Colleen was born and raised in Zimbabwe. In her first job she worked at the famous Wankie Safari Lodge Hotel in the heart of the bushveld, surrounded by game From there, she proceeded to Victoria Falls where she joined the A'Zambezi River Lodge. Her next move was into the banking world and from there to Cape Town where her Mom, Dad and grandparents had all been born.
When Colleen purchased the wonderful "Whale of a Time" property overlooking the sea, she decided she would like to share the magic of the location, by building an entertainment area. Jumping in 'boots and all' she designed and built what is now the famous Southern Right stone, thatched cottage. It turned out to be such a success that their friends begged them to make it available to other folk, so that they too could share the amazing experience of panoramic seaviews, and watching whales calving right in front of the cottage!
Thus this wonderful guest house "A Whale of a Time" was born, and more than 10 years later we have two lovely reservation ladies Debbie and Mags, and four hard-working and cheerful domestic executives who have been with us almost from the beginning, and have grown with them into a 3 star guest-house establishment, which is a home from home for folk from all over the globe who return year after year, and many of whom have become great friends of the family.
How "A Whale of a Time" was born:
Colleen purchased the property about 15 years ago as a residential home. She immediately felt that the amazing seaview, which takes ones breath away and make one feel as though one is on a boat, should be shared with as many people as possible.
Being perched on the side of the mountain, the ground was far too steep to provide space for the kind of accommodation and recreational facilities Colleen had in mind for her guests, so she called in the big guns - the same architectural landscapers who had worked at Cape Point.
They dug, cut, filled, and pushed boulders, rock, sand etc., and leveled out a lovely platform (this was an amazing site to be seen) a total transformation and absolute miracle. They then built the stone wall, ("the whaling wall"), with which even the great wall of China could not compete!!). Once the site had been prepared, Colleen, and her trusty helpers personally carried down and placed each piece of the Monkey Stone which now forms part of the Waterfall features.
The pool duly arrived - blocking the entire road! "There was great consternation at the logistics of the seemingly impossible task of manhandling it down the mountain, over the boulders and into place, without all of us ending up in the sea". However, believe it or not the lovely salt water pool now gleams (almost laughs) as it lies overlooking the expanse of False bay, its seaboard and surrounding mountains. The colour of the pool being Charcoal Grey assists the water to mirror the changing colours and moods of the warm ocean.
Now was time to continue building the stone cottage. Seven wonderful, traditional, stone masons (a dying trade) were found and work commenced. Seven is Colleens favourite number and when they found a number seven shaped stone, she had them concrete it into the kitchen wall.
All through winter the work continued, with the team carrying down the heavy stone, by hand from the mountainside. The rustic beams, thatch and dormer windows were all brought down the slope by hand. The railways sleeper kitchen, was especially designed and made up by Craftsmen who cut and styled the lovely cupboards from yellow-wood, blackwood and teak sleepers cutting and removing the bolts from each one - many an industrial saw blade was broken in this process.
The solid Bar counter is much admired by all visitors to the cottage, being an amazingly beautiful and unique piece of nature. By completion, the stone cottage was so spectacular and natural that it became rather famous and demand for occupancy exceeded its size. It was then, on demand from their guests that Colleen converted the rooms of the main house into lovely seafacing guest suites.
And so legend of A Whale of a Time was born! One of the first guest lodges in Fish Hoek and still one of the lovely golden oldies still around having run steadily 365 days of a year since 1996. It has nurtured many wonderful visitors, most of whom have now become great friends of the family, coming back year after year.