Barbara Burger is the Guest Relations Manageress at Arniston Spa Hotel located in the peaceful and safe coastal village of Arniston. The property is a leisurely 2-hour drive from Cape Town, through the colourful rolling hills of the Overberg. Surrounded by a turquoise-blue sea and endless white, sandy beaches, Arniston is sandwiched between two nature reserves.

Barbara is someone you need to get to know, and here is why.

What is your job description and what does your role involve?

I’m the Guest Relations officer at the 4-star Arniston Spa Hotel situated in one of the Western Cape’s most exquisite locations – an old, fishing village, Arniston. Arniston got its name from a British transport ship, the HMS Arniston that tragically sank off the coast just over 200 years ago and a thirty-minute walk from our hotel along a pristine beach, brings you to a piece of the wreckage of the HMS Arniston. My role includes the arrivals and departures of guests and handling concierge duties, bus travel tours and groups, and our ‘Kids Club’ – we are a family-friendly hotel.

On an administration level I respond to all personal emails from guests (compliments (many) and complaints (few), I also manage the database, staff housing, and marketing, plus a summation of all weekly feedback for all the hotel heads of departments. And as head of First Aid, I do educational and site inspections and as a qualified Western Cape Tour guide I do weekly site guiding to Kassiesbaai – a 120-year-old picturesque fishing village, a Grade One Heritage site and Waenhuiskrans.

Which parts of the travel industry do you work with?

Guest Liaison and Marketing.

What do you love most about your job?

First and foremost, I love the interaction with the guests – from the moment they arrive (to a warm welcome from myself and the team), to helping and assisting them plan activities while with us – there are so many things to do and see in this beautiful area of South Africa. I love where we are situated – in the peaceful and safe coastal village of Arniston, surrounded by a turquoise-blue sea, endless white, sandy beaches (unspoiled and child-friendly – safe and perfect for swimming and surfing), sandwiched between two nature reserves and a leisurely two-hour drive from Cape Town through the colourful rolling hills of the Overberg. I love that the Hotel with its 60 luxurious en-suite rooms and its exclusive relaxation spa run by the renowned Ginkgo Spa & Wellness Group, is part of the prestigious Cape Country Routes collection.

What are the challenges of your role?

Being ‘hands-on’ everywhere, and all the time is quite a challenge.

What do you wish the travel industry did more of?

Helping all in the industry of hospitality to understand exactly what ‘excellence’ is. Here at Arniston Spa Hotel we strive for excellence.

How can the travel industry work with you?

The Travel/Tourism industry generally does a lot to promote South Africa, and as a result, South Africa is a very attractive destination for international travellers. However, I think that we, as hotel managers and owners, need to pick up on this and expand on the promotion of travel within South Africa. So, aside from ensuring the safety of our own guests and providing the best service possible, we also need to encourage them to visit other destinations, attractions, and “outposts” of our beautiful country.  Just a short 50-minute drive from our Arniston Spa Hotel lies Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of Africa with Agulhas County Lodge, a small family-run hotel with a very friendly vibe also a Cape Country Routes member; and a 90-minute drive will bring you to the world-renowned De Hoop Nature reserve one of the largest natural areas managed by CapeNature and a favourite destination for hikers, cyclists, bird and whale watchers.

What is your favourite African experience and why?

I love the great outdoors mixed (horse riding and swimming) with a cultural experience of some sort and a city hop-on hop-off bus tour.

Where is your next African adventure to?

Botswana – one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world and a neighbour of South Africa.

What are your top tips for travelling to Africa?

Aside from all the usual tips – do your research… make copies of important documentation… be aware of your surroundings etc, I advise that you arrive with a positive attitude, come with an open mind, and heart and absorb all the experiences the activities that our South African people and nature have to offer.

Contact Barbara


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Editor Africa Beat

Africa Beat is the source of all your news and updates in the travel industry out of Africa. You will find also find reviews and features focused on Africa.

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