Enjoying a smashing location in the working harbor section of the Waterfront—and rightfully renowned for its excellent service—the Cape Grace is popular with American celebrities, including the likes of Bill and Hillary Clinton. Decor at the storied hotel reflects the mélange of indigenous and foreign influences that have come to epitomize the Cape: hand-painted fabrics embellished with proteas, antiques like old cane fishing rods and Dutch china, and nautical murals make up the eclectic theme. With an excellent (if small) spa; charming library where you can take afternoon tea, enjoy views of the ships, or cozy up by a fire; and a world-famous whiskey bar, this graceful establishment knows how to pamper its guests.
Each of the very spacious 120 rooms are decorated differently, although along similar cream, green and gold lines, with some richer tones. Keep an eye out for quirkier features, from Cape Dutch antiques to ship manifests. Many have views of the mountains or the harbor, and some have terraces.
Chlidren of all ages are welcome at the hotel and activities include gingerbread making and African story time.
Bathrooms are elegant and spacious, too, with gorgeous high-end toiletries.
The hotel's lobby is old-fashioned and opulent as-you-like, with friendly staff behind an antique desk ready to spring into action for guests. There are thoughtful extras, like a shower room for guests to use before checking in or after checking out, and complimentary transfers within a 10km (6 mile) radius.
The hotel's pool is not overly large but it's a chilled space, with lots of loungers and tapas and drinks served.
YOU SHOULD KNOW When we say 'not overly large' we mean it - and there aren't really views to speak of. If swimming laps is a priority, this hotel is probably not for you, despite its many other strengths.
The hotel's chilled-out spa makes good use of the views of Table Mountain and the water from its windows, and offers various treatments from massages to manicures. There's also a hair salon.
The hotel has a 24h fitness studio.
The breakfast spread is one of the best we've encountered, and things don't really dip from there on. A light lunch at Signal restaurant is a fresh, delicious treat, with seats overlooking the water; the afternoon tea is well-known and rightly celebrated among Capetonians and visitors alike; and dinner at Signal is a multi-course gastronomic adventure.
Simultaneously cozy and fancy, Bascule Bar, boasting more than 500 whiskeys from 14 countries as well as many other top-end drinks, is not to be missed.
Make sure to enjoy the complimentary port and sherry in the library every evening, and the Cape Wine Experience (requires booking) that's also included in the room rates.
Guests can easily walk to the waterfront and trendy Silo district nearby. The transfer service is handy for longer trips (although it doesn't include airport transfers), and most sights are only around 20 minutes away.
Try Den Anker (5-minute walk) for relaxed beers and mussels by the water. Or for inventive fine-dining along the coast, The Pot Luck Club (10-minute drive) is a cool option.
For something completely different, check out the Cape Town Comedy Club (5-minute walk) for some hilarious comedians. Or if all the water surrounding the hotel has tempted you to take to the waves, The Grand Africa Cafe and Beach (9-minute drive, 15-minute walk) is one of the only spots in town where you can dip a toe in and sip a cocktail at the same time.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Elegant, historic, and blessed with perfect service, the Cape Grace is a seriously luxurious choice right by the working harbor. It manages not to be stuffy, though, although you will pay serious dollar for the experience of staying here.