Fresh from a recent refurbishment, One&Only Cape Town combines top-notch facilities with alluring mountain vistas

Words: Jonathan Whiley

They call it the table top. Arriving at One&Only Cape Town, the flatness of Table Mountain – which dominates the city skyline – is framed like an award-winning landscape photograph. Giant glass panels and a glitzy oval-shaped bar offer largely unobstructed views; hotel lobbies are rarely sexy, but here you can’t help but be seduced.

But you can’t please everyone. The weather in Cape Town can be unpredictable. One guest was so incensed that the mountain was shrouded by cloud during their stay – referred to locally as ‘the table cloth’ – that they demanded their money back.

Be flexible and go as soon as the weather plays ball; you can hike up several routes (concierge will recommend guides) or kick back by taking the cable car. Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 of his 27 year sentence, can also be at the mercy of the weather – it’s a short boat ride from the fashionable V&A Waterfront, where One&Only is located.

This is a lively, safe and cosmopolitan part of the capital; a Time Out market offers 13 kitchens run by leading local chefs and The Watershed is abundant with artisan homeware. Further afield, make for the west of the Cape Peninsula and drive along Chapman’s Peak – a nine kilometre stretch, among the most scenic in the world – before cocktails in ultra-trendy Camps Bay and on to see the penguins at Boulders Beach.

One&Only offers a luxurious respite. It’s fresh from a top-to-toe refurbishment in 2022 which means it’s lighter, brighter and offers real sense of place; the new design has incorporated local suppliers and artisans as a homage to African culture. Rooms and suites are among the biggest in South Africa with the presidential suite redesigned with input from guest, Justin Bieber.

Facilities are excellent; the largest infinity pool in the city (cabanas reserved for guests in signature suites), a ‘spa island’, knockout Nobu restaurant with local nods (think springbok carpaccio) and a 5,000 bottle wine studio for tastings with charismatic head sommelier, Luvo.

My only gripe was with service. Warm and friendly throughout, but there were lapses. Requests had to be chased on several occasions and a casual dinner in Vista Bar& Lounge was drawn out and involved a procession of different waiters.

Put those footnotes to one side and this newly imagined resort is still to be recommended in a city that fully delivers on its recent hype.

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