Cape Town Journals

Cape Town: A Paradise Complete with a Serpent

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A November 2003 trip to Cape Town by Eric Kater

Cape Grace Hotel Photo, Cape Town, South Africa More Photos
Quote: I have done enough Third World travel to realize that the cost of one night at the welcoming Cape Grace Hotel is more than a person living in the fast-growing shantytowns on the other side of Table Mountain might make in a year.

Cape Grace Hotel

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Hotel | "The Spa at Cape Grace"

Cape Grace Hotel Photo, Cape Town, South Africa
Quote:
The new spa at the Cape Grace draws its inspiration from Africa’s ancient peoples. The interior colors are warm and earthy, influenced by the role Cape Town played in the Spice Trade. Spices such as vanilla, paprika and saffron held in ostrich eggs are part of the décor. African flowers also play a big role in the experience: geranium oil is diffused into the air in the mornings and a barbital daisy floats in a bowl beneath each massage table. Geraniums are an indigenous plant known for their calming properties. The work of local artists, along with tribal art, adorns the walls. The spa has a strict "guests only" policy ensuring that people staying at the Cape Grace get the highest personal attention....Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 20, 2004

Cape Grace Hotel
One waterfront
Cape Town, South Africa
27 11 280-7300

Cape Grace Hotel

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Hotel

Quote:
The Cape Grace is a luxury boutique hotel that is relatively new, opening its doors in 1996, with an approach toward guests that is old school in a good way. There’s no showing off or even a hint of that snooty attitude so common today in many boutique hotels. The style is modern, elegant and, thankfully, unpretentious, and the staff genuinely warm and welcoming. Perhaps this is partly an aspect of Cape Town culture, having been isolated both by its geography and by the years of apartheid, the people take great pleasure engaging visitors from the outside world. The hotel sits on its own quay on the Victoria and Alfred waterfront. This is a working port which meant that I often looked out from my...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 26, 2004

Cape Grace Hotel
One waterfront
Cape Town, South Africa
27 11 280-7300

one.waterfront

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Restaurant | "One Waterfront"

Quote:
The standard hotel restaurant at the Cape Grace had not too long ago recreated itself as One Waterfront, setting the goal to be a destination in itself. This was my chance to try out the new menu created by Chef Bruce Robertson, which in addition to being tasty, turned out to be as visually pleasing as the restaurants modern decor. I decided to limit my ordering to dishes that were distinctly South African, so I began with oysters from the west coast. These, I must say, were exquisite—smooth, creamy, with a briny hint of the ocean. The oysters can also be ordered in a creative sushi version which come served with soya tomato concasse, and a lime and pesto aioli. Other starters I highly recommen...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 20, 2004

one.waterfront
Cape Grace hotel
Cape Town, South Africa 8002
21 410 7080

Steenberg

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Attraction | "Durbanville Hills and Steenberg Vineyards"

Steenberg Photo, Cape Town, South Africa
Quote:
I had only one day set aside to visit wineries, so my first stop was to the Durbanville Hills Winery located in the Durbanville region, which is only a short drive from Cape Town. This is a new operation designed for large production. The building, which houses both the winery and a large restaurant and tasting area, sits low on a hill with sleek, modern lines. A large balcony, which extends out from the dining room, affords a beautiful view of Table Bay and Table Mountain. A young couple was sitting there enjoying the sun and a gentle breeze blowing off the Atlantic Ocean ten miles away, as well as a bottle Sauvignon Blanc. I had the good fortune to have lunch with Martin Moore, the Durbanville...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 20, 2004

Steenberg
Off Ou Kaapseweg
Cape Town, South Africa 7945
+27 21 713 2211

Robben Island/Robben Island Museum

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Attraction | "Robben Island"

Robben Island/Robben Island Museum Photo, Cape Town, South Africa
Quote:
My conversation with Mary was a good preparation for my visit to the infamous Robben Island, the South African version of Alcatraz. Robben Island sits out in the Cape Town harbor and is accessible by catamaran ferries that run on the hour from Nelson Mandela Gateway at the Waterfront’s clock tower. Here is where Nelson Mandela spent most of his 27 years in prison. Escape was virtually impossible due to the fact that Robben Island sits 12 kilometers from the coast in waters that are both frigid and shark infested. Robben Island was originally a prison colony for rebellious slaves before it became he place the white rulers of South Africa sent anti-apartheid political prisoners. Today it is preser...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 20, 2004

Robben Island/Robben Island Museum
Table Bay
Cape Town, South Africa 8002
+27 (0)21 409 5100

Table Mountain

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Attraction

Table Mountain Photo, Cape Town, South Africa
Quote:
To experience Cape Town is to be cradled by earth, sky and sea. Table Mountain, so named because its top is a large plateau, rises 3520 feet above the center of the city. The mountain and its neighboring peaks, Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head, are part of the consciousness of the city in the way Corcovado is part of Rio de Janeiro. And like Rio, there are huge shanty towns on the outskirts on the city and beach culture is a big part of life. This is one of the prime tourist attractions in Cape Town, and so I was a bit reluctant to go, being one of those people who take pride in getting off the beaten track. The steep vertical climb of the cable car to the summit is no joy ride for those who are a...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 20, 2004

Table Mountain
Cape Town 7848
Cape Town, Western Cape 7848
00 27 21 7156136

The Lesson of Luxury

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Story/Tip

Quote:
Brace yourself, gentle traveler, for my week in Cape Town is a story of luxury. But I must tell you that luxury is something that I have always been uneasy with. I have done enough third world travel to realize that the cost of one night at the welcoming Cape Grace Hotel is more than a person living in the fast-growing shantytowns on the other side of Table Mountain might make in a year. Plus, this is South Africa, and the unsettling history found its way into my pleasure, which is only right. Cape Town is a port city, resting of a piece of land that sticks out of southwest Africa like a hangnail, culminating at the Cape of Good Hope. Cape Town came into being as a rest stop for ships plying the...Read More