The panoramic route to the hotel was just a prelude to the luxurious haven awaiting us. It was quite befitting, I mused, as we ascended Chapman's Peak drive to the 12 Apostles Hotel . In one of the world’s most beautiful cities, on one of the world’s most spectacular routes, stands one of the world’s best hotels. For indeed, the 12 Apostles Hotel is internationally recognised as one of the world’s leading hotels, as the numerous accolades it has received will testify to.
As part of the family-run Red Carnation Hotel Collection, which Durban’s Oyster Box also belongs to, this boutique hotel is small enough to be intimate yet large enough to offer the benefits usually associated with a larger hotel. It is not surprising that the hotel is the first choice for so many celebrities, VIP’s, and royal families from all over the world, when they visit Cape Town.
Flanked by the Twelve Apostles mountain range and the majestic Table Mountain National Park and overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the hotel stands in isolation like a regal white palace in one of nature’s most perfect locations. Guests have everything they need on site at the hotel. There is a spa, a fitness centre, garden hammocks, two restaurants and a bar lounge, a wedding venue, and a conservatory where one can just relax with a book.
There are two heated pools –a rock pool facing the mountains and another pool facing the sea. If you feel like watching a movie on the big screen, there is a 16-seater private cinema with complimentary popcorn, milkshakes and hot chocolate at your disposal. There are stunning hiking trails behind the mountains and a scuba diving site just outside the hotel. Picnics can be arranged and so can sports buddies – if you don’t want to run or hike alone. I soon realised that one day here would not be enough. If you do want to venture away from the hotel, the complimentary shuttle will take you to the beach or the V&A Waterfront and the concierge can arrange transfers, sightseeing and restaurant bookings, if required.
The personal touch and attention to detail began the moment the reservation was made when I received a guest preference form to complete. Thereon, I was required to specify pillow penchants, dietary requirements and special requests amongst other things. It continued when I entered the hotel’s opulent lobby and was greeted like a long-lost friend by the receptionist and the other staff. Every staff member was eager to please and seemed to anticipate our needs before we even knew what they were. The exceptional hospitality made us feel genuinely welcome and so reluctant to leave when our stay had come to an end.
The hotel boasts 70-individually designed bedrooms and suites. Calm colours and rich fabrics complement the spectacular mountain and ocean views. We stayed in a beautifully-appointed garden suite, which had a separate lounge and bedroom on split levels. A soap and pillow menu awaited me on my bedside table while goodie bags and a platter of sweet treats awaited the children.
My choice of exotic soaps was later delivered in a basket strewn with rose petals, in true 12 Apostles’ style.
The en-suite bathroom featured generously sized amenities, a bidet and heated towel rails. In the lounge, the dining area, entertainment and refreshment stations, and sleeper couch for the children were all designed to marry comfort with elegance. The large sliding doors opened onto the patio and landscaped lawns from where the expansive views of the sparkling ocean constantly beckoned to me and I could see the seals frolicking. Some guests are fortunate enough to see whales and dolphins too.
Children are treated like royalty here as mine were delighted to discover. They are initiated into the VIP Kids Club with a lanyard entitling them to special benefits, and pampered with goodie bags, mini towelling gowns and their own range of bathroom amenities, which I’ve never seen at any other hotel. There were Xboxes and DVD’s to entertain them in the room and an extensive kiddies menu to feed them in the restaurant. Those whose pets are their kids will be happy to know that the hotel is pet-friendly and offers special pet menus and amenities. In fact the Expresso Morning Show Frenchies, Bob and Bella were recently betrothed in a special wedding ceremony here. That must be a first for a South African hotel!
The food and drink at the 12 Apostles Hotel is exquisite. I savoured a delicious pineapple and vanilla chai iced tea on the balcony of the Leopard Bar as I revelled in the splendour of the legendary 12 Apostles sunset. At dinner, I was impressed with the rich variety of seafood and other dishes, many of them unique variations of old favourites. Waitrons ensured that we were comfortable as Masood, the head concierge, regaled us with wonderful stories. At breakfast on the deck of the Azure restaurant, we enjoyed Salmon Eggs Benedict and fresh oysters from the buffet with our flat whites. A bit later, a cheeky seagull swooped down and stole my croissant when I turned my back.
The award winning spa is small but quite unique. The natural colours, soft candle lighting and cave-live atmosphere welcome you into a tranquil cocoon. Spa treatments can be enjoyed in the treatment rooms, the two gazebos high up in the mountains or the Rasul Chamber. Hotel guests get free access to the plunge pools and flotation pool.
There are many ways to experience the 12 Apostles magic. Overnight stays, spa treatments, meals, “Tea by the Sea”, a private cinema experience, or a combination of the above are some of the options. For the more adventurous, you can fly to the hotel for lunch via helicopter from the V&A Waterfront.
For more information, visit 12 Apostles Hotel.
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Things you must do in South Africa