Forget ‘all or nothing’; if One&Only Cape Town had a maxim, it may well be ‘all, and then some’. True to form, the brand’s Mother City outpost has dived headlong into the well of abundance. The result? A scaled-up urban stay that does nothing by halves. Spread across two private islands, the sprawling resort weaves through private waterways with a large, free form pool – the largest in the Southern hemisphere, that is – state-of-the-art spa and an organised programme of activities to keep little Smiths entertained. Soak up local culture at the in-house Melrose Art Gallery, tuck into Japanese cuisine with a Peruvian edge at Prajal Rana’s iconic Nobu restaurant or savour a taste of the country at the wine loft’s mezzanine tasting room with Oscar-worthy views across Table Mountain’s dramatic cliffs.
Get this when you book through us:
$100 credit per booking to be used at the bar and restaurants
11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from £569.86 (ZAR13,073), including tax at 15 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional government tax of ZAR40.00 per room per night on check-in.
Rates include breakfast; choose from a continental buffet and á la carte options. There’s also a coffee bar, a bloody mary station Cap Classique and a sweet corner for little ones.
On the first floor of the resort you’ll find the Melrose Gallery showcasing the work and ideas of pan-African contemporary artists, including six bold colourful paintings by Esther Mahlangu that perfectly capture the Cape’s coruscating essence.
At the hotel
Spa, fitness centre, kids’ club, gallery, wine studio, secure parking. In rooms: Free bottled water and fruit, minibar, TV, Charlotte Rhys bath products.
Our favourite rooms
The Island Superior suites are a great choice for families and couples alike with either one king-size bed or two queens, easy access to the infinity pool and the option to double-up with interconnecting rooms. If you’re looking to splurge, you can’t do much better than the Lion's Head Penthouse that features four bedrooms, indoor and outdoor living/dining space, and an expansive furnished patio with unbeatable views of Table Mountain.
A tropical enclave in the heart of the city, the main, freeform pool is located on one of the resort’s two private islands. The infinity edge twists around a palm-flanked deck of sun loungers and shaded trellis pavilions where you can get salads and sliders, beers and ciders ordered straight to your private cabana. For something a little more high-energy, head to the resort’s private waterways where you can paddle-board your way through the afternoon.
Surrounded by private waterways, the exclusive spa island has twelve treatment rooms and offers personalised treatments undertaken by hand selected ESPA therapists. The menu is expansive. Choose from Biologique Recherche anti-aging facials, hypnotic soundscape experiences and sleep rituals, or opt for one of the signature treatments which evokes a strong sense of place through the use of indigenous herbs and techniques. The spa garden is a fine spot to connect with nature after a sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi circuit, and if all that unwinding has left you parched, grab a smoothie (or something stronger, we’re not here to judge) at the relaxation lounge. And for days when leaving the comfort of your suite seems unduly ambitious, let the massage come to you – there’s a limited in-room treatment menu available upon request. In the neighbouring Fitness Centre, guests have access to state-of-the-art weights and cardio equipment alongside spacious studios for yoga and pilates. Book a class (yoga, kickboxing, kettlebell, bootcamp), or opt for a personal training session with one of the resort's roster of professionals who double as qualified mountain guides should you encounter the urge to scale the Table.
Bring a trusty pair of walking shoes and a good appetite for sampling the goods of all three restaurants.
The hotel is fairly accessible with ramps in all common areas, elevator access and a selection of rooms with specially designed bathrooms. In restaurants, reading glasses are available for guests with vision impairments.
Very Welcome. KidsOnly club caters for little ones aged four to eleven while teenagers can take advantage of more grown-up activities like personalised fitness programmes. Babysitting is available with 12 hours notice, rates start at R370 per hour.
The two-bedroom suites are ideal for families with little ones. For parents with older children, booking two interconnecting Island Superior suites offers a little extra privacy.
There’s no crèche, but there is a babysitting service available upon request; twelve hours' notice is needed and there's a three-hour minimum per booking. Rates start from R379 per hour and increase to R415 after midnight and R740 on South African public holidays, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Two babysitters are required for bookings of more than four children or more than two children under 48 months old. Cancellations made within two hours of booking, as well as no-shows, will be charged R758.
Little ones have a space that’s all their own in our 100-square-metre clubhouse and exclusive garden – the only one of its kind among Cape Town resorts. For kids aged four to eleven, there’s a fully supervised programme of activities which includes arts and crafts, movies, video games, gardening and outdoor games. Teenagers can also take part in a specialised fitness club with age-appropriate spa treatments.
The main pool is seasonally staffed by a lifeguard from 6am to 8pm.
There’s a children’s menu available in all the restaurants, as well as a range of snacks and purees available via room service.
Babysitting is available with 12 hours notice and there’s a three hour minimum charge per booking. Rates start from R379 per hour, and increase to R415 after midnight and R740 on South African public holidays, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
No need to pack
The hotel has a lot of items on hand: changing mats, baby food, child-friendly snacks and more.
One&Only Cape Town partners with a range of local initiatives whose shared focus is on the environmental and social wellbeing of the region. These include Cape Leopard Trust, a not-for-profit organisation which acts as an active predator conservation working group and Two Oceans Aquarium who actively rescue, rehabilitate and release stranded and distressed sea turtles. In 2021, the hotel received EarthCheck Silver for its sustainability initiatives. The hotel has seen a year-on-year improvement in its waste reduction. Through its wastewater treatment plant, alongside smaller but no less effective measures, One&Only Cape Town has facilitated a reduction in municipal water consumption by over 60,000 litres per day.
Each of the restaurant’s al fresco areas offer unobstructed views of Table Mountain or the neighbouring marina, but for views of a different kind, pinch a pew at the sushi counter at Nobu.
Opt for statement jewellery and block colours at Ochre and breezy kaftans at Isola. For Nobu, slip into something silky and sultry.
Sample contemporary South African fare atOchre, a vibrant affair that celebrates the rich flavours of the region in a space bedecked with warm colours that echo the region's staples; turmeric, cinnamon and paprika. Head chef Jacques Swart has devised a menu of updated Cape Malay classics – the Peri Peri beef omelette served with spicy mince, feta, caramelised onion and sundried tomato is a must. His culinary craftsmanship can also be enjoyed atIsola, the resort’s casual poolside option. Open from October to April each year the laid-back luncheria serves a litany of light bites including fresh salads, poke bowls and wood-fired flatbreads. Up for a sun soaked breakfast? Ask for the luxury floating breakfast tray of morning bites and bubbles to be enjoyed mid dip. Finally, at the iconic ground-floor Nobu restauraunt, you’ll find Michelin masterchef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa and his team dishing out their signature Japanese-Peruvian cuisine. Start with sushi and tempura before moving onto lobster wasabi pepper or Chilean sea bass with dashi ponzu. Dessert is a heartbreaking choice between silky Mochi ice cream, whiskey cappuccino, passion fruit brûlée or – for the sweetest of teeth – a chocolate bento box paired with a full-bodied local red.
Famed for its decadent afternoon tea, Vista Bar & Lounge can be found at the heart of the large glazed lobby, framed by a backdrop of Table Mountain. Serving chilled tapas and tipples by day, come sunset the space transforms into a vibrant hub with live music, cocktails and an outdoor deck for after-hours schmoozing. From 2pm to 5pm tuck into a tiered stack of sweet and savoury snacks like buttermilk scones and other picturesque pastries, all paired with Nigiro loose leaf tea or Cap Classique bubbles. The cocktail menu is awash with inventive concoctions; tend to your taste buds with the signature Pincushion, made with Tanqueray 10, grapefruit, pineapple juice, lime and egg whites. Partial to a grape? Oenophiles are well catered for at the tri-level wine loft, which features a curated collection of over 5,000 bottles. There’s a special focus on acclaimed and undiscovered South African vintages; have head sommelier Luvo Ntezo give you a tasting tour, create your own signature blend in the Wine Studio or take your vintage Vergelegen out on the terrace.
Breakfast at Ochre runs between 6am and 11am, Isola serves lunch between 11am and 6pm and dinner at Nobu is from 6pm to 11pm. Vista bar pours its last Pinotage at 11pm.
Appetites are appeased 24-hours a day with a room service menu offering everything from breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks with a child-friendly menu available, too.
Perched on the Victoria and Albert Waterfront with prime views of Table Mountain, the hotel is perfectly placed for strolls along the marina and conveniently close to Cape Town’s best design shops, bars and restaurants.
Cape Town’s international airport is 25 minutes away by car. The hotel can arrange transfers for up to 15 people, prices vary.
Most of Cape Town’s most sought-after sights are within walking distance of the hotel, though if you plan on exploring the surrounding countryside, a car will come in handy. There’s secure 24-hour underground parking at the resort, free for One&Only guests.
Worth getting out of bed for
The Victoria and Albert Waterfront is only a short stroll away, one of South Africa's top shopping destinations with over 450 retailers to flit around and a smattering of restaurants to boot. It’s also home to Two Oceans Aquarium, where you can say hello to the city’s maritime population of octopuses, rays, turtles and ragged-tooth sharks, as well as the Silo District, a cultural hub of cutting-edge art and architecture. Pop into Zeitz MOCAA, an eight-floor former grain silo turned museum of contemporary African art, where light pours in between curved concrete lines courtesy of British architects Heatherwick Studio. Green Point Urban Park makes a fine spot for a picnic with lush biodiverse gardens, wetlands chock-full of winged wildlife and stand-out views of Table Mountain and Lion’s Head. Speaking of which, the hotel organises hiking excursions to each, led by a seasoned mountain guide. Don’t fancy walking? The Aerial Cablewaywill hoist you 3,500ft above the city in less than five minutes. Start the weekend off right at Oranjezicht city farm market, where local producers pedal fresh bread, dairy and artisanal products before catching a boat to Robben Island, a military site turned museum which offers visitors a glimpse into the city's sombre political history. And for laid back days under the South African sun, walk among penguins at Boulders Beach, or get horizontal on the white sands of the Cape’s many blue flag beaches.
Though it may be hidden within the winding roads of Silvermist estate,La Colombe is no stranger to the limelight with a serious string of accolades under its belt. A consistent resident of S.Pellegrino's World’s 50 Best list, this fine dining heavyweight hovers above the Constantia valley rolling out a French-Asian tasting menu of effortlessly balanced pickings such as truffled cherry parfait and Malay style snoek. Closer to home – and housed in an old biscuit mill – The Pot Luck Club is the place to see and be seen; a ballad of wood and brick with all the airy elegance of an NYC loft. With Luke Dale-Roberts at the helm, the menu is a pick-n-mix of sharing plates inspired by mid-century American supper clubs. You’ll find dishes like smoked beef fillet with black pepper and truffle café au lait sat beside fish sliders, homemade breadboards and peanut butter bombs. In the same building, you’ll also encounter The Test Kitchen Fledgelings, a training ground for the next generation of Cape Town’s culinary innovators.
A local institution, Jason Bakery has been satisfying Cape Town’s collective sweet tooth since 2007. Come here for 66 per cent sourdough rye, Jewish challah on Fridays and their signature ‘doughssant’ – a hybrid donut/croissant creation whose flavour changes by the week. Less saccharine though just as tempting, TheStrangers Club serves a wholesome menu of smoothie bowls and salads in a namaste-worthy setting of whitewashed walls, upcycled wood and shaded, leafy courtyards.
Names can be deceiving, and Wale Street’s Gin Bar is here to prove it. Accessed via a chocolate shop, this secret saloon also hosts a beer bar, wine bar, cocktail bar and separate, old-world bubble bar. Naturally, there’s also a lot of gin. Tjing Tjing Rooftop bar, meanwhile,brings Japanese futurism to an antique attic space, where moody lighting, subtle subcultural nods and a not-so-subtle scarlet red shrine bar are animated by aloof electro beats. Take a sake on the outdoor terrace, or sink into brooding black leather with a glass of Tjing Tjing’s own house wine.
With vineyards to visit, mountains to climb and menus to devour, it was going to be essential we packed as much into each day, as was physically possible.
Which is why Mr Smith and I arrived at One & Only Cape Town in a clapped out Uber, fresh (read: hot and sweaty) from the early morning Table Mountain scrum. Ticking off one of the great Wonders of the World before lunch felt like a great idea before checking in, although on arrival we questioned if we should have bothered.
Because right there before us, in all its magnificent glory, was Table Mountain. Bags forgotten about (dutifully whisked away by concierge) we found ourselves mouths agape in the lobby. Somehow, they’d managed to get all of its best sides, framing it with floor to ceiling glass.
In fact the only thing obstructing the magnificent view was the aptly named Vista Bar (headed up by Bryan Pieterson, owner of Purl London, Marylebone, a frequent haunt of ours when back home). Needing a moment to take it all in, we crossed the monochrome carpet – not zebra print as the hotel manager pointed out, but the topography of the mountain before us – and happily took a pew.
We’re handed a ‘Watcher’ cocktail menu, named after the Xhosa legend behind the rocky formation before us. Mythology dictates that a huge fight broke out between the gods, and the Watchers – North, East, South and West – were created to protect the land. I paraphrase but there’s cocktails to drink.
Staff greet us warmly, raising their hand to their heart with every interaction (something we find ourselves infectiously doing in return). We give our order.
‘No, you are wrong’. Is the cheerful reply. Erm, ‘scuse me? ‘No, you’re more of a Fire (a rum-based, pineapple concoction with edible sand), and you sir, you’re Sea’, our waiter says with a sassy chuckle.
‘Erm, ok then’, we laugh in return. Moments later our ‘chosen’ cocktails arrive, all theatrical foam and flammable meringue. We can’t say we’re disappointed, even if it wasn’t what we’d originally had in mind. Perhaps I should get him to cast an eye over my plans for the weekend…
Not wanting to waste another second, Mr Smith and I are shown around the hotel – as without a mini tour, we’d definitely be at risk of missing out. The property is spread over two islands, connected by a private waterway (where you can paddleboard or jump on a sea taxi over to the main waterfront, should the mood take you).
Perfect for those wanting to go full hermit, you’ll find a huge outdoor pool, state-of-the-art spa (complete with ESPA-trained therapists), an art gallery and a wine room where the in-house sommelier will help you create your own blend. He’ll even keep your ‘recipe’ on file, should you need an extra case shipped back home when you run out. Oh, and Africa’s only Nobu also happens to be one of the hotel’s restaurants.
I had not accounted for this when planning our South African itinerary and I can already feel the Fomo rising. Mr Smith, always one for an easy life, looks longingly at the day beds. I must admit, they do look tempting, and I would like to see the hotel’s otter. But onwards we must go, we have a lunch reservation at nearby Pot Luck Club (apparently the Thai green curry martinis are divine) and we can’t be late.
Back at base, and fully acquainted with our roomy room, I rest my head for one minute, max, and the stupidly comfy, giant bed takes hold. Damn it! I could have been rustling up a cocktail from the generously stocked mini bar, or luxuriating in the egg-shaped bath.
Why is this hotel so adamant at throwing our plans off kilter? I berate myself, reminding Mr Smith that there simply isn’t time to sleep, who looks at me like I’ve lost the plot.
Determined to make up for lost time, I vow we’ll just have a quick breakfast before heading out for the day. And then I see the size of the breakfast buffet. It’s surely the biggest on the continent? There’s South African sparkling wine, oysters and a pick ‘n’ mix station, and in addition, we’re offered a menu with food cooked to order.
Never one to turn down a local speciality, I order the bhisto and avocado on rye. Not to be confused with the gravy, a generously seasoned tomato salsa arrives, accompanied with vibrant beetroot hummus, feta, spinach and a crispy fried egg – heaven. Mr Smith’s peri peri beef omelette was equally divine, albeit blow-your-head-off spicy.
Looking around, I finally admit defeat. This more-is-more hotel doesn’t deserve to be used so sparingly, even if just outside its gates there is an endless list of places to explore. A mini resort within a city, it was about time I leaned into everything it was trying to offer.
We’ll just have to arrange a return trip to mop up the rest of the must-visit restaurants, beaches and shops I’d had on my radar. Looking relieved, Mr Smith orders another bloody mary and hands me his Amex to book the flights.