Review: 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa, an exclusive retreat

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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.

12 Apostles Hotel

12 Apostles Hotel

12 Apostles Hotel and Spa – Perfect location

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.

The Conservatory at 12 Apostles Hotel

The Conservatory

Activities and facilities at 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa

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.

Swimming pool 12 Apostles

Swimming pool with a view

Service at 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa

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.

Bedroom at 12 Apostles Hotel


Rooms at 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa

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.

Treats for kids

Treats for kids

Soap basket 12 Apostles

Soap basket

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.

Room view 12 Apostles

View from my room

Kids and pets at 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa

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!

Separate amenities for parents and kids 12 Apostles

Separate amenities for parents and kids


Big and small gowns 12 Apostles

Big and small gowns

Food and drink at 12 Apostles

The food and drink at the 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.

Azure Restaurant 12 Apostles

Azure Restaurant

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.

The Spa 12 Apostles

The Spa

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. The hotel has some great winter packages available.

Lion's Head at Sunset 12 Apostles hotel

Lion’s Head at sunset from the hotel

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Ashley Summers

Awesome post, thanks for the share!

Jan Michael De Guzman

This place looks really like a haven. I can sense the relaxing feeling that it brings to its guests. I specially love the bedroom and the pool. What makes it great is also the awesome surrounding and views.


    Thanks Jan. The bedroom was amazing and so was the pool. I really enjoyed staying there.

Sophie Nadeau

Just the view over the mountains alone has me wanting to visit! The restaurant and spa look fantastic too- the photos definitely have me wanting to visit!


    Thanks Sophie. The views of the mountains and the ocean was amazing. The spa is one of the best in South Africa and the restaurant was so elegant too.

Maja | Mexatia

Ohhh, this hotel would be my first choice as well! Bed seems huge and spa looks so serene and classy. No need to leave the hotel at all 🙂


    Thanks Maja. It was so easy to see why so many royals and celebrities choose to stay here when they’re in Cape Town

Sheri @ A Busy Bees Life

Now this is my kind of place to stay. It looks absolutely wonderful and a great place to relax. When I am on holiday I try to make sure I stay in lovely places where I can feel good and enjoy the place I am staying in just in case we have bad weather and get stuck in the hotel.


    Thanks Sheri. That’s a good point you make. It’s important that your hotel is nice in case you get confined to your room because of bad weather. And Cape Town does have temperamental weather.

Rashmi and Chalukya

12 Apostles Hotel looks straight out of fairytale with that amazing sea view and towering cliffs at backdrop. The interior and the colors of the hotel look so elegant great some laidback vacation. Loved it.


    Thanks Rashmi and Chalukya. That’s an appropriate way to describe this hotel. It does look like it’s out of a fairytale.


Wow that hotel looks amazing. I wish I could afford to stay in a place like that. Pure luxury and the views are amazing 🙂


    Thanks Clare. It’s great to spoil ourselves every now and then.

Soumya Nambiar

This 12 Apostles hotel looks so divine. I would never want to leave here. Did you manage to see any dolphins or whales? I have never seen any hotel cater so much royalty when it comes to kids though.


    Thanks Soumya. They really take good care of the kids here. I didn’t see dolphins or whales on this trip but I did see seals from the hotel.


Oh wow this looks luxurious. Its so nice ttht they really catered for kids too! Would love to stay here one day!


    Thanks Stacey. Yes, it’s quite good to have a beautiful hotel that caters for kids too – so that they can also enjoy the luxury.


This looks like an amazing place! I’m always looking for kid friendly hotels and this one sounds perfect for families with kids. My 5 year old would love the amenities!

Sandile Nene (@SandyNeneSA)

Looks like a very nice and relaxing place for holiday/vacation.


    It certainly is, Sandy. To me, this is an SA bucket list hotel.

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