The Cape Grace, Waterfront: The Lowdown

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Confession time- the first time we visited the Cape Grace, we weren’t that excited about it. Sure, it had a lovely location and staff were really friendly, but we didn’t quite “get” it. And then we stayed there. It is, without question, one of the loveliest 5* hotels in Cape Town.

What’s the Cape Grace really like?

We’ll bore you about the rooms in a minute. First- what impressed us most about the Cape Grace was the service. The staff have a hugely can-do attitude: requests for jogging routes, shopping suggestions and a bowl of rice for a damp mobile phone were all met with cheerful smiles and helpful advice. Even by Cape Town hotel standards this was impressive, and for us, this is what makes the Cape Grace stand head and shoulders above the rest.

Now- back to the rooms. There are 120 at the Cape Grace, though it never felt at all busy or crowded during our stay. Even the “simplest” luxury rooms are sparkling clean, spacious and have lovely views. It’s that sort of effortless luxury where the things you might think you need are already taken care of. There’s a safe that actually fits a laptop, bathroom products that make you feel spoilt and wifi that is silently efficient. The larger and more expensive rooms have slightly nicer views or a little outdoor space, but honestly, it would be very difficult to go too far wrong here.

Food was great- given the astonishing array of excellent chefs in Cape Town we think you’d be crazy not to eat out a fair bit, but the meals we ate in house were excellent. We could have spent much of the day sitting at breakfast, but sadly the life of an Extraordinary Africa safari-planner does involve some work. Needless to say, there was an excellent selection of cold breakfast (Bircher muesli and the bread selection got our top billing) and hot to order- we didn’t quite eat our way through the entire menu, but we’d certainly be prepared to give it a go. By night, there’s a rather lovely tucked away whisky bar, which impressed even our Edinburgh-resident reviewer.

When we’re in a city we’re often out exploring, however it’s always useful to know what you have on hand at the hotel. Here, there’s a gym, spa and two internet computers if you come without your own. There’s also a rather lovely rooftop pool.

Families at the Cape Grace:  

Not all 5* hotels are family friendly, but the Cape Grace does a pretty good job of it. At bed time there are gingerbread men and African stories for smaller guests, and babysitters are on hand. If your children need a familiar link to their other lives there’re DVDs and the Cartoon network on tap, and if they need it, an Xbox can be delivered to your room. And if you’d really rather they didn’t have this? Well, we won’t tell them if you don’t….

What can I do at the Cape Grace? 

One of the nicest things about the Cape Grace is the area it sits in- the Waterfront feels incredible safe and friendly, and it’s easy to walk to so many places from here. This makes it an excellent option for first-timers in Africa to use as a base for exploring. There is a driver who can take you around locally, but make sure to book him in advance as he’s often busy.  You have the whole of Cape Town on your doorstep, but our favourite activities in the immediate vicinity would probably be pottering: have a glass of rosé in the sunshine at lunchtime, take a jog along the waterfront or (sensibly taking our advice and booking in advance) catch the boat out to Robben Island.

Giving back at the Cape Grace:

Five star hotels and responsible tourism aren’t always natural bedfellows, but the Cape Grace does its bit, with an eye to its ecological footprint (re-using grey water and recycling kitchen oil for bio diesel stood out amongst many other measures) and giving back to the community. They support a home for 10 children awaiting foster care in SOS Children’s village, and supports micro-businesses for disadvantaged women. Lastly, there’s a very strong policy of training and supporting their own staff, and it shows- we had nothing but cheerful smiles the entire time we stayed.

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