From the city centre beneath flat-topped Table Mountain and beautiful beaches along the Atlantic Seaboard, to lush winelands around Stellenbosch and Paarl and craggy cliffs at the Cape of Good Hope, the relaxed and cosmopolitan city of Cape Town has it all.
Where to stay
Hotels are most often regarded as temporary tourist lodging in cities that aren’t their own, but then there’s Cape Town – a cornucopia of hip and legendary hotels that offer so much more than beds and minibars. We recommend the Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! by Marriott Cape Town, which is a destination in and of itself. The ‘designer luxury’ hotel is a firm favourite among the fashion and film industries, so it’s no surprise the venue’s stylishly sexy vibe infiltrates its on-premise nightlife.
From the moment you step into the lobby of this edgy Tamboerskloof hotel, you’re greeted by the welcoming sounds of deep house lounge beats and immersed into a world of top-notch guest service. The snug bedrooms, ranging from 18m² to 23m² (remember that saying about dynamite?), are modern and trendy, and feature all the bells and whistles needed to ensure the comfiest stay. Each room, from which you can explore the slick social spaces, comes standard with the most comfortable king size bed with plush bedding, tasteful African décor, a flat-panel TV, 24-hour room service and Wi-Fi (limited to 500MB per day).
The on-site Fire & Ice! Restaurant serves up bucket-list burgers spanning from the simple Cheesy Cheese Cheese to the Jaws that’s towering with musky paprika and melted cheddar. There are also ample vegetarian options, including the Italian Job Conchiglioni pasta and the Magic Shroom rosemary Portobello burger. Feeling daring? Try one of the traditional African dishes, such as the Inyama Nemifuno T-bone or the Chisa Nyama mixed grill.
Best reason to stay here
Residents of the Mother City love a solid late night enjoying the bar scene, especially when the said bar is frequented by models. So dig out your stilettos and head to the urban-chic restaurant and bar area, which offers cool communal and Instagrammable vibes plus an impressive list of innovative handcrafted cocktails and boozy milkshakes with a lively crowd and breath-taking views of surrounding mountains.
Every Friday and Saturday from 17h00 till late, the entire downstairs communal area – we’re talking the massive community table and swanky cocktail bar floor space that will make you want to dance and snap selfies – becomes a space where you can chill and meet new people. The bar’s vibe is casual yet chic, rustic yet refined – and you can sip there year-round, as there’s indoor seating, an outdoor terrace and a retractable roof. Whatever you do, make sure you try one of the renowned milkshake bar’s ‘grownup milkshakes’, such as the Elephant’s Trunk made with Amarula or the Nuts About It made with Frangelico. Cheers!
With its unparalleled location in the heart of the city centre, you’ll find yourself just a short walk or Uber drive from a multitude of must-visit destinations, including Table Mountain, the V&A Waterfront, Kloof Street and Camps Bay. Most importantly, the hotel offers a welcome respite after a jam-packed day.
4 New Church Street, Tamboerskloof, Cape Town
021 488 2555
Where to wine and dine
Tucked away in an exclusive residential part of Stellenbosch, Makaron Restaurant is the show pony of the venerable Majeka House & Spa. The quirky oasis created by interior expert Etienne Hanekom is a designer’s paradise that melds disparate décor ideas seamlessly – it’s a beautiful setting in which to enjoy inspired food while learning a bit about South Africa’s star ingredients.
Here, chef Lucas Carstens aces exquisite ‘dust-to-delicious’ combinations like mock abalone mushroom and tjokka, baby marrow and kapokbos, and Karoo lamb and groenboontjiebredie. We recommend ordering six or seven small plates and trying a little bit of everything on the menu. Don’t be concerned about leaving hungry – while the plates are small, the portions are indeed more generous than most other tapas-style dining spots and each morsel is packed with flavour.
What’s more, not being located on a wine farm means the restaurant isn’t limited when it comes to wines they can serve, so you can look forward to superb food and wine pairings.
The Instagram moment: The bright green cacti flanking through the desert-themed courtyard.
26-32 Houtkapper Street, Paradyskloof, Stellenbosch
021 880 1549
Salsify at The Roundhouse has quickly become a bucket-list table to secure well in advance on arrival in the Cape, for good reason: the magical setting up on a steep road on the lower slopes of Lion’s Head overlooking Camps Bay’s leafy glen to the ocean and Twelve Apostles mountains is well worth the trek for Luke Dale-Roberts and Ryan Cole’s inventive seven-course tasting menu.
Every course shows phenomenal attention to detail, regardless of whether the star ingredient is locally reared quail or asparagus. Dishes like scallop with pomegranate and fried onion, Peking duck breast with salted sour plum and walnut salsa, and lavender peaches with macadamia nut ice cream will leave an impression you won’t soon forget, and despite exquisite plating and novel presentation, nothing is overworked or overcomplicated.
If you opt to order à la carte, don’t miss The Salsify Chocolate Bar for dessert, best washed down with some of the small-batch house gin. We highly recommend the wine-pairing option for an extra-special spoil.
The Instagram moment: The dining room has been kept beautifully classic with white tablecloths and Persian rugs, but the entrance room and back lounge that have been given an electric shock with some more modern graffiti by Louis Villiers is what will really catch your eye.
The Roundehouse, Roundehouse Road, Camps Bay
021 010 6444
Located on Cape Town’s gourmet boulevard, otherwise known as Bree Street, the new-look Bocca is buzzing with a new Italian-inspired energy with husband-and-wife team Guido and Adnana Brambilla running the show.
Regulars trust that the small plates that will emerge from the kitchen off the carefully curated menu that lends itself to group sharing will be close to a religious experience in terms of punchy flavours and contrasting textures. Chef Guido’s tapas draw on frequent globe-trotting, a passion for authentic Italian ingredients and the ease that comes from chefs cooking the sort of food they love to eat. Highlights include the stracciatella and salumi ‘bites’, the Bocca pizza adorned with prosciutto crudo, stracciatella, artichokes and thyme, and the baked fusilli ragu layered with traditional beef and pork ragout, rosemary béchamel, Parmesan and provolone.
As a plus, the wine list is well considered and the bartender knows how to make a mean Aperol Spritz.
The Instagram moment: The bustling Bree and Wale intersection taken from the perfectly pared down wood-clad outside deck on a balmy evening.
Corner of Bree & Wale Street, Cape Town
021 422 0188