On the slopes of Table Mountain with stupendous views overlooking the whole of Cape Town, this perfectly lovely, pretty much exemplary boutique hotel is all tranquil privacy and bold designer style. Marble-floored public areas are filled with the owner's edgy, modern art collection, and massive glass walls perpetuate the sense of expansive space flowing down to the harbor. A brilliant breakfast, top-notch afternoon tea, gorgeous pool area, decent-size gym, and beautiful gardens complete the picture.
Perks include 24-hour butler service, a decadent high tea, complimentary one-way transfer to or from the airport, complimentary house wines, a driver to take you out for dinner, free cookies in the lobby area, and free use of mountain bikes to enjoy the direct access to trails that begin in the backyard. We could go on.
Each of the eight gorgeous, spacious rooms in this white, geometric modern property has a design theme—flamingo, orchid, explorer, etc. "Pom Pom" has its own private plunge pool, and "Versailles," predictably, is extra large and ornate. The theme is taken seriously: "Orchid" even smells deliciously of the flowers. All have views, either of the garden, pool and Table Mountain or the city and the sea. Beds are large and comfortable.
YOU SHOULD KNOW You can hear the famous Cape Town wind from the rooms, probably because of the hotel's lofty perch on the slopes of Table Mountain. We found it cozy, but others might not like it.
Bathrooms, too, are spacious and modern, with home-like touches including gorgeous rugs. Two of the rooms have showers but the others have baths. The toiletries are all-natural and eco-friendly, by Africology, and towels are very soft.
There's no lobby as such, more the coolest living room you've ever seen, with views of the city to one side and the pool and garden to the other. Staff hover round in a friendly, attentive and never overbearing manner, proferring welcome drinks on arrival and other treats throughout the day.
The reasonable-sized pool in the back garden, with loungers and umbrellas, is a relaxing spot for a dip. The gardens themselves are worth a note, too - lush and green, with several different seating areas including a cool swing chair.
Guests can arrange for treatments in their rooms, although there's no on-site spa.
There is a well-equipped gym overlooking the pool, including a steam room and bathroom.
The hotel does not offer dinner but it has an absolutely storming afternoon tea overlooking the city, as well as cookies and treats throughout the day and a completely delicious breakfast including a fresh, fruity buffet as well as hot options cooked to order by the chef in the open kitchen just next to the breakfast tables with their panoramic view of Cape Town. Be warned though: we had to have a lie-down afterwards (this was not strictly the hotel's fault, to be fair, but our own greed).
Manna Bay is in the chic residential neighborhood of Oranjezicht, which means it is quiet, but it can feel a little out of the action, although almost all of Cape Town's key sights are a quick drive away (the hotel has parking and a transfer service for dinner). We think the hotel's retreat-vibe and all-round brilliance makes up for this, but some may prefer to be right by the beach or the restaurants and bars of Kloof Street or the V&A Waterfront.
Chic and charming Manna Epicure (5-minute drive - no relation) is a lovely restaurant with an inventive tapas-style menu. Or head for Salsify (10-minute drive), the hottest new restaurant in Cape Town by its coolest restaurateur, Luke Dale Roberts.
Asoka (5-minute drive) is a gorgeous cocktail bar along Kloof Street with a good atmosphere. Or sample the nightlife downtown at The Gin Bar (9-minute drive) a hiddenaway little bar with just five cocktail options (and G&Ts).