Although the Mother City has a dazzling array of luxury accommodation offerings, and continues to collect a string of international awards, the coastal towns, winelands and mountains that surround her also have some wondrous hidden gems. Here are my top five luxe stays, all within a 90-minute drive of the city.
1. The Marine Hotel
Understated elegance and old school hospitality welcome you with open arms to the coastal town of Hermanus. It’s perfectly poised along the clifftops in this prime holiday village, offering the most impressive and expansive ocean vistas.
The town is most-known for its exceptional whale viewing – one of the best spots in the world! My top three hotel experiences were enjoying the culinary creativity of their Origins restaurant, afternoon champagne sessions in the hotels’ lounge, and lastly simply continuing the whale spotting from the luxurious comfort of my bed.
2. The Villa Exner
Often bypassed by visitors, the mountainous hamlet of Elgin has a few surprises in store, and one of these is the Villa Exner. Driving up to the double story pillared homestead, feels like you’re in a scene from an American movie, set in the deep South, only with the cotton fields replaced by Cape Fold mountains.
The converted homestead offers a handful of rooms, all spacious with subtly African-inspired décor, and all a few steps from Eats11, the in-house restaurant. Be sure to visit the Cape Canopy Tour for a zip-line experience, or a local winery for some excellent cool climate wines.
3. Pearl Valley Hotel
A newbie on the block, the Pearl Valley Hotel is set on the magnificently manicured greens of the luxury estate Val De Vie. Sports fanatics will revel at the opportunity to get active, with a golf course, equestrian facilities, squash and tennis courts, and much more. The combination of French Provençal and Cape Vernacular styles inspire the estate, and the hotel’s lavish looks.
A 20 minute drive in either direction will take you to the picturesque and historical winelands’ towns of Paarl, and Franschhoek. A perfect family destination, as the estate has kilometers of ground for kids to safely explore.
4. The Robertson Small Hotel
While Robertson is the larger of the villages you’ll drive through on the scenic Route 62 out of Cape Town, in one of its suburbs hides something small but oh so significant. The Robertson Small is a five-star hotel that lives up to its name with only 12 rooms, and an exceptional dedication to the ‘small details’. Most of the rooms open directly onto one of the pools, with private verandas to relax away the afternoon.
From the hotel produced Small Guide to the town, to menus arriving in envelopes, you’re held in luxury with surprisingly delightful small touches at every turn. Easily one of top 3 hotels I’ve ever visited, and within a 10 minute drive of some of my favourite wine farms, it’s a winner.
5. Le Franschhoek Hotel
Driving into Franschhoek (the French-quarter), and then along the length of its picturesque main road it’s as if you’re transported into a European hamlet, cradled by mountains on both sides. As if that wasn’t enough, as you leave the town and continue deeper into the valley, you eventually arrive at Le Franschhoek Hotel.
The tranquil garden setting, and exceptional service makes for the perfect luxe winelands escape. As much as there are countless wine farms to explore within a minute’s drive, you’d be equally happy to languor away the day at the pool or the tempting in-house Heavenly Spa. Who wouldn’t want to rest in the shadow of the majestic mountains, all the while dazzled by such tasteful French flair?
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