March 27, 2023

Two uniquely exceptional South African lodging experiences

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, John Lennon, and Leonardo DiCaprio have all stayed at Mount Nelson Hotel.
Cape Town is a city that contrasts bustling townships with million-dollar mansions, upscale waterfront boutiques with artisan booths, and a heaving metropolis with the wondrous beauty of nature. Hotels fall on both sides of that spectrum too.

Just 15 minutes outside Cape Town’s city center is the Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa. Nestled in the Twelve Apostle Mountain range and flanked by Table Mountain (one of the Seven New Wonders of the World) and the Atlantic Ocean, this 70-room estate feels much farther from the city than it is. Two heated swimming pools, candlelit bathrooms, sumptuous linens, a cinema, a lending library, and mountain walking trails are among the hotel’s ample amenities. The spa, featuring locally-made beauty products and an underground grotto with both warm- and cold-water plunge pools, is worth the price of admission. The on-site Azure Restaurant makes delicious use of the local bounty, serving specialties like springbok tenderloin and freshly-caught seafood all expertly paired with wines made nearby. For day trips, wine country tours and scuba excursions are easily arranged.

If you’d rather stay in the heart of it all, the century-old Mount Nelson Hotel brings British nobility to South Africa. With 124 spacious rooms, 77 suites, and eight garden cottages–all individually decorated with British-influenced appointments–the hotel feels decidedly grand. It’s pinkies up for afternoon tea: Sip the proprietary blend of six different teas from an overstuffed wing-back chair, listen to the piano player, and partake in the buffet, which features everything from sweet (black forest cake, macaroons, and milk tarts) to savory (cucumber sandwiches, lamb focaccia, and spinach quiche). Digest at your own pace, whether with a treatment at the Librisa Spa, a walk through the garden observatory, or a trip into town for museum- and gallery-hopping.

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