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by Eric Kater
New York, New York
April 26, 2004
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 room to see the crew of a cargo ship busying themselves just below. The waterfront is developed so there are malls and restaurants right on the harbor. I was worn out from the long flight from New York when I arrived in the evening so eagerly anticipated my fist spa treatment scheduled for the next morning. I opened the French doors in my room and stepped out onto the little balcony. The harbor waters reflected a sizable moon and the anchored ships stood like hulking ambassadors from exotic lands. For centuries sailors had rounded the Cape of Good Hope, making their way to this place.
The Cape Grace Hotel has 121 rooms, which are very spacious. The management goes the extra mile to give a personal touch: I really appreciated the fresh flowers and the assortment of books that were selected from the main library and placed in my room. Complimentary services include in-room gym equipment, a communications center that lets you get on the web, as well as access to a health club that is off the premises. In the afternoon, you can hang out in the library and sip a complimentary sherry or port.
Also complimentary is the amazing buffet breakfast, which truly is unsurpassed in quality and selection fresh squeezed juices like orange, grapefruit, guava, mango and litchi; assorted yoghurts and cereals, home made granola, hot oatmeal, with toppings such as nuts, sunflower seeds, toasted pumpkin seeds, and stewed fruits; a cavalcade of fresh fruit: cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, passion fruit, dates, raspberries, redcurrants, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, guavas, tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers.
Though fruit was the star, there was also smoked salmon, herring, a variety of hams, bresaola, salami, and assorted chesses. Like desert with breakfast? I do, so I chose fresh scones with whipped cream, followed by excellent South African champagne.
The hotel’s Bascule whiskey bar offers a selection over 400 whiskies, and wine cellar The wine cellar at the Cape Grace Hotel is devoted to South African wines, but does make an exception by including French Champagne along with some delightful local sparkling wines. The wines have been carefully selected to give the best representation of South Africa’s wine producing regions.
To see the hotel, go to its website.
From journal Cape Town: A Paradise Complete with a Serpent
April 20, 2004
The spa is located on the top floor of the hotel, providing dramatic views of Table Mountain, the city and the marina. On the day of a treatment, the spa sends down a robe, slippers, and appointment card with the name of the therapist. Thus attired, I walked into the spa, poured myself an orange juice, and waited for my therapist, Rosalia Cranfield, who happened to be the manager. Fortunately, for my indulgent breakfast, I was schedule for the Essential Facial, a treatment that includes a massage of the head and shoulders with African Xhosa beads.
After my treatment, I grabbed another orange juice and sat on the balcony of the spa, watching clouds drift over Table Mountain. The weather was warm and sunny. Sitting there reclined with my slippered feet in the air, my face tingling after being cleansed, toned, and moisturized, I confess I did not feel very much like Hemmingway in Africa.
It was with some trepidation that I reported to the hotel spa the flowing day for the African Cape Massage. My steady diet of wine and rich rood had me longing for salad and wary of my treatment, which I knew began with a circular massage of the stomach. This is a tender place for everyone, which maybe why the Koi San people considered it to be the central point of one’s being. It was certainly the tender point of my being that morning and was relieved when the therapist’s clockwise, circular movements moved onto the parts of my body less directly effected by the indulgence of the day before.
The massage medium used by my therapist was an infusion of shea butter and snowbush, a plant found only in the Western Cape. It is the first recorded essential oil distilled in Africa.
For a complete look at the treatments offered, go to: www.capegrace.com/spa/index_f.asp
July 23, 2001
You sit in the library with a glass of sherry or wine while you check in. They remember your name! Gift shop items are fairly priced. The biggest and most complete mini bar I've ever seen. Complete coffee and tea service in your room with fresh milk (in the fridge).
We had a standard room with far above average size, decor, luxury items and service. A few loft apartments have been added recently to the top of the hotel as demand for this hotel increased with the Conde Nast rating. There are a few suites.
Due to the exchange rate of the Rand, we paid about the same for this fine hotel as for a Marriott in the US. A full breakfast is included. Current rates of exchange make this luxury hotel a bargain for those with strong foreign currency.
This hotel is a popular booking for the premium price tour companies and up market cruise passengers either beginning or ending their cruises. However, the small size of this hotel makes it impossible for it ever to be crowded.
Internet service for guests includes modem plug-ins with high speed access in each bedroom.
The Cape Grace Hotel is on a 'quay'. That is a spit of land into the harbour. It is connected to the Victoria and Alfred Shopping centre by a small draw bridge. Security is very high although subtle. 54 security cameras in the area of the hotel. Remember when you the leave the hotel and the Victoria and Alfred shopping centre, you are in a big city so take your usual precautions. Although it was too cool during my visit for swimming or even dining outside, I could see that the pool is in a very attractive area with a fine view of the harbours and Table Mountain. May is the beginning of autumn in South Africa, but even so the weather is pleasing most of the time.
From journal Cape Town Often Remarkable