This post was first published on my previous blog When Woman Travels.
We heard of Chez Vincent from a friend while we organized our New Year’s trip to South Africa. We needed to stay in Nelspruit for a night before going on a safari at one of the private game reserves in Kruger National Park. At that time, I already suspected that this might be the best guest house in Nelspruit.
Arriving in Nelspruit (now known as Mbombela)
The travel from Johannesburg to Nelspruit with AirLink was comfortable and short. (There is always something adventurous about flying on board small planes!) It came out that our luggage didn’t follow us and we arrived with just small bags to face the night. In addition, the highly experienced travel diva (I mean myself) didn’t think of writing down the address of Chez Vincent Guest House!
The pleasant sensation of arriving safe and seeing the beautiful small airport of Nelspruit was quickly overridden by worries. But we were not alone. The Johannesburg airport is a famous trap for lost or stolen luggage. This time, the fault was with the short transfer so we just had to swallow our frustration and go on with our trip.
At the luggage claim desk was a young man whose family was standing a few steps behind him. He was a local and helped us find online the address of Chez Vincent. It took more time to understand us than to find the address. We pronounced Chez Vincent with a French accent as the name is of French origin. However, people here pronounce Vincent with the English pronunciation. Because of that man, our first impression of Nelspruit was that of a friendly town.
Arriving at the guest house, we faced the South African reality – high walls, electric fence. Yet, behind these ugly installations, we met the kindest of faces. They were waiting for us. We were their first guests for the year.
That special feeling of being cared for
We felt like very special guests. We felt safe and cared for while dining at the gourmet restaurant that evening. We were the only guests. It was one night but it was more than that. The small guest house with its colourful rooms, gourmet food, and polite staff felt much more like a home I would want to go back to than the hotel we stayed for a week in Cape Town.
The next day, we met Jessica. She did take care of us and our luggage problem the same way an old friend will do. She phoned the airport office every two hours, checking if our luggage has arrived. I don’t know how she did it happen, but we got our luggage exactly on time for our transfer to Savanna Private Game Reserve. Our three days of safari adventures would be totally ruined if we didn’t have our suitcases with us. (I’m speaking about a photo camera, medications, and clothes to change).
The restaurant at Chez Vincent is one of its best features. The food was delicious and was served with grace. Apart from the quality of food, the restaurant ambiance is such that you would like to stay here, drinking the excellent South African wine and enjoying the relaxed atmosphere for a long time. And as an interior designer, I enjoyed the effort put into the aesthetics of its space.
Read about The Oldest Restaurant in Paris
Rooms and additional services
I found the room prices very reasonable in comparison with some other accommodation options in the town. What makes the stay here memorable, especially for people with a love for design and aesthetics, are the carefully curated interiors of the en-suite rooms and the apartments.
The comfortable beds feel even cozier at the backdrop of the deep and soothing colour of the walls. These walls are no boring ones – funky African woven plates are decorating them.
The patterned cushions in complementing colours balance the look of the room and the terracotta-tiled flooring makes the whole space feel earthier and relaxing. The French doors opening to the pool give away a Caribbean vibe from the morning.
Sometimes, the additional services make the difference. Airport transfer and babysitting can be of great help, but car wash and laundry service are sometimes what you need.
You can book directly with the Chez Vincent Guest House or find them on the hotel booking platforms. Address is 56 Ferreira Street, Nelspruit (Mbombela), Mpumalanga.
Our stay was not sponsored although they knew I’m a travel blogger. My opinion is as always my own. I share what I have experienced and the way I perceived the place. I’m totally aware that experiences are subjective. But I’m not alone in believing that Chez Vincent might be the best guest house in Nelspruit.