If you’re considering a Christmas away from home this year, many hotel restaurants have special menus so that you can feast without the fuss

While preparing a festive feast for family and friends can be wonderfully rewarding, sometimes the thought of all that effort (and cleaning up) can be overwhelming.

If you’re considering a Christmas away from home this year, many hotel restaurants across the country have been hard at work creating special menus so that you can feast without the fuss, and even enjoy a well-deserved after-meal nap!  

From an ocean-facing all-you-can-eat, to a Bedouin luncheon in the vineyards, here is a brief round-up of what to expect:

Le Verger, Franschhoek, Western Cape

On the 24th, head to Le Franschhoek Hotel and Spa’s Le Verger Restaurant for the Seafood Extravaganza held outdoors under a Bedouin tent. The event runs from 16h00 – 20h00 to make the most of the sunset over the surrounding mountains. 

Enjoy live music, Christmas crackers, a complimentary beverage on arrival and special entertainment for the kids.

What’s on the menu: Pot bread & apricot jam, garlic & feta braai bread, trout au pappiotte, braai’d snoek, Cape Malay mussel casserole, sweet potato dauphine, and brandy pudding & ice cream.

Cost: Adults & kids over 13: R395. Kids under 12: R95

Finfoot Lake Reserve, Greater Pilanesberg, North West Province

A 90-minute drive from Johannesburg, that much-needed slice of peace and quiet is within easy reach this festive season. The reserve's swimming pool is a top spot for those who want to put their feet up and enjoy a cocktail or two after lunch while looking out for birds, and African Reindeers – kudu.

What’s on the menu: Lamb on the spit with a red wine jus, grilled baby chicken, roast butternut with orange & ginger syrup, creamy green beans & mushroom, Cape brandy pudding with custard, chocolate duo cheesecake, and red velvet cake.

Cost: Adults: R285. Kids: R175

The Peninsula, Cape Town, Western Cape

At  Peninsula All-Suite Hotel, why not enjoy an all-day buffet? The warm Dream Hotels and Resorts’ hospitality and service are second-to-none, but it’s the magnificent views of Lion’s Head and the Atlantic Ocean that will truly inspire.

What’s on the menu: Butternut & biltong salad, smoked salmon terrine, rolled turkey with roasted chestnut stuffing, mustard & ale basted gammon, garlic & rosemary rump with yorkies and mini sausages wrapped in bacon, with death by chocolate trifles for dessert.

Cost: Adults: R495

The Blue Marlin, Scottburgh, KwaZulu-Natal

Nothing beats a classic Christmas at the seaside. If you’re in Durban this year, make your way to the well-loved Blue Marlin Hotel, an iconic establishment where many families from across the country return year after year. The Lighthouse Restaurant is just a few steps from the beach, so you can work off Christmas lunch.

What’s on the menu: Honey glazed gammon with apple & port, roast beef fillet rolled in Dijon mustard & biltong dust, served with creamy pepper sauce, Madras lamb curry & roasted cashew nuts, squidgy chocolate cake and raspberry meringues.

Cost: Adults: R495

La Tala Restaurant, Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal

Savour Christmas lunch at this spectacular thatched venue at Tala Game Reserve. The surrounding mix acacia thornveld, open grassland and wetland provide exceptional game and bird watching opportunities, with expert-led walking safaris also available.  

What’s on the menu: Blue cheese & spinach salad with roasted nuts & crispy bacon, fresh herb crusted roast leg of lamb with a rosemary red wine jus, Christmas gammon with mustard sauce, roasted turkey, traditional roasted potatoes, baked butternut and green beans with Christmas pudding with custard and traditional fruit trifle cheesecake for dessert.

Cost: Adults: R395

Le Franschhoek Hotel and Spa, Franschhoek, Western Cape

From 12h30 - 15h30 celebrate Christmas Day with a buffet in the Pavilion Restaurant in Franschhoek. Guests are welcome to sit on the terrace or in one of their conservatories. Kids can join the Kids Club at no extra charge, while moms and dads can enjoy a complimentary drink on arrival.

What’s on the menu: Chilled gazpacho soup, marinated garlic and herb lamb belly, roast beef with Yorkshire pudding & natural jus, seafood paella with chorizo sausage, and tiramisu with Amaretto biscuits, chocolate marquise.

Cost: Adults & kids over 13: R650. Kids 5 - 12: R325