At Home at South Africa's Cape Grace

The newly renovated hotel welcomes guests with a homey atmosphere By: Janeen Christoff
The library is the perfect place to curl up with a book and a cup of tea. // © 2010 Cape Grace
The library is the perfect place to curl up with a book and a cup of tea. // © 2010 Cape Grace

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The Details

It was a gray, rainy day when we arrived at the Cape Grace in Cape Town, South Africa, but the warm, inviting lobby at the recently renovated hotel offered a respite — and a lovely latte — from the cold.

There is no check-in desk per se at the property. Instead, guests are welcomed to one of the reception desks and seated to check-in comfortably. The nautical-themed lobby area is fitting for the waterfront hotel. Located in the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town, the Cape Grace is a popular stop for seafarers entering the port. While we were there, Abby Sunderland of Thousand Oaks, Calif., one of the youngest sailors to attempt to circumnavigate the globe, was staying there with her family during her ill-fated journey.

Rooms at the intimate hotel are cozy and consist mostly of Luxury Rooms, which feature views of either the waterfront or Table Mountain. The hotel also has unique Rooftop Luxury rooms, loft-like spaces with French doors that open out onto a rooftop terrace. There are also one-, two- and three-bedroom suites, as well as rooms that interconnect, an ideal feature for families. My one-bedroom suite offered views of the harbor as well as Table Mountain and featured a nautical decor. The room was large and comfortable with a spacious dressing and closet area and a nice soaking tub in the bathroom, as well as a separate shower.

Standard features in all the rooms include complimentary Wi-Fi and Internet access; an iPod docking station; X-Box 360s in suites and the penthouse; a private room safe; flat-screen, high-definition televisions with satellite television channels and selected radio stations; international plug points and fax/Internet modem lines; a fully stocked private bar and deli; tea and coffee-making facilities; air-conditioned rooms; French windows with views of the yacht marina or the working harbor; fresh flowers; personally selected books; a separate bath, shower and toilet; and marble bathrooms with Charlotte Rhys toiletries, which are exclusive to the Cape Grace.

For those looking for even more space, the Penthouse Suite, located on the rooftop, features a lounge, outdoor terrace, a private Jacuzzi, a CD sound system and DVD player, a walk-in closet, personalized meals, daily canapes, a minibar and more.

Eat Well
Dining is a highlight at the Cape Grace. My favorite meal was made up of the afternoon treats served in the library — known as the Sugar Buffet. Every day from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., guests can taste candy apples, meringues, chocolate fudge, lamingtons and other sweets.

Signal Restaurant draws upon influences from the many cultures and nations that have called upon this region during its history, particularly the French and the British as well as the Dutch and Asian traders. The menu features contemporary offerings from local farmers. A popular menu item is the herbed goat cheese gnocchi, which was rich and delicious.

Bascule is a whiskey, wine and cocktail bar. Its claim to fame is that it offers more than 400 different whiskeys from around the world. A whiskey tasting is a must-do for clients who are fans of the drink and are staying in or around Cape Town. The bar also offers an impressive selection of Cape wines. I can recommend stopping in during the afternoon for a lazy glass of wine or during the evening, when the bar picks up and is full of hotel and local guests.

Spa & Fitness
The Spa at Cape Grace is a new feature at the hotel. The facilities offer views of the waterfront and Table Mountain as well as an array of treatments including massage therapies, facials and a full salon. Signature therapies include the skin sphere spice journey and the African Cape massage.

Opened at the end of May and located on the top floor, the fitness studio boasts breathtaking views of the working harbor — ideal inspiration for a good workout. Available equipment includes a treadmill, a stationary bike and a kinesis machine. The hotel can also provide clients with personal trainers, and Pilates instructors can be arranged upon request. 

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