THE MARLY, CAMPS BAY
The name invokes the spirit of a 17th-century estate frequented by Louis XIV, which might seem odd for a beach hideaway in South Africa; but the French-inflected design works, thanks in part to the fact that it’s offset by a grey-on-white palette, contemporary chaises longues, and decks with views of the Atlantic or Lion’s Head mountain that plonk it firmly in the here-and-now.
Camps Bay is like Miami’s South Beach on a more manageable scale, a buzzy seaside stretch of restaurants and bars. The Marly is in the same building as three of the city’s best places to eat: Umi for sashimi, Zenzero for Italian, and Paranga for seafood or steaks. For breakfast, join locals at the new La Belle Bistro & Bakery for ricotta hotcakes with honeycomb butter. When you’re done sunning and partying, ask a butler to draw you a citron, key lime and ginger bath and soak with a glass of bubbly. It’s that kind of place. www.themarly.co.za. Doubles from about £165
This glamorous urban bolthole is set high above the city, backing onto Table Mountain National Park. It’s a bit isolated, but givenCape Town’s dinky dimensions, downtown and the beach are just a few minutes’ drive away, and there’s an on-call chauffeur in the evenings to ferry guests to supper and back. Brilliant general manager Mitch Terry (exEllerman House and Cape View Clifton) gives everyone a mobile phone loaded with essential numbers, including his pick of top restaurants.
With just eight bedrooms, MannaBay is a great option for a group of friends, or for sociable couples happy to mingle over breakfast (eggs Benedict, perfect baked omelettes), lavish afternoon teas and Terry’s pre-supper wine tastings. Dramatically decorated in bold colours, with playful wallpaper and carefully curated local art, the hotel has a staggering 3,000 books – recent novels bought from charity shops – which provide a colour-coded focal point in the bedrooms. The largest is the Versailles Suite, with a bed on the terrace for romantic sleep-outs. The pool terrace encapsulates the hotel’s fun, fantasy vibe, with a chair-swing for two hanging from a tree and a safari-style boma for lazing on beanbags with fireside drinks. www.mannabay.com. Doubles from about £285; Versailles Suite about £345
CAPE VIEW CLIFTON
Globetrotting stylist Jess Latimer has an eye for detail well beyond her 29 years. In transforming this former family home into a small hotel, her aim was to provide guests with a taste of her own breezy, laid-back coastal lifestyle. The result is young and contemporary but also very sophisticated. It will appeal to anyone who prefers a casual, personal approach not to be found at bigger, full-service hotels, and the location is brilliant at the price, with gasp-worthy views that take in the cableway station on Table Mountain, the Twelve Apostles mountain range and the four beaches of Clifton (check out the beautiful bodies on Clifton First Beach, below, while working out in the top-floor gym).
With a lovely pool and, better still, drinks and snacks on hand, it’s tempting to stay put, and many do. For families, there are two suites with proper kitchens and private terraces edged with greenery – a real luxury in cheek-by-jowl Clifton. All the rooms have great sea views, but 1A and 2B are particular favourites. www.capeviewclifton.co.za. Doubles from about £195; from about £365 for a three-bedroom suite
THE ONE ABOVE, V&A WATERFRONT
The V&A Waterfront is possibly the most convenient place to stay in Cape Town, with shops and entertainment on tap, bang-on views of Table Mountain and easy access to both the Atlantic seaboard and the increasingly cool city centre. Now clever hotelier Liz Biden has added this extravagant, two-storey penthouse above the One&Only hotel to her Royal Portfolio. Private, bespoke and cosseting, this is the sort of place where absolutely everything is taken care of. The general manager is John Jackson, an accomplished chef who previously ran Biden’s celebrity safari hangout, Royal Malewane.
There are four boudoir-glamorous suites (none of them a dud) and an impressive mix of beautiful living spaces, including an extraordinary rooftop pool terrace from which you can watch yachts glide in and out of the marina below. The butler is your go-to guy for anything you may want, always on hand to pick up a gift or organise a dinner party around the pool, with dozens of lanterns and floating candles to add romantic clout. This is one for full-throttle privacy.www.theroyalportfolio.com. From about £6,250 per night for up to eight guests
LA GRENADINE, GARDENS
Parisian owners Mélodie and Maxime Deluc met and fell in love in Africa. Here they’ve created a Gallic Eden in a restored, 200-year-old house. Although it’s handy for all the busy restaurants and bars on hip Kloof Street, once through the gates you’re transported to a calming, sun-dappled garden shaded with avocado, guava, lemon and pomegranate trees and a hammock swaying in the breeze.
The creative couple – she’s an actress, he’s a model, they both give tango lessons – have poured a tremendous amount of love into the place, and it shows: badminton rackets have been repurposed as mirrors; antique Singer sewing-machine stands now serve as bistro tables; a row of cinema seats lines a wall in the sitting room; iron keys dangling from the ceilings act as light switches; and a delicious breakfast of fresh baguettes, croissants and homemade jams is served on Mélodie’s collection of 19th-century porcelain. The couple host parties and photo shoots at the house, but on quieter evenings there’s a selection of records to choose from for the turntable behind the vintage bar. www.lagrenadine.co.za. Doubles from about £65