoy HOT food for a wonderful change, whilst the kiddies played in the playroom (which adjoined the adults dining hall.
2. The kid’s playroom is amazing
Not only is the play area within the dining hall which is attached/adjoined to the main adult dining hall, but the kids dining hall doubles as the kids’ playroom. A cosy inside playroom with underfloor heating, a tv for the daily movie, blocks, babies, a wooden kitchenette and soft toys. And for warmer days an outside play area too! Astroturf, soft play for babies, a swing, sandpit and other fun outdoor play.
3. Kids activities
There are daily kids activities held in the playroom. There are also pony rides and gentle mountain walks which are great ways to occupy the kiddies and we all know that means mom and dad get a break (although the walks and the pony rides obviously require you to be there with them!)
4. The Kids outdoor play areas
The outdoor park areas within the resort are so much fun for kiddies. Climbing bars, seesaw, slides and a trampoline set against the most beautiful backdrop of mountain and valley. This play area is nestled between two tennis courts and a bowls lawn. We didn’t even make it down to the swimming pool area where there is another wooden jungle gym! Apparently in the Summer you can lay by the pool and call up to the resort for drinks…. Yup! You will find me there!
5. The Food
The foooooooood. Justin and I are foodies… so the fact that there was fabulous food for breakfast lunch and dinner was possibly one of our biggest highlights of the Cavern Resort. Breakfast allows for a range of options ordered off the menu, as well as fresh fruit, cereals and cheese and biscuits laid out, buffet-style.
Lunch was very chilled with hot and cold options available on a harvest table. I particularly enjoyed the salads.
Dinner was ridiculously good. Easily the meal I looked forward to the most!
Not only could you choose a starter, main and desert of your choice (a choice of 3 starters, 2 mains and 3 deserts), but if you were very hungry, or had a taste for ALL starters and ALL mains and ALL deserts you could order every single one. I mean WHAT?! There was one night where Justin and I ordered all 3 starters and shared them between us, but otherwise there just wasn’t space to order all of them.
The food tasted as good as it looked, and as you can see from these pics, it looked amazing!
Now I think any parent will agree that to go on holiday with 3 small kids is seldom a holiday at all! It’s manic between the cooking and then cleaning up after the cooking and just as you finish one meal you are already being asked about the next?! And that is just focusing on the kids, never mind you as parents who need the rest the most! That is what makes the Cavern Resort so very special. You do not have to give meal time (or clean up time) a thought. You literally float in and out of dining halls, deeply satisfied and allowing your body and mind to rest. It is heavenly!
6. The Spa
I have had pretty awful experiences in spa’s across KZN, as in most holiday destinations it seems to be a tag-on to a resort, rather than a place they put effort, training and energy into. This was NOT the case for The Cavern Resort, however, as I was most pleasantly blown away by their treatments and entire spa experience.
The experience was top class, from beginning to end. The booking process, arrival and greeting, rooms, products, therapists, and treatments all received 10 stars from me, and that is RARE! I am NOT easy to please when it comes to my 1hour of MeTime in the form of a massage or a facial. In this case – both!! #luckyfish or #spoiltbrat – you choose!
The path to the Forest Retreat spa is a short walk down the hill from the resort, and then a magical walk along this enchanted path to the reception:
You are greeted at reception and are able to sit taking in this awful view until your therapist is ready to take you to your treatment room, so hard on the eyes, right?! ;):
Entering the treatment room instantly ‘zenned’ me out. The room was crisp white and clean, warm and cosy thanks to a little heater (much-needed in berg winters!), and the treatment bed looked very neat and professional with lovely soft and fresh towels and linen, and a heated blanky.
Both the facial and the full body massage I had were incredible. The technique used in the massage was one of the best I have had, the therapist was brilliant and her hands did not leave my body, making the full 60minutes absolute heaven. The facial was also fantastic, and the spa uses Dermalogica products. The therapist was very attentive to my skin concerns, and used something around my eyes and forehead for ageing and something different for acne breakout around my jawline. She too did not leave me, and whilst I had the steam on my face she massaged my scalp, and while the mask was on she massaged my feet. Absolute perfection!
I left the spa a much happier and refuelled mama than when I walked in!
Also spotted this pretty waterfall on my way back to the fam:
7. The Facilities
Besides the amazing kids playroom and playground that I have already mentioned, there are also the following:
– large indoor lounge/games room area with tennis table, couches, fire places etc – perfect place to play a family board game or quietly read a book.
– A quiet lounge where people without kids 😉 can go, sit peacefully and read
– A swimming pool, sadly it’s not heated so a definite no-go in the winter but Summer time would be amazing
– Tennis courts and bowling green
8. The Services
The entire staff at the Cavern resort makes it their mission to ensure you have every thing you need. Upon our arrival we found that the rooms did not have a bar fridge or kitchenette. Little B was on antibiotics and so we needed somewhere to store her meds. We called reception and without hesitation they brought a bar fridge to our room within the hour. We also had our little sick cherub throw up all over her cot linen and clothes, and within an hour of dropping it with reception it was returned to our room, folded, clean and warm. Absolutely brilliant service and such a help to tired parents who were up all night for 3 nights prior! It was SO appreciated.
The Cavern Resort gets a 5 star rating from me for the help it brings to any family visiting! I have already mentioned the help in the playroom and kids dininghall, with sweet Rebecca and team who run it. There are also very lovely ladies whom you can hire to assist you with the kids during the day, or just at night. While we were there we hired a lady from 6pm to come to our room while we put B down, and to be there while she slept. We then went back to either be with the boys a bit, or if they had already started watching the movie of the day we would leave them there with Rebecca and either go start eating OR to the Cave Bar for a drink (see point #9).
This allowed us the beautiful freedom to sit with each other and start AND END sentences. Eat deliciously warm food, and have a drink or two. Bliss.
9. The Cave Bar
Gosh this was a treat. As mentioned above, we were afforded the luxury of leaving our babies sleeping with a nanny in our adjoining rooms, which was just a quick 3minute walk from the main dining hall and main resort. Two of the three nights you could find us enjoying a beautiful bottle of wine in the Cave Bar. The one night there was even a wine tasting in the special little cellar. The next night there was rugby playing in the bar, and a real vibe.
Justin and I had the BEST time together. So much fun!
10. Your soul needs it.
Being in the mountains is therapeutic. It is special and it is beautiful. For me it’s always a great reminder of how small I am compared to the enormous mountains but how BIG God is for creating this masterpiece, and my problems or troubles don’t seem so big and unsurmountable anymore!
The Cavern itself is nestled in a private reserve with incredible views of sandstone cliffs, indigenous forests and fields of proteas. The birdlife, flowers and trees surrounding the resort all play a part in making this resort the best family holiday for mom and dad to relax and rejuvenate whilst the kids have an absolute ball.
Other things to note:
We stayed in the standard interleading rooms, and from our experience the bedrooms are basic, they are old (the resort was established in 1941), but have everything you need:
– Under Floor heating
– Tea/Coffee station
– Soft towels
– very close to the main resort which is great if the kids wake up or stir while you are enjoying a drink or dinner as it is not a mission to get back there.
– the Cavern very kindly provided us with a camp cot which saved us so much space in our boot
I do believe the Superior rooms are beautiful and we might look at staying there on our next visit, but then you do lose the benefit of being so close to the resort as they are slightly further away…
The Cavern Resort is a 4 hour drive from Ballito, which is rather long as far as berg holidays go. For us, however it was not a bad trip. We stopped at Wimpy on the way there, and we stopped in at Piggly Wiggly on the way home. A lovely way to break up our drive and let the kids wee and stretch their little legs.
There is currently a Winter special on, which is worth taking advantage of:
Thank you to the Cavern Resort for having this Fourie family of five!
As a family we were invited to enjoy a stay at The Cavern Resort providing a review in exchange for a discount on our rates. All thoughts in review above are 100% my own and not influenced in any way.