Cape Grace’s tagline reads, “You have to stay here at least once in your lifetime.” However, there is no shortage of 5-star hotels in Cape Town to be sure. So what makes staying at Cape Grace in particular so very special? From glorious food and wine pairings to stolen moments of serenity in the spa, the welcoming service right down to the smallest of thoughtful touches, here are nine reasons why Cape Grace truly is a ‘home’ unlike any other.
1. Extraordinarily warm service
The team at Cape Grace don’t just do service well, they live and breathe it! From the moment the doormen greet you with a cheerful ‘welcome home’, you can expect to treated with personalised, exceptionally warm service from every member of the team. The staff really take their time to learn the names of their guests, so each interaction feels comfortable, and each request happily attended to with care.
2. The elegant decor and historic charm
This is no flashy, brightly lit space. Instead, beautiful arrays of local proteas brighten the reception and lounge, while intriguing artefacts weave stories of the Cape’s colourful past along each floor – the overall effect one of comfortable elegance. It’s also hard not to stop every couple of paces to admire an ancient kist, collection of canes, speckled ship manifest or shipwrecked treasure. Indeed, Cape Grace has one of the most important and comprehensive public antique furniture collections owned by a hotel in South Africa, with over 300 unique pieces!
3. The exclusive location
While modern, high-rise hotels populate the waterfront’s horizon in increasing numbers, none are quite a sequestered as the Cape Grace. Nestled on their own private quay, staying there feels secluded, and exclusive while still giving you ease of access to the always busy V&A Waterfront and city centre.
The V&A Waterfront’s 5km running route actually begins just outside the reception doors – so take advantage of the scenic loop in the morning, if you feel like getting a bit of exercise (and sightseeing) in before breakfast.
4. The luxurious rooms and amenities
Heavy brass finishes, hand-painted quilts that drape over the extra large king-sized beds, fresh Proteas, and every creature comfort that you could possibly dream of. Each one of the 120 rooms at Cape Grace are unique. Some face the harbour while others might face the yacht marina, but Cape Town is beautiful from all angles, so you’re never miss out. Fluffy white towels and robes line the marbled changing and bathroom area, while the new range of fynbos-inspired soaps, lotions stock the shelves. It’s luxurious and understated, opulent without being loud.
5 .The spa on top of the world
A relaxing escape is not complete without a spa treatment. Choose from a classic Swedish Massage, or try the signature Kalahari desert-inspired Rolling Sands treatment. Wrapped in velvety white gowns, you’re encouraged to help yourself to herbal teas and snacks from the health bar while you admire the panoramic views of Table Mountain and the city. The treatments take place in cozily-lit rooms where the plush massage beds are heavenly. There is also a brand new, water-wise sauna room, so take some time out and enjoy that before or after your chosen treatment.
6. The sumptuous food and wine
If it’s a journey through the Cape’s most exquisite culinary and wine offerings you’re after, Signal restaurant is where you should head. One can choose from the Tasting Menu (veggie option available), paired with wines, or the ala carte menu, and indulge at your own whim.
Each dish is so beautifully presented that they almost seemed a shame to eat. Head Chef, Malika van Reenan’s Cape Malay influence is evident in each bite, whether it’s in the hint of a Cape spice, or the local ingredients, reflective of our abundant produce.
Starters might include a caramelised aubergine creation, or succulent quail, mains, a hearty springbok steak or melt-in-your-mouth lamb shoulder. While portions are rich, they’re cleverly sized to allow one to be tempted by dessert. Dense, dark Chocolate Torte, topped with vanilla apricot and pistachio parfait, or a Buttermilk Rosemary Panna Cotta just two of the options.
Even if you opt out of the sweets, each meal ends with a little presentation of mini macaroons, bites of fudge or whatever confectionary the patisseries have dreamed up that day.
Of course, it’s needless to say that Marlvin Gwese, the Head Sommelier and level 4 Cape Wine Academy specialist, is there to pair each dish with an unusual, ideally matched wine, poured gently from a cavernous carafe.
Perfectly made cappuccinos and espressos end the evening at Signal, after which you might drift into the library to enjoy a final little tipple of sherry before heading off to bed, bellies, hearts and heads full with stories told through wine, food, and the kind of hospitality that makes you feel like royalty.
7. The little touches that make the biggest of differences
If you’re celebrating a special occasion, you can be sure that the team will make it their business to add on a few extra spoils. Strawberries, bubbles on ice, and delectable macaroons are just some of the surprises that might await guests.
Cape Grace also offers a host of complimentary guest services that are almost too long to list. This includes a chauffeur service to anywhere within a 10km radius (perfect if you’ve decided to dine out or want to explore a bit of Cape Town without driving), the aforementioned port and sherry in the library after dinner, and even an overnight shoe-polishing service – perfect for those heading out to a business meeting the next day.
8. The unbelievable breakfast spread
While Signal restaurant might operate as a candle-lit fine dining space during the evenings, by morning, it is transformed into a smorgasbord of wonder. Guests are welcomed in and seen to the crisp white tables, all passing the main table laden with that’s day’s delights. Bottles of chilled bubbles rest in ice, silver jugs of juices in every flavour await a glug, and Cape’s most delicious fruits, cheeses, cured meats, fish and preserves line tier after tier. And oh, the baked goods. There are the breads, in every variation, the sweet, flaky pastries, and even doughnuts, oozing fillings or dusted with sugar. But if you prefer something a little healthier, you might instead take a turn past a vegan coconut chia pot, or top your stewed fruits with a dollop of creamy yoghurt and honey.
And that’s not to mention the hot breakfast, also included in a stay. After a couple of rounds past the buffet, make sure to leave a little space for a sunshine-yellow frittata, the full English, with the crispiest rashers of bacon, or make it up as you go along.
9. Gemstones and Gifts at Platandia
It’s a little tucked away on the ground floor, but Platandia, Cape Grace’s jewellery and gift store is well worth visiting. Platinum, Tanzanite and Diamond jewellery (hence the name) are available for purchase from Rob Burton – a leading expert in the field of gems and fine metals. Rob also specialises in custom-ordered pieces, so if you have it in mind to commission a piece, do have a chat with him and, if nothing else, ask to see his extraordinary sketch book of past pieces he’s made with his talented team.
Staying at Cape Grace is truly an unforgettable experience, the magical combination of luxury, hospitality, and memorable experiences so wonderful that you’ll leave wondering when you can next return ‘home.’
Blog post by: Tarah Darge