The Combined School’s Bridging Year Creative Textiles and Consumer Studies class recently visited Agterplaas guesthouse in Melville. After weeks of learning about the hospitality industry from books, the glossy magazine pictures in the classroom finally came to life.
The General manager Santie, took the group on a guided tour of the establishment. She explained all aspects of the business, from having to be a people’s person to being meticulous in ensuring that everything is clean and in working order.
The first leg of the tour was of the homely kitchen where chef Badia prepares the famous Agterplaas breakfasts. All the baking is done daily on the premises.
Next the pupils got to see the inside of the perfect rooms. They were shown the wheelchair-friendly room and how safety deposit boxes work. Management has to be prepared for an array of guests’ needs and try to think of everything. From candles, solar lamps and gas in the event of power failures to keeping garden furniture freshly painted, the establishment is run like a super machine.
They also had a glimpse of the administrative side of the business. Suddenly the section of Consumer Studies that many found boring made sense and seemed much less complicated.
The tour was a magical glimpse into both what guests experience as well as the machine that keeps it running smoothly. Learners took selfies against the gorgeous view of the Melville Koppies and were amazed by the beautiful garden.
To end the tour of Agterplaas, the class was treated to very special Belgian honey waffles, specially prepared for the group by chef Marc. They sat in the dining room like grown-up guests, absorbing the cosy atmosphere while enjoying our delicious treats.
“It’s the small things that make a difference. From gorgeous smells of coffee and crisp linen to jars of fresh flowers and honey coloured wood, the ambience left us feeling excited about our journey in school and life,” says Consumer Studies teacher, Jana O’Grady.
She continues, “We are grateful for the experience granted by the wonderful people in our community who respect and treat our children as the future of our beautiful country. Thank you very much to Rita, Jannie, Santie, Badia, Loet, Marc, John, Walter and everyone else who made this outing possible.”