On seven acres of rolling gardens overlooking the Liesbeek River in the southern suburb of Newlands, this comfortable hotel was built around the 18th-century weekend home of Lady Anne Barnard. The hotel is 15 minutes by car from the city but within walking distance of the Newlands sports arenas and the shops of Cavendish Square, despite feeling like the countryside. Facilities are top-notch and plentiful, as are dining options, and prices are good considering what's on offer. There's also a conference center.
Rooms are updated on a rolling basis, so some are more stylish than others. We particularly like the Victorian-styled rooms overlooking the gardens and with great views of Table Mountain. All are large and comfortable, have Nespresso machines as standard, and either twin or king-size beds.
The views of the back of Table Mountain are spectacular, but for a better rate ask for a courtyard-facing room.
Bathrooms vary, too, but come with baths and showers and beige tiles.
Despite the size of the hotel (there are 207 rooms), reception staff manage to keep it all together, although the lobby itself is perhaps looking a little tired. Service here is a joy. The hotel prides itself on its eco credentials, too.
The large pool in the gardens is relaxing and surrounded by green. Gorgeous.
The attractive Angsana Spa offers therapeutic massages, facials and signature treatments using aromatherapy and natural ingredients.
There are yoga classes and a large fitness center, overseen by a team of professional personal trainers. They offer strength and functional fitness training, mountain hiking, sports massage and pilates. Guests can also roam in the gardens (complete with resident tortoises), on their own or via a guided walk. There's a jogging route too.
The family-friendly hotel also offers children's activities, like a treasure hunt for the tortoises, and a games room (in December and January).
On-site Myoga restaurant serves innovative and deconstructionist cuisine and is very well regarded. The conservatory-style Square restaurant and the Garden Lounge and Patio in the original courtyard are popular with locals for family-style fare (and for the good-value wine-paired dinners), and breakfast for hotel guests is served in the former. Splash Cafe, in the pool pavilion, is a light, bright spot for meals or drinks in the summer season only, or Long Cafe offers great coffee year-round, including the hotel's own signature blend.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Service can be a little slow in some of the venues, particularly at peak times.
Guests can, of course, drink in the hotel gardens and the various restaurants and cafes have lovely outdoor terraces. The Garden Lounge has a complimentary Monday evening wine tasting. The gentleman's club-style lounge bar is also a cozy spot for a tipple.
The hotel is in a pleasant enough area, but staying here on your visit to spread-out Cape Town means you'll need a car (or an Uber account) to visit the rest of the city easily. The southern peninsula attractions are easier to reach than from some other locations (you bypass the CBD), and the same goes for the winelands.
Mamma Roma Ristorante (3-minute drive, 14-minute walk) is a cozy and reliable Italian restaurant nearby. Or treat yourself at the trendy, well-regarded and experimental Pot Luck Club (12-minute drive) in the CBD.
Wjinhuis (6-minute walk) is a good spot to celebrate local wine. Or drink in some seaside views (you are in Cape Town after all) at the fabulous Chinchilla Rooftop Cafe and Bar (23-minute drive) in Camps Bay.
WHY WE LIKE IT
A fabulous luxury retreat on acres of beautiful garden grounds with fantastic dining options and leisure facilities (including plenty for kids), all for prices that sit on the right side of reasonable. It's not in the most exciting suburb, perhaps, but it's an easy drive to the rest of the city's delights.