Fodor's Expert Review Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa
Victoria Rd., Cape Town, Western Cape, 8040, South Africa, Cape Town, South Africa See on Map Fodor's Choice
If you fancy taking a helicopter to the airport or lazing in a bubble bath while looking out of floor-to-ceiling windows at the sea and the mountains (and you have plenty of cash spare), then this award-winning, beautiful and luxurious hotel and spa may be for you. With spectacular views of the sea, it is the only man-made structure between Camps Bay and Llandudno, and its enormous indigenous gardens meld into Table Mountain National Park behind it. A shuttle runs to the Waterfront every hour all day long, and constantly changing events like "dinner and a movie" night in the 16-seat cinema or special-occasion high teas and wine tastings are the norm.
You can get great deals in the off-season.
The large rooms are light and airy, and most have either mountain or sea views (the "classic" rooms have close views of the garden, and balconies). All feel comfortable and relaxing, with different but understated decorative styles inspired by the natural world around the hotel. The particularly spectacular sea-facing rooms come with sunken lounges and balconies too--the perfect spot for private sundowners overlooking the ocean.
Keep an eye out for whales and dolphins playing in the sea below you.
The hotel's B Africa provides the luxurious toiletries for the bathrooms, which are also large and swanky as you like, with complimentary fluffy bathrobes and slippers.
Staff treat guests as if they are royalty--and some probably are--which makes for a wonderfully indulgent stay. The brilliant service starts at the welcoming reception and continues throughout the hotel and its amenities.
Of course, there isn't just one pool in the hotel's gorgeous gardens. There are two: the heated infinity pool overlooking the Atlantic, or the rock pool and heated jacuzi behind the hotel, joined by a tanning deck and 10 hammocks in the Fynbos gardens. Both pools have a special menu from The Café Grill, and guests are also provided with sunblock, fruit, water and magazines.
The hotel's B Africa spa, perhaps unsurprisingly, is something special. There are seven indoor treatment rooms, top-notch treatments and massages, hydrotherapy pools, a traditional cleansing Rasul chamber and rain shower, a salon and a relaxation lounge. But the real highlight is the outdoor mountain gazebos where guests can get massages while gazing at the sunset over the sea below.
There's a well-equipped gym, but the fitness offer doesn't stop there. The fitness buddies scheme allows guests to play tennis, squash or golf with a member of staff, who will also join you on a hike, run or cycle along the Atlantic shoreline. Alternatively, you can make your own way around the gardens or the mountain trails beyond, with a map provided by the hotel.
The dining starts well, with stellar breakfasts complete with views at on-site restaurant Azure (if you can think of it, it's probably included in the buffet). Things continue in a similar vein, with relaxed and tasty all-day dining at The Café Grill, and fine Cape Fusion cuisine available at Azure later in the day.
YOU SHOULD KNOW One of the hotel's only problems is that it can be a victim of its own success: restaurants have to be pre-booked and sometimes the bar is full. This is more of a problem than at most properties because there are no nearby alternatives - on the other hand, there are plenty of spots for a drink within the grounds.
The Leopard Bar is gorgeous, with those stellar views again, as well as tasty cocktails. A wonderful 'Afternoon tea by the sea' served here and in the conservatory from 10 am to 4 pm is a local favorite.
Challenge the bartenders to make you a special cocktail using your favorite ingredients (when the bar is not too busy!)--they'll eagerly take you up.
The hotel is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, along the sea road down from Camps Bay. But that's one of the reasons it feels so perfect and luxurious. Driving or getting taxis back into the city (about 25 minutes) or the nearer beaches of Camps Bay (less than ten minutes) is easy, too, despite the remote feel.
Head for Salsify (12-minute drive), one of Cape Town's newest and fanciest restaurants, for a delicious tasting menu. Or there's Bilboa (6-minute drive): get there early enough for sunset just by the beach, and enjoy the fresh, simple seafood menu.
Also in nearby Camps Bay, Chinchilla (7-minute drive) is a gorgeous rooftop spot above the beach for drinks (and light meals) at any time of the day. Or finish your day of sightseeing at the V&A Waterfront by dipping your toes in the sea while sipping a beer or cocktail at one of the bars at The Grand Africa (25-minute drive), one of Cape Town's only proper beach bars (admittedly, a chic one).
WHY WE LIKE IT
Stellar service, an out-of-this-world location, and gorgeous garden facilities, from the spa to the pool. Staying at the Twelve Apostles is a real experience, and watching the sun fall into the sea from its mountain gardens, night after night, cocktail in hand, is probably one of the most beautiful ways to watch sunset in the entire world.
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