Zero to Unforgettable…in Just 19 hours

By Caroline Tapp-McDougall

From adrenaline fueled adventures to scenic seaside escapes and urban safaris, South Africa is certainly a vibrant melting pot worth discovering…

From adrenaline fueled adventures to scenic seaside escapes and urban safaris, South Africa is certainly a vibrant melting pot worth discovering…

Long an adventurous traveller’s favourite, the vibrant city of Cape Town is nestled within a natural amphitheatre shaped by the awe-inspiring cliffs of Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head. And right in its heart, overlooking the tony V&A Waterfront Marina and commanding panoramic views of Table Mountain, is the hotel that everyone seems to be talking about—One&Only Cape Town, creating a buzz that’s all its own.

Here, there’s no such thing as ordinary. Everything is a delightful surprise: The One&Only 5,000-bottle Wine Loft, with fun-filled evening wine tastings hosted by sommelier Luvo; stunning local artwork; epic breakfasts at Reuben’s; and the diversity of cultures that have influenced modern South African cuisine. Charmingly, staff are from the “nothing’s too much trouble” school, and we’re delightfully well-taken care of—as if we were regulars.

We’re also pleasantly surprised that the dire water shortage the area was struggling with in recent months had been tamed. We’d come prepared to restrict our shower time, re-use our cutlery and return home with our dirty laundry. Thankfully drastic measures are no longer necessary, but we stayed mindful anyway, as has the hotel.

With a wide-open lobby, lounging spaces inside and out, generously proportioned rooms and suites with endless views from large terraces, and three eateries (Michelin-starred Nobu, Isola at the poolside and Reuben’s, Chef Reuben Riffel’s first urban spot), this is our kind of discreetly private bolt-hole.

For chilling out, there’s a boat ride on the waterway, the largest heated pool in South Africa and One&Only’s hidden spa island, managed by ESPA, one of our favourites. 

It doesn’t take long for us to realize why this special spot is the well-heeled Cape Towner’s go-to pampering destination, and a preferred choice for out-of-town guests looking for a secluded yet buzz-worthy getaway.

Mountain Walks

Swimming with sharks

When we’ve finished exploring the V&A Waterfront with its boutiques, trendy eateries and hipster dessert and coffee bars, the hotel’s resident concierge has more up his sleeve to recommend.

Teeing off for a foursome at the Jack Nicklaus-designed, all-season, 6,749-metre Pearl Valley Golf Course is easily arranged.

Next, the expert surfers in our group eagerly head off to hang 10 in the mammoth off-shore swells at the mighty Dungeons, while others opt for the gentler waves of Muizenberg Beach—the bohemian town where South African surfing is said to have been born. A word to the wise: Swim at your own risk. Many beaches have expert shark-spotters on site, just in case of unwanted visitors.

One adventurous couple, who seemingly had nerves of steel, decided to terrify themselves by signing up for a cage-diving experience—an eye-ball to eye-ball encounter with the Cape’s venerable white sharks. And yes, they made it back in time for dinner at Nobu.

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