One&Only Resorts Opens its First City Hotel in Cape Town

A taste of the high life at South Africa’s new One&Only Cape Town

By: By Deborah Dimond

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One&Only Cape Town

Getting there: Traveling to South Africa from the U.S. is now easier, with South African Airways’ nonstop service from New York/JFK to Johannesburg. Frequent connections to Cape Town are offered and, this month, Virgin America and South African Airways have started offering interline tickets throughout the U.S. and trans-Atlantic networks of both carriers.

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One&Only Resorts, renowned for its luxury properties in resort destinations, recently made its foray into a different segment of the market. On April 3, along Cape Town, South Africa’s Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, the brand launched its first city hotel to date, the One&Only Cape Town.

The Marina Rise tower houses 91 spacious guestrooms. // © 2009 One&Only Resorts

 The Marina Rise tower houses 91 spacious guestrooms. // © 2009 One&Only Resorts

Located in the heart of the city, the property sits among the historic Dutch buildings for which Cape Town is known. While there are two, manmade islands housing the One&Only Spa Cape Town and 40 suites, the focal point of the property is the crescent-shaped, 91-room Marina Rise tower.

Each of Marina Rise’s 91 guestrooms is bathed in sophisticated dark-lacquered woods and terracotta. The contemporary design also features a bathroom covered in ivory travertine stone and is rounded out with a whimsical, egg-shaped tub large enough for two. Fresh orchids and custom art pieces, from prints to sculptures, make the accommodations feel more like a home rather than a typical hotel room.

“I wanted the resort’s feel to be contemporary while still drawing heavily on the rich African culture and heritage that has so greatly influenced my life,” said Johannesburg-born Sol Kerzner, chairman and CEO of Kerzner International, the parent company of the One&Only brand.

In recent years, the One&Only brand has become synonymous with Hollywood glamour and celebrity restaurateurs, and the One&Only Cape Town will not disappoint — both chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa and chef Gordon Ramsay have opened up restaurants on site. At the resort’s star-studded opening in April, Robert DeNiro, Matt Damon, Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Mariah Carey, Marisa Tomei and Sharon Stone were in attendance. And, during my visit in May, when I walked through the front doors and spotted none other than John Travolta, I knew I was in for the celebrity treatment.

Without a doubt, the One&Only Cape Town has become a hot spot because of its fine restaurants and bars. For example, the resort’s upscale cocktail lounge, Vista Bar, is situated in the center of the lobby where guests can mingle and listen to live music in the afternoon or to a disc jockey spinning into the night while sipping cocktails and taking in views of Cape Town’s iconic Table Mountain.

Adjacent to the hotel lobby, chef Gordon Ramsay’s Maze impresses guests with its theatrical three-story glass wine case — home to more than 5,000 bottles. Wine enthusiasts will be delighted as the restaurant offers more than 600 varieties of wine (450 of which are South African and 80 of which are available by the glass).

The latest additions to the menu at Maze are regional specialties such as Karan steak, Cape Rock lobster, Kudu fillet and Karoo lamb. Open throughout the day, the restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, in addition to offering a special children’s menu. Guests wishing to dine in have the option of ordering room service directly from the restaurant’s menu. Maze also offers a private dining room that will accommodate up to 10 guests with a six-, eight- or 10-course tasting menu.

Those fond of sushi would be hard pressed to find a better place to dine than Nobuyuki Matsuhisa’s Nobu, which is the first Nobu restaurant in Africa. Open for both lunch and dinner and located on the opposite side of the lobby from Maze, Nobu sets the mood for the Far East with chic origami-inspired lighting and shoji-like window coverings.

After dining at both Nobu and Maze and spending a night in my plush bed, I truly felt like I was living the ultimate celebrity experience in a quiet, charming corner of Cape Town.