Brian Berkman find the shiny and black Onyx Apart-Hotel delivers upscale Cape Town city-centre stays.
Following a stylish conversion of the former Nedbank 1968-built Foreshore Cape Town head office, a classic black glass box in the Ludwig Mies van der Rohe style, The Onyx is now a mixed-use apartment complex and hotel with two restaurants at ground level.
According to architect Robert Silke, wildly considered a wunderkind and someone whose vision has transformed the Cape Town inner-city landscape and who architected the building and interiors, “The shallow floor plates and large expanses of glass make this A-grade corporate icon perfect for residential conversion. We intervened surgically in the façade with futuristic and curvaceous aluminium balconies. In so doing, we animated the striking black onyx surfaces with luxurious, yacht-like terrace features in crisp white.”
The Onyx was developed by Signatura, a business birthed in 2012 with property maven, John Rabie, on the team and which has a number of top residential and commercial developments throughout the city. Newmark Hotels and Reserves manages this property among many other award-winning hotels.
Swish and stylish with lots of shiny black surfaces, The Onyx is minimally decorated and furnished focusing instead on top finishes and appliances such as a multi-temperature kettle for in-room use.
A refreshing change from the same-old-same-old bathroom amenities found in many hotels, at The Onyx these are by fashion brand Ben Sherman and provide delicious smelling products in the rooms.
There are two restaurants, independently operated by Rory Jossel, Yu, a contemporary-Asian fusion restaurant and tapas bar and MRKT, pronounced “market” a clean-lined and open-plan all-day bistro and bakery serving a stellar breakfast of cold buffet and hot egg-based orders a la carte inclusive in some room rates. And, speaking of billing, apartment owners and hotel guests alike can also use all of the hotel services, food and bev, spa and housekeeping and laundry and bill to the room account.
The fourth floor of The Onyx features a large outside balcony as well as a swimming pool – half inside, and half out, a well-equipped gym with 24-hour access and a stylish lounge and bar. The Sanctuary Spa offers a full range of hands-on spa therapies including couples’ treatments in a spa suite for two.
In contrast to the extensive use of black in the decoration theme, large-scale and full-colour graphic wallpapers enliven each floor with an arresting image and, particularly in the spa and pool area where the lush plantings of a tropical forest complete with panther hiding behind the leaves, sets the scene.
Our accommodation in a one-bedroomed apartment had all the luxury touches expected such as robes, slippers and so on. The large and supremely comfortable bed takes up most of the bedroom while in the sitting room we hoped for a work-height table as we found the high chairs and table provided while well suited to dining were not ideal for working at.
But, that said, there are long tables at MRKT with plug points and fast and free wi-fi which work well as communal working areas.
Billeted at The Onyx you are almost directly adjacent to the Cape Town International Convention Centre and in easy proximity to The Westin, The Signature Lux and more recently opened Sky Hotels.
A just-published tourism study by Wesgro, shared the good news that February 2022 marked the highest (125,861) number of two-way international terminal passengers over the last five months.
Hotel occupancy grew from 23% in February 2021 to 60% in the same month this year, representing a recovery rate of 75% when compared to February 2019. All of which is to say that global visitors are returning to South Africa’s Mother City and you should too.
Tell Me More About The Onyx, Cape Town
THE ONYX 57 Heerengracht St, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, 8001
T: +27 21 427 5900
Prices from R2170 (about £114) per night for two people.