South Africa’s borders are open and we look forward to welcoming clients back to this incredible destination. During the period that our international borders were still closed, Pieter and I took the opportunity to travel within South Africa to update ourselves with some new product and experiences but also return to some favourites we’ve not visited in a while.
Cities by definition are densely populated urban areas. South Africa’s cities however are less populated and more spread out than some of the European and Asian counterparts. For example the South African city with the highest population, Johannesburg, is well known as the “largest man-made urban forest in the world” with more than 10 million trees.
Within our cities there are a number of properties that offer an oasis from the hustle and bustle of city life and allow you to stay clear of large crowds and enjoy large open air spaces and gardens. We put together a list of some of our favourites.
The Twelve Apostles Hotel – Although located a mere 14km from the V&A Waterfront, the spectacular location of the hotel makes it feel far removed from the city. Poised above the Atlantic Ocean, the 5-star boutique hotel is flanked by the majestic Table Mountain National Park, a World Heritage Site, and the Twelve Apostles mountain range. Hotel guests are able to stroll straight from their rooms onto the mountainside to take in some fresh air and spectacular sea and mountain views.
Last Word Constantia – A serene sanctuary tucked away in the verdant, storied Constantia valley, origin of South Africa’s most acclaimed viticulture. An inviting sunken swimming pool and surrounding tanning deck is the focal point of the magnificently manicured garden with rolling lawns, vibrant colours and exquisite mountain views. An oasis of peace and tranquillity.
Alphen Boutique Hotel – The Alphen is a luxury boutique hotel set on 11.5 acres of impressive lush garden lands. The property was previously a wine estate and a working farm, and still proudly boasts one of the oldest mills in the Western Cape. The Alphen Boutique Hotel has 3 classical heritage manor houses with 19 extravagant, avant-garde luxury suites.
Camissa House – Framed by iconic Table Mountain and celebrating uninterrupted views of the city of Cape Town below, a more spectacular location for a luxury hotel quite simply doesn’t exist. Stepping out of the hotel, it is not hard to see where Camissa House’s design inspiration has been sourced. Table Mountain is on your doorstep and is the canvas for the Cape Floral Kingdom, one of the world’s great centres of terrestrial biodiversity. Offering only eight rooms (five luxury room and three luxury terrace rooms) this boutique property offers an exclusive mountainside refuge.
The Cellars-Hohenort – surrounded by nine acres of perfectly manicured and award-winning gardens, located in the historical Constantia Valley, only 15 minutes’ drive from Cape Town’s city centre. Discovering the outdoors begins in the nine-acre garden at The Cellars-Hohenort, which features the second-oldest camphor trees in South Africa, an enchanted forest, a vineyard, secret doorways, a rose garden and so much more. Regular garden tours are conducted for guests, uncovering the magic of one of the world’s most beautiful privately owned gardens.
Belmond Mount Nelson – Set in the heart of Cape Town, this luxury hotel and spa offers easy access to all that’s happening in this dynamic city. Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel has long been regarded as one of the city’s top five star hotels. It offers the perfect combination of leafy tranquillity and contemporary buzz. This urban oasis offers garden cottages providing a perfectly private retreat for your stay. Or choose one of the elegant rooms, offering sweeping views of Table Mountain or the hotel’s lush gardens.
One&Only Cape Town – An urban chic waterfront resort with unprecedented levels of luxury, a place of friendly calm and gracious hospitality for couples and families alike. An oasis of serenity in the heart of a bustling city, One&Only has Cape Town’s most comprehensive spa situated on its own 1,000 square meter private island in the midst of the resort.
The Vineyard – Over the past two centuries, The Vineyard has proudly evolved into one of the most environmentally-friendly, progressive hotels in Cape Town. The eight-acre property in Cape Town’s leafy southern suburbs is home to a diverse range of fauna and flora.
Ellerman House – With only 13 bedrooms and 2 private contemporary villas, Ellerman House excel at offering guests an intuitive and understated level of service. The magnitude of the extensive gardens often takes first-time visitors by surprise. Built in 1906, the original Cape Edwardian mansion, its outbuildings and gardens are well over a century old and great care has been taken over the years to preserve and maintain the heritage of this unique property. On the sea-facing side of the property a series of terraced lawns, edged with aromatic Cape fynbos, provide spectacular ocean views. Sheltered from the prevailing Southeaster wind that blows in summer, the gardens and swimming pool are idyllic spaces in which to relax and enjoy all that the hotel has to offer.
Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa – Before Fairlawns became a boutique hotel in 1997, it was originally a ten-acre family home, owned by the Brenthurst Trust of Oppenheimer fame. Sections of the property were sold over the years and it was only once the family was left with the remaining three acres and the original homestead that the new owner decided to realize his dream of having a ‘country hotel’ – albeit in the heart of Sandton. The architecture of the original ranch-style home and stables were changed to a more Palladian style, reminiscent of late 18th century homes in England.
AtholPlace House & Villa – Situated in the heart of the suburb of Atholl, one of the most beautiful parts of Johannesburg and only a short distance from the commercial centre of Sandton. These two exclusive use properties offer complete privacy.
AtholPlace Villa is a four-bedroom Relais & Chateaux exclusive-use city villa. A ‘home-from-home’ accommodating up to eight guests, the first-floor houses three, spacious deluxe bedrooms and one cosier bedroom, all with en-suite bathrooms. On the ground level, guests enjoy elegant living and dining spaces that extend to the beautifully landscaped private garden, sparkling pool and cheerful boma beyond.
Atholplace House is the bigger of the 2 properties and with nine bedrooms en-suite the ideal venue for large multi-generational families or corporate getaways. Guest are able to enjoy the many spaces across the house, including the bar and library with romantic fireplace, the temperature controlled swimming pool, the gym and the lush garden to relax and unwind in.
The Maslow Sandton – Located in the heart of Africa’s richest square mile, The Maslow offers superior and safe Sandton accommodation for travellers. Although positioned in Sandton and just a stone’s throw away from one of Africa’s largest retail hubs the hotel offers a haven with its oasis gardens, crisp blue pool and tranquil terraces.
African Pride Irene Country Lodge – Irene Country Lodge was built with the vision of providing visitors with an authentic farm experience in a modern elegant urban facility. Winding down the oak-lined lane where cows graze in green pastures, you will arrive at a haven of peace and tranquillity in the hub of South Africa’s economic heartland. Nestling in Irene, the property is centrally located between Johannesburg and Pretoria, and a mere 25 minute drive from OR Tambo International Airport. Across the road from Irene Country Lodge, Irene Farm offers a wonderful place to visit where dairy cows are milked daily and the local shop stocks an abundance of farm fresh delicacies.
The Oyster Box – Standing proud on Umhlanga’s beachfront, directly on the beach and overlooking the Indian Ocean, the 86-room Oyster Box is just a 15-minute drive from the King Shaka International airport (DUR). The Oyster Box is one of South Africa’s best-loved hotels, offering the charm and nostalgia of a bygone era, but with all the modern comfort and amenities. Facilities include a magnificent Spa, two swimming pools, luscious gardens and a 24-seater movie theatre. Although set on the shores of ocean the property is surrounded by secluded, tropical gardens and enriched with the sounds of nature. In addition to the sea facing rooms and suites the property also offers a variety of garden rooms, lofts and villas. The Superior Garden Villas are set in the lush surroundings of the hotel gardens and each enjoy the luxury of a private plunge pool, relaxing terrace, private lounge and bar, and an opulent bathroom. These villas can be converted into a two bedroom villa simply by reserving one of the Garden Villa Lofts additionally.