The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa, found just outside Camps Bay in Cape Town, deserves all five stars.
The hotel is named for its dramatic location at the base of the Twelve Apostles Mountain Range and the view in every direction is incredible.
The mountains are to the rear and east of the hotel, the deep blue of the Atlantic Ocean to the fore and west and to the north is a view across Camps Bay to Lions Head and Table Mountain.
From the moment my partner and I arrived we noticed that the hotel is all about romance.
The romance need not be of the honeymoon variety only. Imagine making your first trip to Africa and finding yourself at one of the most beautiful locations at the Fairest Cape in a hotel that offers all you could need.
We could not help but appreciate the beauty and splendour of the setting, the friendly and helpful staff, the incredible décor, the large indigenous flower arrangements, the outstanding art collection and the bright, spacious rooms. We fell quietly in love with The Twelve Apostles.
After checking in my partner and I sat in the lounge at the Leopard Bar in the late afternoon. As the day drew to a close, more and more elegantly dressed and smiling couples arrived and all headed to the balcony.
We too moved to the balcony and found the sun a few centimetres above the horizon; the sky was lit with brilliant colour, the distant Lions Head bathed in romantic pink and the endless Atlantic Ocean serenely reflecting the last of the day’s sunlight.
Sunsets are the most romantic time of the day. This is particularly so if you have a wonderful view, the drink of your choice in hand and your loving partner in arms reach.
Rooms with a view
I have stayed at the Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa twice and have spent the night I a large, sea facing room and in a smaller mountain facing room. Both offered every amenity that I could desire.
Both rooms had balconies, king size beds with crisp, fresh percale linen, satellite TV, desks, Nestle tea and coffee stations and built in safes.
The bathroom positively glittered and was well stocked with BIAfrica Spa products. We showered and donned the fluffy robes and slippers provided before settling down to find out all that the hotel had too offer.
Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa has plenty to offer
The spa is something to behold. Set beneath the southern wing of the hotel in amongst the huge boulders on which the hotel is built, the spa has a variety of pools from hydrotherapy to a rain shower. There are seven dual and single treatment rooms and, like all spas, its smells fresh, clean and heavenly.
We also took a walk around the grounds of the hotel and discovered two gazebos for private spa treatments in the midst of the boulders and the fragrant fynbos.
A number of walking trails may be found directly behind the hotel that lead to the towering Twelve Apostles mountain range and the river that runs past the hotel.
A favourite place in summer is the pool deck. The large pool is heated and overlooks the ocean. Deck chairs abound and there is always a waiter on hand to take your order.
At the rear of the hotel is a man-made rock pool that is better suited to families with adventurous kids.
Although the hotel has plenty to offer, there are complimentary half hourly shuttles to and from the V&A waterfront.
There are three restaurants, the Azure Restaurant, The Café Grill and The Conservatory. The Leopard Bar also serves snacks and meals. The Café Grill is open24 hours a day and offers al fresco dining with a north facing view of the mountains and the dense local fauna.
The Conservatory is a floor above The Café Grill and also looks north towards Lions Head and Table Mountain. The Conservatory is famous for its ‘Tea by the Sea’ with delicious homemade scones, jams, cupcakes, finger sandwiches, tarts and other mouth-watering delicacies. The Conservatory can also be used exclusive events.
My partner and I are foodies and it was with much anticipation that we decided to try out the “Journey through the Cape” tasting menu and wine pairing in the Azure Restaurant.
The Twelve Apostles Hotel is the home of Chef Christo Pretorius. On my first visit to the Azure Restaurant I had eaten from Chris’s curry extravaganza and was thus aware of his skill.
This restaurant, like all the others, offers great views. As one would expect, with the name Azure Restaurant, the décor is dominated by blues and features a mixture of dark wood, marine art and beautifully set tables.
The menu started with Cape Atlantic Fruit de Mer which was paired with the delightfully light and fresh Bouchard Finlayson Sauvignon Blanc.
The dish included yellow fin tuna tartare, saffron cream muscles, Saldanha Bay oyster with an oyster and watercress emulsion and pickled sea lettuce spaghetti. This is very complex dish on which we spent much time exploring the variety of tastes.
The Sommelier visited our table prior to each serving and introduced us to both the dish and the wine and explained why they complimented each other. It was a pleasure to hear her tell the tale of each wine.
Next up was Rooibos Smoked Ostrich paired with a 2019 Cederberg Rose. This was one of my favourites as the blackberry vinaigrette and buchu herb oil added handsomely to the smokey ostrich.
I love duck but find few restaurants are able to serve this dish well. However, Christo’s crispy duck breast covered with roast duck broth and a confit of duck leg arancini was delicious. The 2017 Kaapzicht Cinsaut paired with this dish was my favourite wine of the evening. This stark, dry wine perfectly offset the richness of the duck.
The Morroccan Lamb Loin followed and was paired with Table Mountain Vineyards 2013 Night Sky. This is a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre and is unlike most South African wines. It had all our attention while we savoured the complexities of the nose and the palette.
South African Karoo lamb is some of the best lamb found anywhere in the world. The Karroo fauna on which the sheep feed are very similar to many of the best lamb garnishes and it is believed that these plants make Karroo lamb so wonderful.
Christo’s harissa barbeque glaze and spiced aubergine puree did the lamb proud.
Desert was an Apple Caramel Cheesecake paired with a Paul Cluver 2017 Riesling Late Harvest. What a delicious combination and a fantastic way to end an incredible meal.
Each item on the tasting menu can be ordered of the standard menu as can the wines.
My partner and I were replete in body, mind and soul, and retired happily to our room where we slept like the dead.
The next morning brought gale force winds and much needed rain. The storm originated somewhere over the Atlantic to the west and its first landfall was right on the doorstep of The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa.
I stood at my bedroom window and watched in awe as the massive sea broke against the rocks below. It seemed that everything about this hotel was dramatic.
Breakfast was served in the Azure Restaurant. You know you are in for a treat when there is champagne on ice and fresh oysters at the breakfast buffet daily. I indulged. In fact, this is a hotel where you must, of necessity, indulge!
To renew, revitalise or start your romantic relationship, visit www.12apostleshotel.com or call 021 437 9000 to make your reservation.
For more accommodation reviews click here.