One&Only has a habit of building hotel land from scratch. It did in The Maldives, taking a tiny island and dumping sand on top until it was five times as big, and large enough for ONE&ONLY REETHI RAH. They have done the same thing here, reclaiming land inside Cape Town’s Waterfront area to build ONE&ONLY CAPE TOWN.
The result is a 32-room resort that is part of the surroundings, immediately. Go in, three steps up from where the white Mercedes drops you, and look straight across the lobby lounge at Table Mountain, above. This is centre of life, under ten minutes’ walk to this eternally-fascinating city’s heritage buildings, crafts and all-levels retail, museums and galleries, the waterfront, and restaurants and bars for-ever. The whole area is also one massive bubble of security, walk anywhere, any time.
Most of One&Only’s bedrooms are in the main seven-floor building, a snake shape following one of the seawater canals. Other rooms are in two-floor villas on one of the islands that are completely surrounded by canals – get to the islands by a 50-metre boardwalk bridge. One island has a massive ESPA, the other a big curvilinear pool and glass-walled pool café.
All-day dining, in the main building, is indoor-out Ochre, reached down 26 wood stairs from the lobby. Take another 26 stairs down to dinner-only Nobu, again inside or out. Of course here Nobu has the edge over some of its many siblings, say Hong Kong: here, the hotel’s champion sommelier Luvo Ntezo might suggest Rijk’s Chenin Blanc 2020 or Kaapzick 2020 Rooiland Pinotage, to go, say, with an eclectic dinner that includes whole-leaf spinach and parmesan salad, tuna sashimi, vegetable tempura, half-dumplings of truffled wagyu, and that essential, black miso cod.
Room #509, the hotel’s 245sq m Table Mountain Suite, is , especially if connected to #510, ideal for multi-generational family groups – the dining table seats eight, and the bar has an adjacent serious-cooking room. toasts in 2023 Aslina by Ntsiki Biyela CS 2020, Zuzuland, made by a young black woman.
You learn the whole time here. Enjoy local art in the hotel’s own upper-first floor gallery (every new three-month Melrose Gallery show is opened with a grand party – currently showing are 50 kaleidoscope-bright handpainted etchings by stained glass master Paul Blomkamp). Work out, in the 24/7 super Technogym, with Kinesis and Power Plate, adjacent to the art gallery – and also work out in room 509’s own gym.
Time passes at record speed at One&Only Cape Town. Next visit must include the Wine Studio in the lobby and at least one of the really enticing Curated Excursions suggested in a special booklet – there’s Drink, and Mix (a Barista Masterclass?), Eat (Nobu Sushi Masterclass?) and Play (mountain hikes, or a 30-minute canal kayak, or studying turtles and so much more). NEXT time.