In the spirit of founding investor Sol Kerzner's "go big or go home" philosophy, the One&Only Cape Town is a splendid tribute to excess with its four-story glass window views onto Table Mountain from the aptly named Vista Bar and decadent island spa surrounded by a moat. The island lends a tropical resort feel, added to by a spectacular outdoor infinity pool and the presence of Cape Town's very own branch of the renowned Nobu restaurant. With all of this, it's easy to forget that you're still in the center of the city, just steps from the V&A Waterfront.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Word of warning: the place is gorgeous, but it is extremely expensive. Be prepared.
All rooms are much larger than you'd find in most other hotels and beautifully furnished in contemporary African design chic. All offer pretty impressive levels of luxury - even basic rooms have king-size beds (or two queens) and private balconies with views (or they surround the gorgeous pool on the island), Nespresso machines and huge TVs.
If you really want to blow the budget, you have plenty of opportunity here - maybe try Justin Bieber's favourite suite, the Table Mountain suite, or how about the first ever Champagne suite experience in Africa, by Dom Perignon? Needless to say, the decoration is swish and your 'experience' involves a lot of champagne.
Bathrooms are also massive and luxurious, with double sinks, baths and showers. Some rooms have dressing rooms, too.
The hotel lobby sets the pace--a huge, light-filled and gorgeous circular space, with the aforementioned huge windows, which drops down into the bar, then out down some steps onto the lagoon island and then ultimately the two islands beyond--one which houses the spa, the other more rooms.
Despite all the swankiness, the hotel welcomes children, with a KidsOnly club and activities for teenagers, too.
A knockout infinity pool is basically all you'd expect from a property of this caliber.
A spa on an island is a pretty cool concept, and the One&Only spa delivers: lush landscapes, beautiful interiors and talented therapists take the relaxation to the next level. There are beauty treatments available too.
The hotel's predictably large, well-equipped gym also boasts Pilates classes, personal trainers and yoga. They also lend out fitness equipment to the rooms.
There are more superlative experiences available here: Africa's first and only Nobu; Reuben's brasserie, a chic restaurant showcasing local flavors; and Isola restaurant, a poolside Mediterranean place focused on seafood and pizza on the private island.
We've mentioned what is effectively the lobby bar, Vista Bar. Here, it is elevated to star status in the middle of the circular space, with the mountain views behind it, glinting through the bottles of spirits. Afternoon tea is served here too, with live music in the evenings, and the cocktails are delicious. The gorgeous Wine Loft, with 5,000 bottles available, is basically a temple to wine.
The hotel is a very short walk from the vibrant V&A Waterfront, and easy drives or taxis beyond that to the rest of Cape Town's sights.
For a break from the swankiness, head to Den Anker (8-minute walk), a relaxed Belgian restaurant dishing up mussels and beer. Or try The Test Kitchen (9-minute drive)--opened in 2010, it's been up there as one of Cape Town's best and most inventive restaurants ever since, alongside the other places set up by the now legendary Luke Dale Roberts.
Shimmy Beach Club (7-minute drive) is an oceanfront bar, lounge and club for some serious partying. Or check out the CBD nightlife at The Gin Bar (11-minute drive), a cute little joint that is serious about its gin.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Over the top and loving it, the One & Only is one of Cape Town's fanciest hotels, with huge rooms, a spa on an island in a lagoon, and a globally recognised restaurant in the form of Nobu. It's expensive, but then, what did you expect?