Brian Berkman says a visit to Cape Town should include full-time views of Table Mountain and The Atlantic Ocean and The Table Bay Hotel delivers both.
Celebrating its silver anniversary looking as gorgeous as ever South Africa’s Table Bay Hotel, a five-star Sun International property, has the most enviable position in Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront and is the only hotel with direct access to The Victoria Wharf.
In 1997 some people questioned why a premium hotel would be built in a working harbour, especially as the V&A Waterfront was a long way from the bustling, world-famous destination it is today. Sun International disagreed, “Right from the start, we saw the potential in establishing a world-class hotel in the heart of what we recognised would be a rapidly evolving tourism destination. Today we are envied for having the best address in Cape Town,” says the company’s CEO, Anthony Leeming.
The location also got the blessing of former Sun International CEO Sol Kerzner. Kerzner was adamant though – and would not budge – The Table Bay hotel had to be built at an angle, facing Table Mountain head on. From the opposite angle the hotel offers equally beautiful unobstructed views across Table Bay, all the way to Robben Island and beyond.
Speaking about the hotel’s recovery from the pandemic lockdown, The Table Bay hotel’s General Manager Joanne Selby says, “In 2020, for the first time in our 25 year history we were closed for seven months due to the lockdown, but despite the temporary closure, we were committed to retain as many of our staff as possible and it’s heartening to celebrate our silver anniversary with them.”
The views are the heroes here be they of Table Mountain and the harbour from one side or across the Atlantic towards Robben Island on the other. Public areas and elegant rooms and suites all focus on the view.
As gargantuan as the hotel’s central lobby area is, there are exquisite focal points that make the space feel intimate; giant vases of South Africa’s national flower, the Protea, and conversation set ups and objects like blue and white porcelain that links to South Africa’s history. This hotel succeeds in offering public space that residential guests actually want to use.
The sunken lounge has wall-to-wall windows that perfectly frame Table Mountain and from where all day grazing is offered. The hotel is well known for its “High Tea” offering of elegant individual confectioneries and savoury items. South Africa’s traditional dishes get updated in the most interesting way possible so expect to find Melktart (custard tart flavoured with cinnamon and clove) and vetkoek, a deep-fried yeasted dough, but always with a twist.
Buttermilk scones with all the trimmings are served including a beetroot and feta scone option as a surprise. Cheese and crackers are available too. The high tea is R395 (about £19) per person and has to be reserved in advance. High Tea is available Friday to Sunday, from 2pm to 3.30pm or 4pm to 5.30pm.
South African celebrity chef, Siba Mtongana, best known for her turn on Siba’s Table on the Food Network, now has an eponymous restaurant at The Table Bay. Siba, open Wednesdays to Sunday for fine-dining. Four or eight course-tasting menus are served. “I want people to feel comfortable and unrushed when they sit down. The setting is elegant yet minimalistic to bring the outdoors in,” Siba says. “People have always asked me if they can come and eat at my home, so I have included a family aspect in pictures of my husband Brian and our four kids, which can be seen around the restaurant, making it feel like an extension of our home.”
A lavish buffet breakfast is served in the hotel’s The Atlantic Restaurant, and is so generous in its offering that guests will be well sustained for their day exploring the Cape. The selection of fresh squeezed and pressed juices, for example, has its own temperature-controlled room to keep them at optimum. And, while scrambled eggs are available on the buffet, a chef is at hand to prepare the full range of egg dishes.
The standout here is the vastness of the choice. For guests who don’t eat pork products, for example, there is a separate selection of charcuterie. Equally, for gluten-free adherents there are many bread and pastry options. Classic South African flavours are introduced with a difference. The grilled chicken livers, for example, and boerewors stew of the county’s traditional beef sausage, flavoured with coriander and cumin, are both winners. Many traditional African dishes are celebrated here too.
Hotel rooms are elegant and come with every comfort including possibly the plushest and most bouncy slippers you will find in a hotel. The turndown service includes the usual niceties, but also a local story in the form of a bookmark which is welcome.
Marble accented bathrooms have tubs, showers and separate loos. The bathroom amenities range is called AfriKan and comes in a retro, copper-coloured metal squeeze tube and we so enjoyed it we took the remnants home with us.
The swimming pool and gym were being refurbished during our August visit but, based on the quality of everything we experienced, are sure to be splendid on completion.
Tell Me More About The Table Bay Hotel.
THE TABLE BAY HOTEL Quay, 6 W Quay Rd, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa, 8001
T: +27 (0)21 406 5000. E: firstname.lastname@example.org.
An entry-level room for two at Table Bay Hotel including breakfast on October 4, 2022, as an example, will cost R7067 (about £353) while the Executive Suite will cost R17, 712 (£8850.)