Featured, Travel

Rediscover Cape Town and become magnetised by the Mother City effect

Oct 29, 2019, Author: Bianca Spinner

It’s the most beautiful corner of South Africa. The icy crystalline waters of the Atlantic sea blend franticly with the warm currents of the Indian Ocean. There’s a specific scent about it: It’s fresh, crisp and unpolluted; a fragrant frenzy … and you’ll soon know exactly why you came here. 


We visit Cape Town every year, and without a doubt, so do most South Africans. The city experience is usually compressed into one paragraph of what to do and where to go, but we thought we’d give it a twist. So, we swooped down into Cape Town and moulded the city into four unique adventures fit for all sorts of travellers. 

For the art fancier: Stay at The Silo Hotel

Set inside a refurbished silo grain with a façade unlike any other, this jewel of the Cape is simply a masterpiece. The hotel is designed with convex windows that bulge outwards, artistic flair and intricate precision. It’s like the owners slept inside the dilapidated silo for weeks before it opened just to observe where the best light hits accurately and at what time of day … it’s sheer perfection.  

The silo is an original structure – a historic building built in 1921 that’s been reimagined by industrial designer Thomas Heatherwick of Heatherwick Studio in London. It’s a modern, stark and industrial space that’s a piece of artwork in itself. 

Liz Biden and her husband own this exquisite hotel and it forms part of the esteemed Royal Portfolio collection, which Royal Malewane, Birkenhead House and La Residence also fall under. She designs and styles each and every hotel and is inspired by her travels around the world where she’s always on the lookout for exquisite pieces of furniture, distinctive chandeliers and exotic fabrics. You’ll notice a current theme running throughout all the hotels: The celebration of art. 

Staying at this five-star hotel, you’ll have your very own museum tucked underneath your room, as the hotel is in the grain elevator portion of the grain silo building. You’ll wake up to breakfast in bed with bubbles in hand and a majestic view of the mountain … and then you’ll marvel at the art pieces in your room and scattered throughout the walls of the hotel.  

Post breakfast, you can meander to the modern art museum, the Zeitz MOCAA, which rivals the likes of MoMA in New York, the Tate Modern in London and the Prado museum in Madrid. The focus here is on contemporary African art and discovering some of Africa’s incredible up-and-coming talent. Also visit the basement level and get a peek at the hotel’s very own gallery of African contemporary art. 

HJ loves: The finesse, the cityscape views and the food at the Granary Café – no Silo stay is complete without a meal here! Assume top-notch ingredients and beautiful flavours and be sure to order the crisp chili whitebait salad and the prawn tagliatelle. 

Silo Square, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town 

021 670 0500 

Facebook: @thesilohotel 

Twitter: @thesilohotel 

Instagram: @thesilohotel_ 

For the tree hugger: Stay at De Hoop Collection Nature Reserve 

Just a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Cape Town International Airport, this nature reserve is a remarkable place. Here, fynbos smudges the landscape, bontebok roam freely and ostrich trek for hours. There really is only one location to consider upon entering the nature reserve, and that’s De Hoop Collection.  

There many different types of accommodation options, but we recommend the main manor house, which was first built in 1700. It was originally a farmhouse and the original owners bred Spanish stallions and adored wildlife so much that they left a window open in the roof so the swallows could fly in and nest. This gives way to the De Hoop Collection motto, which is that all species coexist peacefully, just as nature intended it to be. 

The Manor House is cosy with three bedrooms that all catch the morning rays and have a classic country cottage feel. Salvaged wooden beams from a shipwreck are used as part of the structure of the house, which has adorned bathrooms with Victorian baths all en-suite with imposing hard wood floors. Outside the house is a commanding oversized fig tree, and if you look beyond it you’ll find over 30 nests with a constant frenzy of chirps, tweets and twitters. It’s the most pleasant sound to wake up to every morning. 

There are plenty of activities too, so you won’t ever get bored. There are hikes, nature walks, guided walks and nature drives, not forgetting a spa for a relaxing pre-dinner full body massage. Dining is conducted beautifully – everything sings in synchronicity at The Fig Tree Restaurant, which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We beg you not to leave without trying the flawless trout! 

After dinner, you’ll return to the room with the scent of smoky wood and relax in the lounge with your favourite novel and a warm cup of tea. Heaven! 

HJ loves: The whale watching here is unmatched, as is the amount of activities they have on offer – think mountain biking, an eco-boat cruise on the De Hoop Vlei, a one-hour vulture hike experience to view these fascinating creatures on the vulture deck, an interpretive marine walk exploring the coastal rock pools and sandy beaches and more. PS: If you travel during August or September, you’ll easily spot whales! 


De Hoop Nature Reserve, Bredasdorp, Western Cape 

021 422 4522 

Facebook: @dehoopcollection 

Twitter: @dehoopreserve 

Instagram: @dehoopreserve 

For the food buff: Stay at DoubleTree by Hilton Upper Eastside 

You may not believe us when we tell you that this hotel has one of the best breakfast offerings in the city – or, in fact, the country – at its Liberty’s Restaurant. Well, we were as surprised as you! Not only can you anticipate the most delicious cuisine inside, but also outside the hotel.  

A mere 15-minute drive from the airport, the hotel is just a few kilometers away from the trendy Old Biscuit Mill, the admired Test Kitchen and the much-loved Pot Luck Club. Some of the city’s finest restaurants are right on your doorstep! Any epicurean would delight in this, especially because you’re far away from the magnetic travellers and overcrowded sandy beaches. Instead, you’ll find yourself within close proximity to the backdrop of Devil’s Peak and the locals’ charisma. It’s the more intimate Cape Town; an inclusive part of the city with a vibrant food scene to complement it. 

Take note of the staff at this hotel – they’re warm, welcoming, gracious and kind, and will go above and beyond to accommodate you. Let’s be honest: You wouldn’t expect this from a four-star hotel in the middle of Woodstock! They’ll even hold your baby while you eat in a picturesque setting. This hotel sure satisfies all the taste buds! 

HJ loves: The hotel has a complimentary 10-minute shuttle ride to the famous V&A Waterfront, so you don’t need to hire a car. 

31 Brickfield Road, Woodstock 

021 404 0570 

Facebook: @doubletreebyhiltoncapetownuppereastside 

Instagram: @doubletreebyhiltoncapetown 

For the slumber specialist: Stay at 12 Apostles Hotel & Spa 

If sleepyhead is your middle name and you’re after a lazy, hazy summer, this is the hotel for you. There’s no better location to celebrate being sluggish in this city other than the 12 Apostles Hotel & Spa. You won’t find a better view and no hotel comes close to competing with its level of amenities, service offerings and frills. 

It’s safe to say that once the staff welcome you and the smell of fresh proteas envelope the atmosphere, you’ll feel right at home. It’s this homey feeling you develop at all of Red Carnation’s hotels – it’s difficult to put it into words, but they’re attractively warm hotels that just tick all the right boxes. 

When making your booking, you can select what type of pillow you’d like – a neck support pillow, comfy knee cushion or anti-snore option. You can also opt for a yoga mat and DVD workout video to be placed in your rooms. The hotel will even enquire what type of magazines you prefer to read. 

That’s not all – the level of service is so immaculate that you’ll even select what type of soap you fancy. Exclusively created for Red Carnation hotels, B Africa products made from kelp and various fynbos plants are offered. Oatmeal bran, Cape lavender and Cape rooibos are just a few options you’ll pick from. Simply dial in and they’ll be delivered straight to your door! 

Now, seeing as you’re a comfort connoisseur, you won’t have to ever leave the hotel because The Azure Restaurant offers the most exquisite dining evenings. Get ready to ecape into a tasting journey of specially selected wines from Cape vineyards paired with a spectacular five-course dinner. How does rooibos-smoked ostrich with blackberry vinaigrette paired with Cederberg Sustainable Rose 2018 sound? Or apple and caramel cheesecake with velvety caramel crème and burnt apple gel paired with an Elgin favourite, Paul Cluver Riesling 2017 … are you salivating yet? 

Well, if Rover is and you’ve brought him along, the hotel is pet-friendly, so if you both want breakfast in bed in your superior sea-facing abode, you can have that. The elegantly stylish rooms also have a lounge area for your four-legged friend and your own balcony with day loungers so comfortable you’ll think you’re in a newly made bed. 


HJ loves: The hotel is pet-friendly and the Atlantic Terrace Pool, which overlooks the Atlantic seabord, is heated. Plus, it’s home to one of the best spas in the country! 

Victoria Street, Camps Bay 

021 437 9000 

Facebook: @12apostleshotel 

Twitter: @12_apostles 

Instagram: @12apostleshotel 

Let’s feast! 

You can’t leave Cape Town without trying our top dining out picks: 

Bobo’s Brasserie: At the newest addition to Beach Road in Mouille Point, you can look forward to French bistro classics in a space decorated with floral wall art and overlooking the ocean. It’s the most gorgeous interior – don’t forget to take a seat in the ornate library! 

Cavalli Estate: The restaurant at Cavalli Estate in Somerset West is much more than just a restaurant – it’s an adventure. We recommend sitting under the guava trees and relishing the set menu with wine pairing. The restaurant serves the best vegan dish: Broccoli steak with tofu bacon, peanut kale crisps and vegan yoghurt. It’s inventive and genius! 

Three Wise Monkeys: This Sea Point restaurant known for its poke bowls is easy-eating but doesn’t compromise on oh-so-delectable dishes. Basically, once you’ve tried one of the ramen noodle bowls, you’ll make sure you make a stop here every time you’re in Cape Town. It gets a 10 out of 10 from us! 

Coco Safar: This French style patisserie in Sea Point uses state-of-the-art coffee machinery. For the tea lovers, there’s an impressive rooibos flat white – yum! Don’t forget to grab a delish almond milk cappuccino from the espresso bar. 

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