Poised above the Atlantic Ocean and flanked by the Twelve Apostles mountain range, Cape Town’s Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa is perched at the blissful intersection of summit and sea. When choosing between the hotel’s 55 deluxe guest rooms and 15 luxurious suites, the most difficult decision I encountered was which direction to face: either way, I was assured, awe-inspiring views came standard.
Splendid luxury and generous hospitality has ensured a profusion of highly regarded industry awards for this five-star property, regularly recognized as one of the top hotels in Africa, South Africa, and the world by Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, and TripAdvisor. For guests journeying to this coastal playground, the Twelve Apostles (lovingly referred to as “12A” by the staff) represents the best of both worlds: indulgently luxurious accommodations mixed with personalized service and a decided “home away from home” atmosphere.
12A’s interior décor is clearly inspired by the property’s distinctive natural surroundings, taking full advantage of Cape Town’s ample natural light. The bright, airy and individually-decorated rooms are an eclectic mix of contemporary African style, classic European comfort and effortless, up-to-the-minute technology. Rich fabrics are illuminated by cool colors and calming patterns, simultaneously evoking both old-world elegance and raw organic wilderness. It is a world of juxtapositions, indeed, and that is where 12A excels – each room is a pleasant surprise, somehow complementing all the others while remaining refreshingly unique.
Walking into the Presidential and Grand Master Suites, I succumbed to panoramic views of where the earth, sea and sky meet on a private wraparound terrace. 12A’s suites also boast antique marble baths, cool white marble floors (warmed with underfloor heating), imported Italian chandeliers, antique mirrors, South African Masters art collections, and a variety of mosaics and finely carved panels.
Despite the awe-inspiring seascape surroundings of the property, Cape Town’s bustling cosmopolitan attractions are just 15 minutes away – even less if guests opt to use 12A’s personal helipad. The entertainment options in Cape Town are limitless; the V&A Waterfront is a good place to start, heralded as South Africa’s most popular destination and packed with a vibrant combination of shops, restaurants, the historic harbor and more than one hundred art galleries and museums. Grab a cocktail (or five) at Long Street, Cape Town’s resident party district, or head to trendy De Waterkant, undeniably reminiscent of London’s Soho and Greenwich Village but home to truly unforgettable Cape Malay cuisine.
12A’s knowledgeable concierges take the hassle out of planning day trips and were quite helpful in determining which experience was the best fit for us. From hiking up Table Mountain to cage diving with Great White Sharks, this area has something to offer for everyone, whether adrenaline junkie or wine aficionado. Since I lean more toward the latter, we ventured to the Cape Winelands for an immensely rewarding tour that far exceeded my expectations – in addition to sampling some of the world’s finest wines, I discovered gorgeous natural landscapes (notice the theme?) and delved into the area’s rich history and heritage.
No discussion of 12A is complete without mentioning its award-winning spa. Exceptionally skilled therapists restore beauty and balance through individual treatments and spa journeys, focusing on holistic principles that combine ancient wisdom with modern expertise. Treatments are personalized for each guest and delivered in either calming indoor treatment rooms or outdoor mountain gazebos with Atlantic sea views. The spa also includes three different hydrotherapy pools, a Rasul Chamber, a Rain Shower, a Tourmaline Salon and a Tranquility Lounge for guests to relax between and after treatments.
This commitment to uniquely-tailored care and luxury is a hallmark of 12A and the entire Red Carnation Hotel Collection, a family-run collection of hotels including 12A and 16 other luxury boutique hotels in London, Dorset, Guernsey, Geneva, Palm Beach, South Africa and Ireland. Each member of RCH’s dedicated and highly-trained staff embraces the philosophy of “no request too large, no detail too small” and guests are greeted by name with preferences both remembered and catered to.
Other notable features of 12A include its private cinema and The Leopard Bar, where I enjoyed a “Tea by the Sea” complete with chocolate brownies, cream scones, and finger sandwiches. The legendary Azure Restaurant, whose awe-inspiring terrace overlooks the cerulean ocean, serves the finest indigenous and international cuisine and the best view of the sunset I’ve ever seen. Executive Chef Christo Pretorius is notorious for his exquisite dishes, all infused by the finest local organic ingredients, from delicate fresh oysters to Bea’s Double Baked Cheesecake.
Throughout my entire stay, it was impossible not to be charmed by the personalized attention we received and amazed by the absolutely unforgettable accommodations.
Cape Town by itself is a bucket list destination, but when you stay at the Twelve Apostles – with breathtaking landscapes in every direction – it nearly seems like heaven on earth.
For more information, please visit www.12apostleshotel.com.