South African Style: One & Only Cape Town

Cape Town

Cape Town is certainly one of the most picturesque places on the continent, and visitors to the Mother City are spoilt for choice when it comes to interesting or dramatic places to stay. A pulsating playground of sandy beaches and nightclubs, Cape Town is a one-of-a-kind city cradled between the scenic splendors of sandstone cliffs towering over the glittering waters of two great oceans. If blow-the-budget experiences are what you’re after, check into the swanky One & Only.  It’s a fave for the Hollywood crowd, boasting stays by  A-listers like Sharon Stone, Denzal Washington, Mariah Carey, Robert DeNiro and Clint Eastwood.

One and Only Cape Town entrance

The stylish and super-luxury “six-star” setup sits in the heart of the chic Victoria & Albert  Waterfront and boasts magnificent views, impeccable service, an enchanting full service spa and two of the most thrilling restaurants in Cape Town, Nobu and Reuben’s. Leave it to hotelier Sol Kerzner, whose properties–from Dubai to the Maldives–include an impressive roster of hotels, to give the majestic Cape Grace Hotel (just next door) a run for her money.

One & Only Cape Town

Designed by Capetonian architects Ruben Reddy and Dennis Fabian Berman, the 130-room behemoth is kitty corner to the Two Oceans Aquarium and is rumored to have cost over $100 million!

Vista One & Only Cape TownOnce inside, you’re confronted with the hotel’s magnificent lobby lounge and bar, Vista, bookended with a restaurant on each side and a triple-story soaring glass wall revealing the full grandeur of Table Mountain.

The hotel mimics its surroundings–contemporary and stimulating with an African twist. In the words of the interior designer Adam Tihany, it “whispers but doesn’t shout Africa; there isn’t a zebra skin in sight.” Instead there are stretches of dark wood to represent Africa’s ebony, complemented by earthy furnishings in tribal reds and browns. Those colors are echoed in most of the 91 “standard-sized” bedrooms, which are larger than most American apartments and feature two queen-sized beds and luxurious large baths. Suites in the hotel are said to be the largest in South Africa.

Who needs wall art when Table Mountain is viewed from every floor-to-ceiling window?

For the privacy challenged, two artificial islands house the hotel’s spa, pool and 40 huge “resort” rooms and suites with a subtle Caribbean feel.

For dining, experience Nobu, with its vast ebony rings and translucent origami lights separating an upper-level saké bar and lower-level dining area with sushi bar. Master chef Nobuyuki ‘Nobu’ Matsuhisa debuts his first restaurant on the continent with classical Japanese cuisine and a contemporary African twist.  Diners can indulge in novel dishes like succulent scallops, yellow fin tuna under jalapeño pepper, exotic sushi and “beef new-style sashimi,” seared and coated in sesame seeds.

Across the lobby is Reuben’s, formerly Maze, which boasts its own tri-story wine loft offering over 5,000 bottles of indigenous and imported wines.  South African wine is one of the best-kept secrets in the world with emerging terroirs, but you don’t have to be an oenophile to enjoy the delicately structured Warwick Three Cape Ladies Pinotage, which hits the palate thin with a hint of fruit.

South African chef Reuben Riffel’s menu is a gourmand’s feast of local meats and seafood: grain-fed local Karan beef, Karoo lamb, spicy ostrich and springbok, colossal Mozambique shrimp, oysters from Namibia, juicy Cape salmon, and kingklip and lobster.They also offer a luscious breakfast buffet with unique offerings like a delightfully creamy corn porridge.

The enticing afternoon tea at Vista is prettily presented every afternoon, recalling memories of alluring colonial high teas with timeless favorites like chocolate delice, baked vanilla bean cheese cake, caramel and gold leaf éclairs, buttermilk scones served with traditional clotted cream and strawberry preserves, all served with an amazing choice of 36 fresh brews!

For spa aficionados, One & Only Spa Cape Town boasts a slew of African-influenced treatments like Essence of Earth and Ocean Experience, inspired by South Africa’s San people, using native Baobab Tree Oil and herbs. At over two hours of indulgence, this is sure to satisfy your inner sybarite.  For those in a hurry, they also offer traditional Swedish massage tailored to every individual.  Located on its own private island, One&Only Spa Cape Town is an oasis of serenity surrounded by water and lush vegetation.  Designed by Bangkok-based landscape designer Bensley Design, the gardens lead to the peaceful Chi Studio yoga pavilion where calming asanas and pranayama can be practiced alone or during one-to-one private sessions.  And if you’d prefer to train hard, there’s a 200-square meter Fitness Centre, featuring state-of-the-art equipment from Technogym.

A luxe gateway to the rare adventures of South Africa, the One & Only is an idyllic venue for those wanting a platinum-level experience in one of travel’s most coveted destinations .

For more information please visit www.oneandonlyresorts.com.

Robert Ellsworth

Latest posts by Robert Ellsworth

1 Comment

  1. Kim Costello on February 1, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    Great writing. I love Robert’s stories. Makes me want to go there

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