Today (September 2, 2015): Review of the One&Only Cape Town (South Africa).
- Location: Google Maps
- Address: Dock Road, V & A Waterfront, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa
- Hotel website: One&Only Cape Town
- Tip: enjoy exclusive VIP amenities when you book via Virtuoso
One&Only Cape Town is an urban chic resort, located in the city’s Waterfront, that set a whole new standard for luxury hotels in South Africa when it opened in 2009. Offering an unprecedented level of luxury and style, the hotel overwhelms its guests with spectacular Table Mountain views, oversized bathrooms, and warm room interiors that are adorned with fabrics and furnishings recalling the muted tones of Africa’s savannahs. The hotel, managed by one of the world’s most exclusive hotel brands, feels like a home away from home in what is undeniably one of the world’s most beautiful cities. It’s also just a stone’s throw away from some of the world’s most amazing beaches. So, only superlatives come to mind when reviewing the One&Only hotel in Cape Town!
In this review (more info below my slideshow):
- Pros & things we like
- Cons & things to know
- Our verdict
- Tips for future guests & save money
- Best time to visit
- How to get there
PROS & THINGS I LIKE
- The location of the hotel is superb. It is 10 minutes on foot to the fashionable Victoria & Albert waterfront which is Cape Town’s shopping mecca and most happening place (especially in the evenings). There is also an interesting aquarium adjacent to the property, which is a great attraction for families.
- Service is top-notch and the staff is amongst the friendliest that I have ever encountered in a luxury hotel. This is African hospitality at its best!
- All rooms & suites are oversized and well-appointed. The beds are exceptionally comfortable. All rooms are adorned with fabrics and furnishings recalling the warm, muted tones of Africa’s savannahs, with bright splashes of colour paying tribute to the land’s vibrant personality. The sumptuously appointed bathrooms feature oversized baths, roomy rain showers, private water closets and dual marble vanities.
- Rooms are located either within the main hotel building (Marina Rise) or on a private, man-made island within the resort. When you choose (the location of) your room, take into account your preference and budget. If you like views of Table Mountain from your balcony, then a Marina Rise room (preferably on a high floor) is your best choice. The more expensive Junior Suites located on a little island surrounded by the Harbor Canal are more suitable for those who prefer a resort experience, with the Spa and swimming pool close by.
- The overall design and architecture of the hotel is stunning and feels more 6 than 5 stars.
- The lobby is impressive. It offers gorgeous views of Table Mountain through its giant windows, at least when the weather is cooperating.
- The 350 square meter (3767 square feet), free-form, heated infinity-edge pool is located on the private, man-made island. There are lots of private sitting areas with double chaise lounges ideal for sunbathing or relaxing under shaded pavilions. The pool is without any doubt the finest urban resort pool in all of Cape Town.
- In the heart of the resort, on the island, the One&Only Spa Cape Town is an oasis of serenity and a perfect escape for a day of pampered rejuvenation. It offers a vast range of tailored holistic experiences, ranging from pure relaxation to unique wellness journeys. Defining personal service and quiet indulgence, the 12 treatment rooms embrace local African influences combined with contemporary design.
- Dining at One&Only Cape Town is a pure delight with two of the city’s most acclaimed restaurants. Legendary Michelin-starred chef Nobuyuki ‘Nobu’ Matsuhisa brings his culinary wizardry to Nobu – his first-ever restaurant in Africa. Local celebrity chef Reuben Riffel manages the other restaurant, Reuben’s, showcasing a menu that is deceptively simple with its wholesome bistro fare.
- A magnificent tri-level wall of glass and steel commands the entrance to the impressive wine loft. The moment you step inside, the complex aromas combined with the depth of flavours take you on a tantalising journey of the Cape Winelands.
- Breakfasts (served at Ruebens) represent a daily highlight. You can order dishes from a menu and select plenty of items from the self-service buffet (including several freshly squeezed juices and even oysters).
- The hotel has a cute kids club. Children aged four and under are welcome to participate in KidsOnly activities with the supervision of an adult or babysitter. There is a separate programme of activities geared to the interests and activity levels of older children aged 12 to 17.
- A state-of-the-art fitness centre within Marina Rise is fully equipped with Technogym Excite supported by the Wellness System, and a connecting studio features cutting-edge Kinesi and FLEXability facilities.
- While many will consider the Waterfront to be the best location in town, the real beauty of Cape Town is found on its Atlantic shore where you can take in the splendor of some of the world’s most amazing beaches (Camps Bay, Clifton, Landudno). The hotel offers a complimentary shuttle service to Camps Bay in the busier season when guests are visiting the beautiful beaches more frequently.
CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
The One&Only Cape Town is one of my favorite luxury hotels in the world. The hotel is almost perfect. There are just some minor things that you need to know, as well as some suggestions that I think would make this exceptional hotel even better:
- While the Marina rooms offer spectacular Table Mountain View, their balconies face north and as such are in the shade almost all day. But frankly, why would you want to spend your time on the balcony in a city like Cape Town?
- A tourism levy of 40 Southafrican Rand per room per night will be collected by the hotel at checkout.
- WiFi is complimentary but comes under the form of free WiFi voucher of 500MG per day (and that limit is easily reached when you want to skype or play videos). The hotel is working though on being able to provide all guests with an uncapped facility in the near future.
- What I missed was the presence of an outside hot tub as well as a fire pit for the more chilly evenings. It would have been stunning to relax in an outdoor hot tub or enjoy coziness around the fire pit while enjoying a fabulous view of Table Mountain.
- The waters around the hotel and the private, man-made island are lined by residential condos, which partly block the Table Mountain views from the hotel’s lower floors.
- The pool is heated, except for the winter months of May to September. However, alternate arrangements can be made by the hotel if you want to make use of a heated pool during the colder winter months.
- While Reubens and Nobu serve great food, I did not particularly like the somewhat ‘cold’ design of both restaurants (far from an intimate dining experience).
- The hotel must have a spectacular view from its unused rooftop space. Some advise to the hotel’s owners: why not introduce a little bit of New York and install a sunset rooftop bar, which would thrill Capetonians and resort guests alike?
- Location: 9/10
- Design: 9/10
- Rooms: 10/10
- Food: 8/10
- Service: 9/10
- Overall experience: exceptional: 9/10
TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
- Save money: read my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury resort like the One&Only Cape Town (and/or receive many free perks).
- Save money: I recommend to book a stay at the One&Only Cape Town via a Virtuoso travel agent, which has the benefit of complimentary VIP perks (e.g. room upgrade, welcome gift, daily breakfast breakfast, $100 USD resort credit, early check in and late check out).
- Request a room on a higher floor in the Marina Rise when you want to enjoy spectacular Table Mountain views from your bed.
- Book a suite on the private, man-made island if you prefer a resort experience and want to be close to the pool and spa.
- Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Cape Town’s hot, dry summer months run from late October to March/April. Temperatures reach their peak between December and February, and this is generally seen as when to go to Cape Town for the best beach weather. Winter months (May to September) can be a wet, cold and rather disappointing affair.
HOW TO GET THERE
One&Only Cape Town is located a 30 minute drive from Cape Town International Airport. The latter is served by major African full-service and low-cost airlines, as well as by most major European and Middle East Carriers (click here for a direct link to their websites). Currently, Singapore Airlines is the only Asian carrier to this marvelous destination. Check the Wikipedia page of Cape Town International Airport for an updated list with airlines that offer directt flights to Cape Town.