Let me start this post by stating that we absolutely love Cape Town. I have been several times and each time I go I love it just a little bit more. So if this post comes across as a bit of a love letter it is because it kind of is.
If you are planning a trip to Africa there is a fairly good chance you may find yourself in South Africa and Cape Town more specifically. Lucky you.
The hotel scene in Cape Town is unique. You won’t find as many big luxury brand hotels as you’d except (there is no Four Seasons, Fairmont, Mandarin Orient, etc.). There are a few new spots springing up in Cape Town such as the over the top Silo hotel and the best known luxury spots; Cape Grace, Belmond Mount Nelson, and the stunning One and Only Cape Town. Each of which are excellent in their own rights but for me what I love about staying in Cape Town are the numerous smaller boutique hotel that often have sister hotels in the cape winelands or safari lodges in other parts of South Africa. Now we aren’t talking cute and quaint one step above B and B hotels. We are talking luxury boutique hotels that could give some of those in NYC and London a run for their money.
Personal Favourite Hotel
My personal favourite of these hotels is the Dock House. In full disclosure it is one of my top 5 hotels anywhere. I stayed for four nights at the Dock House in November. The Dock House is the former harbour masters residence dating from the 1800s and sits just across the street from the V and A waterfront. But it feels a world away from everything. Tucked away in a quiet corner overlooking the waterfront the Dock House is unique from the moment you arrive. We arrived in the early afternoon and were greeted by the doorman who showed us into the house, where the on duty manager greeted us. The first thing that struck us was how much this felt like a private home, our private home, and not a hotel. There are only 7 rooms in the entire hotel. We had requested a room on the 2nd floor so that we’d have a better view of the waterfront. The manager showed us to our room, room 2 as it happened to be. Waiting for us was a bottle of Champagne, fresh fruit and some locally made chocolate and dried goods from the V and A food market across the street. There was also a card that welcomed us which had been hand written and signed by the manager, doorman, and butler. What a nice touch. The room itself was beautiful and very spacious with a king bed and elegantly designed sitting area. The white marble bathroom was just off of the sitting area and featured a nice soaker tub that had a peekaboo view of table mountain. Just off the other side of the room were french doors that lead onto the balcony that overlooked not just the V and A waterfront but one of dock house’s best features, a private lawn and garden with a swimming pool and small bar. We’d end up spending every evening of our stay either beginning the evening or ending the night sitting out on the balcony with a glass of wine.
One of the many nice touches of the Dock House is you do not check in or check out at a front desk but simply in the room itself. The manager presented us with the keys, took a damage deposit with a mobile credit card machine and then asked if there was anything else she could help us with. I couldn’t help but wonder where the spa was. The manager explained that it was in fact in a building opposite in the Dock House’s sister hotel The Queen Victoria… I hadn’t even noticed another hotel until that point. The Queen Victoria is also home to the amazing Dash restaurant in case you are hungry after your spa treatment. I booked in for a signature “Africa’s Healing Journey” treatment the following day. The spa itself is fairly small with only 3 treatment rooms but just like the Dock House and the Queen Victoria they are beautifully designed and help to set the mood for a great pampering experience. The highlight of the treatment is the use of herbs and spices only found in southern Africa to help with rejuvenation, relaxation and renewal. On all three fronts they succeeded. After enjoying the spa it was time to hit the pool and relax as the heat of the African sun can make going out in Cape Town in the late afternoon a fairly wilting experience. In my relaxed state I figured a glass of Champagne, a lounge chair and a dip in the pool was a better alternative.
The dock house hotel is owned and operated by the Cape Town based Newmark Hotel and have several hotels in Cape Town in addition to The dock house and The Queen Victoria. They recently opened Chuini Zanzibar Beach lodge which I can’t wait to try as Zanzibar is high on my list of places to visit. All I can say is the bar has been set very high by the Dock House so I expect more great things to come on my next stay!
– Jackie, WSR Editor