Whether it’s the secluded setting of its leafy suburb, the low room-count, or the homey yet crisply dressed interiors, a stay at Kaap Mooi is like having your own Cape Town postcode (without all the paperwork and removal vans). For the refined fit-out, owner Christina Wiese looked to the city’s dynamic topography, with each of her boutique bolthole’s eight rooms themed around local landmarks such as Devil’s Peak, the gardens at Kirstenbosch – even a Robben-Island themed single (that’s thankfully nothing like a cell). Restful grounds and a pool encourage lingering, but the trump card of this Tamboerskloof address is that it puts both Table Mountain and the Waterfront in easy reach.
Lounge, pool, treatment room, nail bar, paid laundry service, WiFi throughout. In rooms: smart TV, air-conditioning, Nespresso machine, and bespoke bath products.
Our favourite rooms
For all its Cape Dutch artworks and the sizeable four-poster bed, we’re drawn to the Cape Winelands room for the private stoep, where you can drink in local sauvignon blanc and panoramas of Signal Hill. The ocean-themed decor and poolside location of the False Bay and Clifton pads offer that breeze-in-the-hair, toes-in-the-sand spirit without you having to leave the soft bubble of the hotel. And, the trio of options in Kaap Mooi’s cottage can be linked together for a home-from-home feel and oodles of space (bookable on request via your Smith travel specialist).
Secluded in the pristine gardens, there’s a modest, oblong pool with stepped entry, edged by loungers (open 8am–6pm).
A treatment room is available for massage therapies, plus there’s a nail bar for manis and pedis. On request, staff at Kaap Mooi can arrange yoga at a nearby studio.
This is a city of walking, both gentle and vertiginous, and the temperature rarely drops below double digits – a few Sunspel T-shirts will help to keep you cool in the South African heat.
Kaap Mooi doesn't have an alcohol licence, so if you're after a glass of wine to go with your lazy afternoon on the stoep, you'll need to supply your own.
The outdoor terrace, where the morning spread is further flavoured by the bucolic panoramas.
Relaxed and loose-fitting – there’s no need to dress up for breakfast.
Although the culinary set-up at Kaap Mooi addresses breakfast only, the first meal of the way is well catered for with coffee, tea and juice, plus a buffet comprising fresh fruit, salad, cold cuts, yoghurt and cereal. A la carte options include a Cape Town twist on the full English with bacon, grilled tomato, beef sausage and eggs cooked to order. Kaap Mooi is happy to provide vegan, vegetarian and halal options, too. Take a seat in the pared-back, monochrome lounge (a scheme that's gentle on early-morning eyes), or you can dine on the terrace that overlooks the gardens.
As well as lounging in the garden or on your balcony or stoep, you can take a cuppa to the hotel's smartly appointed lounge. If it's a glass of wine or cold beer you're after, some tactical shopping is required, as Kaap Mooi is not licensed for alcohol – although there’s always the bottle of sparkling that’s your Smith extra…
Breakfast hours are 7am until 10am, rolling back an hour (8am–11am) at weekends and on public holidays.
With a home-from-home feel where you're welcome to slink to the lounge with a coffee, there's no need for room service at Kaap Mooi.
Kaap Mooi is in residential Tamboerskloof, a suburb known for its enviable mix of art deco and Victorian architecture, upmarket boutiques, neighbourhood eateries, and its prime position at the nexus of Lion’s Head and Signal Hill.
Cape Town International Airport is a 90-minute taxi ride away. Airport transfers can be organised with the hotel, from around ZAR750 for up to two guests.
If you plan on getting behind the wheel, bear in mind that the hotel doesn't have a private car park. Parking spots are available on the street, but they can't be reserved in advance.
Worth getting out of bed for
It’s a little too easy to while away your trip within the comforting cocoon of Kaap Mooi, topping up on vitamin D by the pool, booking into the hotel’s treatment room to let a massage therapist run their hands over your knotted shoulders, like a potter working clay. But Cape Town, which blends natural wonders with a creative cultural scene, is too good to ignore. When in New York or Tokyo, you might get your bearings via high-rise structures, but here, the kilometre-high Table Mountain is the lodestar. If you’ve had your fill of the gut-bomb local delicacy that is bunny chow (thankfully rabbit-free) walk off the carb-fest with a three-hour hike to city’s most famous peak (go in the early morning so as to avoid the Canon-carriers); for those who’ve skipped the cross-trainer of late, take the cable-car up, an experience which feels as though you’re ascending into the heavens. Cultural highs await at Zeitz MOCAA, home to an extensive collection of contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora. Despite its position among the sanitised kitsch of the V&A Waterfront, it retains a raw, industrial feel courtesy of starchitect Thomas Heatherwick, who scooped out a grain silo to create over 100 exhibition spaces; on your visit, you may see Mary Evans’s large-scale, silhouette-inspired works; and Joël Andrianomearisoa’s black-silk-paper constructions. To make sense of it all, clear the mind and escape the tourist hordes, seek out Sea Point Pavilion, where the four saltwater pools will take you back to that blissed-out Slim Aarons state.
South Africa is a country of immense culinary diversity, much of its breadth captured in microcosm in Cape Town. Once a 1786 guardhouse, and later a hunting lodge, Salsify at the Roundhouse is a city classic that has built a reputation for its refined, seasons-driven fare by Luke Dale-Roberts and Ryan Cole: we recommend that you spring for the smoked springbok with porcini-and-goat’s-cheese mousse, and puffed sorghum, or dive for the poached langoustine with chive gnocchi, potato emulsion and spring truffle. The Black Sheep is an insider hangout where you’ll find bright young things and a chalkboard menu listing plates such as grilled kudu with thick-cut chips, green-bean salad and chimichurri; roasted kabeljou with sautéed potatoes, and pea-bacon vinaigrette, and a South-Indian coconut fish curry. If all goes your way and the stars align, you may find a free table at the Pot Luck Club, which serves up innovative international small plates (Japanese, Italian and Mexican among their influences) with mountain views.
The Cape winelands nurture more than 100,000 hectares of vineyards, with a reputation to rival Napa or Bordeaux. When you want a little respite from the country’s grape basket, head to the V&A Waterfront, where Cause Effect Cocktail Kitchen offers a remedy to the tannin talk. Its ethos is eco-focused, with an emphasis on closed-loop and local produce, and mixologists muddle-up sci-fi-looking orders that appear as though they’ve been taken from the Blade Runner props cupboard: the Salty Olive Drop features Caperitif, Ketel One vodka, artemisia-and-hibiscus bitters, and a green olive dipped in citrus salt. Tipples at the Gin Bar also sharpen the senses and widen smiles: their clear-spirited concoctions are best savoured in the Mediterranean-style courtyard.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this South African boutique stay and unpacked their bottles of Frazer Parfum and Okapi bags, a full account of their coastal city break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Kaap Mooi in Cape Town…
A small hotel that’s big on peace and privacy, Kaap Mooi’s calming tone is set the moment you walk through its well-groomed garden, home to a pergola-style archway and modest, private pool. With only eight bedrooms, this is an intimate, bed-and-breakfast-style seduction. Crisp navy-and-white or neutral-hued rooms are gently themed in homage to city life, from the botanical beauty of Kirstenbosch, to the cabana aesthetic and baked-earth palette of the Lions Head room. The Devil’s Peak room comprises a slanted ceiling that showcases sky-themed Fornasetti wallpaper – a nod to the folktale of a retired pirate whose smoking competition with the devil resulted in the cloud that sometimes lingers above Table Mountain. Original details, such as wooden beams and exposed stone, plus design pieces by Lucie de Moyencourt and photography by William Kentridge lend characterful touches. Spend your afternoons on the terrace, novel in hand, among the tranquil, well-tended gardens; lounge by the pool as if you’re in a Slim Aarons picture, or book into the treatment room for a restorative massage: a shopping spree on nearby Kloof Street or a trek up Table Mountain can wait another day…