Sparkling wine served by a smiling waiter at a silent hilltop location in the middle of nowhere. Three lively musicians making hypnotic music – just for us. A spread of tasty snacks of samosas and other spicy treats. Cool, crisp mountain air. A slight breeze. The outline of Mount Kilimanjaro in the distance. A sublime sunset… sigh. And a lion’s roar… only kidding!
These are the kinds of experiences that fiancés planning marriage proposals pray for – the sorts of experiences that travel writing couples have when they’re working when they wish they weren’t. Working that is.
As much as some holiday rental owners try to create special experiences for their guests that are on par with those offered by the very best hotels – and we’re thinking about the extent that owner-/manager-concierges such as Rusty Irons in Austin, Susan in Costa Rica and Shirley in Cape Town will go to in order to make their guests happy – very few holiday rentals can match hotels when it comes to creating truly memorable moments. Or can they?
The sundowners I described above that were organized by Ephantus, the assistant manager of Sarova Salt Lick Game Lodge, was a singular experience that restored our faith in fine hotels. It wasn’t the kind of romantic experience it could have been if Terence wasn’t taking photos, if I hadn’t been videotaping and making notes, and if Terence ultimately hadn’t joined the band for a jam session. But that is another post. But, ah, I could very easily imagine how special it could have been… sigh.
If you stay at Salt Lick, Ephantus can organize a romantic candlelit meal up there for you. Or even a party – there are five, open, thatched-roof huts with tables. And there’s a dance floor – which you can see getting tested out above by one of our happy waiters!
What I’m curious to know is whether there are holiday rental owners/concierges out there who can organize experiences as special as these? Have you as a traveller ever had such an experience in a holiday rental? Are you planning something special – a proposal or anniversary for instance – and would prefer to spend it in a holiday rental instead of a hotel if they could carry out your dream plan? Or do you think this is something that a hotel simply does better? After almost 11 months in holiday rentals, we’re curious. We’d love to hear your thoughts…
If you want to organize something special at Salt Lick, just email Ephantus and say we sent you: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell him you want what we had – only without the video camera, camera and notebooks. And more champagne please. And have a couple of glasses for us, won’t you?