One&Only Cape Town

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The Pool area is the perfect spot to take in views of Table Mountain.

Entering the chic new One&Only Cape Town, we were struck by the views of the waterfront from the glass-enclosed lounge and by the young, sophisticated crowd that was sipping cocktails while listening to the house DJ. We knew the hotel was popular with celebrities—we even caught a glimpse of John Travolta when we were checking in—but it is the refined style of in-the-know Capetonians that’s creating a buzz at this trendy new addition to the Cape Town waterfront.

Luxury Travel Advisor was whisked to the hotel from Cape Town International Airport (note: the airport can accommodate private jets and helicopter transfers to the hotel are available) in VIP style by the hotel’s chauffeured white Mercedes sedan. Upon arrival, just 25 minutes later, we were happily surprised that the bell staff had our names down pat. We were escorted past vast views of Table Mountain in the light-filled lobby straight up to our sleek 700-square-foot Marina Rise Room (the starting size for accommodations here), where the mountain greeted us at our window again. In fact, every one of the rooms and suites in the Marina Rise section of the hotel has terraces and Table Mountain views.

This section has a contemporary city hotel feel and houses chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa’s first Nobu in Africa, British-celeb chef Gordon Ramsay’s contemporary Maze restaurant and a sleek Vista lounge. Business and leisure travelers will be equally comfortable here.

Two man-made islands are connected to Marina Rise by a series of footbridges. The large Island Suites (nearly 800 square feet and up) have a tropical air and an open layout from the bedroom through the open shower to a second window. Tip: These rooms are good for families, especially the ground-floor blocks near the pool. Book second-floor rooms and higher for honeymooners or couples who want privacy (to cut down on pool commotion), or one of the one- and two-room suites with fireplaces, which are the most requested accommodations on the property, and range from 1,200 to 2,400 square feet. Contact General Manager Gerard Sintès, for VIP room requests.

All the rooms have butler service, free-standing egg-shaped soaking tubs, complimentary Wi-Fi and tech-savvy touches such as Nespresso coffee machines and iPod docking stations.

There’s a real sense of place at this urban resort, and just steps outside the hotel’s door is the Two Oceans Aquarium, along with a plethora of unique Capetonian stores such as Carrol Boyes, a purveyor of luxury housewares, in the Victoria & Albert shopping center, or the Vogue-ready fashions at Jenni Button in the Canal Walk shopping center. Ferries to infamous Robben Island, which once upon a time housed political prisoners, notably Nelson Mandela, are just a short stroll from the hotel. Head Concierge Chris Noone can arrange VIP trips around the area, ranging from a day with a winemaker to a Cape Cuisine tour. Noone recently arranged a surprise picnic at Noordhoek Beach, a pristine spot on the Cape Peninsula coast, and flew the guests to the location by helicopter.

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Nobu isn’t the only eatery on the premises with celebrity cachet; it’s joined by Gordon Ramsay’s Maze.


For VIP dining, the Chef’s Table is the place to see and be seen—its glass-enclosed walls peer over Maze and Vista and the three-story, 5,000-bottle, glass wine cellar that fronts Maze. Dinners here are tasting menu affairs of eight, 10 or 12 courses for up to 10 diners. The menu comprises selections from Nobu, Maze and the chef’s own creations based on consultation with the dinner’s host. Wines can be coordinated with the sommelier who is also available to dine with guests (there is no additional fee for the sommelier, who is also available for regular dinners; wines are priced per list). Luxury travel advisors should call Etienne Borman at 011-27-21-431-2222 to book the Chef’s Table.

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Guests are already raving about the spa, where a popular option is the chakra balancing treatment.


The spa is a must-visit for guests. In addition to 12 treatment rooms, there’s a steam room, sauna, vitality pool and an ice fountain for cooling off in both the ladies’ and men’s locker rooms. The most popular treatment is the two-hour Earth and Ocean Experience with Alexandra. The massage uses indigenous products for exfoliation and then native seashells filled with aromatic salts for an African take on the ubiquitous hot-stone massage. Contact Spa Director Tammy Dent to make appointments. The spa is a perfect way to cap off a stay at the choicest new hotel in Cape Town.

Note: For the hotly anticipated Fifa World Cup, One&Only Cape Town is taking private bookings only and is blacked out from June 11 to July 11, 2010.

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Dark African wood is a hallmark of the 131 rooms at One&Only Cape Town.