We recently got given the opportunity by First Group to spend a glorious weekend down the South Coast at one of the top self-catering resorts in South Africa, situated at the northern end of Margate beach, La Cote d’Azur.
I have always said – never leave home for a holiday unless it is better than your home and boy was the beautiful resort of La Cote d’Azur amazing!
Since we booked ourselves into a three bedroom self-catering apartment at La Cote d’Azur we decided to invite my in-laws to enjoy a special family weekend away, since First Group are all about families and making special memories – we thought this would be the perfect opportunity.
We haven’t had a family holiday together for over five years and this was their first holiday with their granddaughter so it was super special for them.
Driving in a car with a toddler who isn’t too keen on her carseat and being in the car for a long period of time, La Cote d’Azur is the perfect distance from Durban. We left Umhlanga at around 3pm and arrived at the resort at 4.30pm. It’s a short 154km drive and such a smooth trip along the N2.
We were greeted by First Group’s mascot, Fred First (who’s job is to keep all the children who visit their resorts smiling and happy) and boy did he have Maddie squealing in delight! From a distance Maddie was super keen to say hi. She pointed and said “There! There!” but as we got closer she wasn’t so keen to say “hi!” Haha!
We were so kindly welcomed by the resort’s management team and amazingly friendly ladies at reception who offered Maddie a bag of popcorn and proceeded to check us in and informed us of all the ins and outs of the resort.
We were then escorted to our room and given a tour of our apartment of which we were BLOWN AWAY! This resort is built on six floors, and luckily for us we were booked into room 601 – right on the top floor and stepped back from the Manaba end of Margate Beach, affording us a magnificent view across the gardens and over the beach and tumbling white breakers. Apparently every room at the resort has a sea view. When I say the view from our room is unlike any sea view I have ever seen – I mean it! Just have a look:
Our three bedroom apartment boasted a spacious lounge, dinning room area, fully equipped kitchen with a fridge, stove, microwave, double sink and all the kitchenware you’d require. Our apartment’s main room had it’s very own flatscreen TV and was ensuite with a toilet and bath while the other two bedrooms which were on the other side of the apartment (allowing for maximum privacy for all guests) also boasted queen size beds or two singles if preferred and a separate bathroom with bath and shower. The best thing about the rooms – they all had sliding doors which opened up onto the MOST gorgeous private balcony which almost seemed the size of the entire apartment and it had an eight seater table and chairs patio set and private braai facilities – one guess what we did the night we arrived? Braaied and roasted marshmallows well into the night whilst hearing the constant crashing of the waves – which was amazing to fall asleep to!
After a very late night of playing board games with the family well into the early hours of the morning (the hotel have a wide range of board games and DVDs in which you can hire from the reception – really catering for families). We shared lots of laughter and special moments!
The bed was super comfy and Maddie slept beautifully in the resort’s cot in which they set up in our room before we checked in. I actually received a call from the resort on the Wednesday before we were due to arrive informing me of all the facilities they have available, all the nearby attractions we can look forward to along with confirming my references for the room including how I wanted the beds positioned and if I needed a cot. YAY for excellent customer service!
We woke up feeling totally relaxed and revitalised for the new day despite our late night thanks to the calming sounds of the sea! A sound I really miss now that we are back home!
My father-in-law brought along his skottel braai to prepare us a delicious breakfast on our balcony while we sat and watched Maddie play on our Tidy Tot travel play mat that is a toy bag – seriously one of the best travel companions for moms with tots. (You can read our review of them here in case you missed it).
There is something about preparing a breakfast as a family on a gorgeous Saturday morning overlooking the ocean with the salty smell in the air. Maddie also loved looking through the glass at the beach and pointed out all the kids on the beach and even the surfers (much to dad’s disliking!) haha!
FACALITIES & NEARBY ATTRACTIONS:
After breakfast we went exploring around the resort while room service gave our room a good thorough clean and tackled the mountain of dishes our braai and breakfast caused. We were blown away at the facilities available to the guests at the resort. Along with a gorgeous pool, a baby pool accompanies it alongside a rock feature, there is a private jacuzzi, a poolside bar with pool tables, a tennis court, jungle gyms and trampoline for the kids as well as an onsite restaurant as well as a La Vita Spa.
There is so much to do at the resort that there is no need to venture out! The resort plans activities throughout the day at the poolside including family bingo, karaoke and story time with Fred First – to name a few. We also had the pleasure of being hosted by the resort’s management for a high tea meet and greet at the pool – such a special touch!
We decided to get into our car and go exploring since there is SO much to do outside of the resort too! You really do need to book in for a couple of days to really take advantage of the facilities and the sights.
Just 20 odd KMs from the resort is the family favourite, Macbanana – a unique shopping, entertainment and destination which homes the most gorgeous food emporium, restaurant and has endless activities for the whole family to enjoy including Maddie’s favourite – an animal farm! We fed the ponies and ducks and enjoyed some fresh air as a family before sitting down for some pancakes and a fresh banana milkshake!
When at a banana plantation right? You can’t not have a fresh banana milkshake and indulge in MacBanana’s legendary pancakes! Even Maddie had a taste of dad’s fresh banana milkshake – her first ever taste of a milkshake! Needless to say it was a hit!
We then headed back to the resort to put on our cozzies and take advantage of the warm South Coast weather and take a dip in the baby pool and even booked a 30 minute session in the jacuzzi which Maddie loved!
We soaked up the last of the day’s sun rays and left the pool just before sunset and watched the sunset on our balcony while lounging on our deck chairs overlooking the beach, before lighting up the braai – this time to grill some burger patties!
LA VITA SPA
After putting Maddie to bed and enjoying a meal together in the dinning room, Brett and I were booked into enjoy a couple’s massage at La Vita Spa at 9pm. There is something particularly amazing about walking from your ‘home’ to the spa, enjoying an hour of relaxation and pampering before walking back to your ‘bed’ to climb into bed and call it a night. It isn’t something you get to do often – A. Have a massage at 9pm at night and B. take a 2 minute walk back to your room to climb straight into bed.
The onsite La Vita Spa at La Cote d’Azur is super cozy and totally heavenly! Brett and I got to leave our parenting responsibilities with the grandparents and indulge in some much needed ‘us’ and ‘me’ time for an hour.
We enjoyed a 50 minute full body aromatherapy massage with an oil of our choice. I chose peppermint while Brett, my husband chose sandalwood. It was super fragrant and was the perfect scent to fall asleep to.
The massage was amazing. Hands down one of the best massages Brett and I have experienced. The masseuses were so professional and massaged beautifully. Our aches and pains caused from our busy toddler were vanished the moment we stepped out of the spa.
We were also gifted with the most gorgeous home fragrance defuser and nail set along with a selection of discount vouchers to further enjoy treatments at our local La Vita Spa at home.
Sadly waking up on Sunday, we knew it was our last day as a family at La Cote d’Azur so we enjoyed a quick breakfast and packed our bags and headed down to the beach before checking out. La Cote d’Azur have their own private gate access to the beach on the resort which makes the beach a stone throw away!
Lucien Beach is a popular swimming beach at the other end of the stretch of beach from Hibiscus Coast’s Margate Beach. It is a great beach to simply ‘chill on’ and it has a tidal pool built into the rocks along the coast for those who prefer a quiet dip. There is a little tuck-shop and an array of local women who sell their craft-ware in specially created areas and we were lucky enough to pick up a bucket and spade set for Maddie to play on the beach with.
It was surreal playing on the beach which we had been oohing and aahing over, over the past couple of days. Maddie’s granddad watched us play on the beach from our balcony and waved at Maddie – that’s how close we were to the resort.
After a short play on the beach we headed back up to the resort, got our bags fetched and carted to our cars and sadly checked out. Upon checking out we were given a brown bag filled with ‘padkos’ for the road which I thought was an awesome touch! Really unique!
We then headed to The Waffle House before hitting the road back home, cause no trip to Ramsgate is complete without a legendary waffle from the South Coast favourite! Maddie even got to enjoy her first waffle!
Maddie passed out in the car at the drop of a hat on the way back home – it was an amazing holiday and definitely one for the books. My in-laws were blown away by the accommodation and we were all so comfy in the eight sleeper room and never once felt like we were ‘on top’ of each other like some three bedrooms feel. They even coined the holiday as their best holiday yet.
It was truly a special family holiday and one we will never forget!
Thank you First Group and La Cote d’Azur for hosting my family and I!
Two bedroom ranges from R1530 to R2170 depending on day / season
Three bedroom ranges from R2390 to R3030 depending on day / season
CONTACT & BOOKING INFO:
1 Manaba Beach Road, Margate 4276, KwaZulu-Natal
039 312 1521
First Group – www.firstgroup-sa.co.za
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