Be warned before you choose to stay at the Cape Grace Hotel - you might find you can't tear yourself away from it and don't see anything else of Cape Town! The Cape Grace is arguably the most upmarket hotel in the V&A Waterfront, and when our MSC Sinfonia cruise was delayed we immediately veered over to it for breakfast (it's situated quite close by to E-Berth, so is perfect for an overnight stay before your cruise from Cape Town). Here's a photo of the Cape Grace Hotel with its red bricks, taken from the deck of the MSC Sinfonia cruise ship. In front of the hotel you can see the dry dock and in the top right of the photo is a piece of the Cape Town Stadium. Yes, the hotel is in the midst of a working harbour!
Even though we weren't staying at the Cape Grace the staff were supremely helpful - from the doorman to the waitresses - they all went an extra mile, before we even realised there was an extra mile!
18 January 2013. The Cape Grace is voted the 2nd best hotel in the world, on Tripadvisor (behind the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai).
8 January 2013. The Cape Grace is rated the 2nd best hotel in South Africa, in the Condé Nast Gold List 2013
The hotel is perfectly situated for day trips within Cape Town; like funsunzi at Clifton, walks along the Sea Point promenade, going up Table Mountain, a boat trip to Robben Island and exploring the V&A Waterfront.
The photo below shows why you want a room which is looking south over the marina and Table Mountain. The view of Signal Hill isn't too shabby either. Keep an eye on the hill at 12h00 to watch the smoke rise from the noon day gun (and hear it) - Cape Town has the longest continuous tradition of firing a noon-day gun (originally for the ships in the bay to keep time) - it's been going since 1806.
This isn't a great photo of the Nedbank building at the V&A Waterfront. It's difficult to take good photos looking north from the Cape Grace, as it's into the sun and you don't have the marina and the mountains as background. However, I've included it so that readers can get an idea of what their view would be like if they booked at north-facing room at the hotel.
There are rooms with interconnecting doors which are ideal for families. Each room has a genuine antique in it.
One of the joys of the Cape Grace are the beautiful lounges. Newspapers are provided, and it feels peaceful to sit and read the paper, work on your laptop or read a book; in this ornate environment. The lounges are not child-friendly, and whilst I rate the Cape Grace highly I think there are other hotels which are better choices if you've got toddlers in tow.
There was a huge range of options at breakfast (for illustration only, prices will have changed).
The view from the restaurant is pretty decent.
The pool at the Cape Grace has plentiful sun loungers,chairs and shade provided by large sun umbrellas. The Cape Grace pool is heated to 23 degrees throughout the year.
The Bascule Whisky, Wine and Cocktail Bar is in the corner between the pool and the restaurants, but slightly lower than them. It's got a massive collection of wines, with the wines stored in a temperature controlled underground area. It has a large collections of Whiskies (490 different selections) - Wild about Whisky in Dullstroom claims to have the largest collection in the Southern Hemisphere (just over 1000 selections).
I never used her services, but I understand that the Cape Grace's concierge is very good at what she does, and can assist guests with up to date information regarding restaurants, events in and around Cape Town, booking of tours and more.
If you're able to tear yourself from the hotel for a little while, a 10 minute walk from the Cape Grace allows you to see a lot at the V&A Waterfront.
This is not a swimming pool to cool off in (with seals) after a few drinks! The V&A Waterfront is next to a working dockyard - here's the Robinson Dry Dock, on the right of which is a blue warehouse inside which is a craft market. Behind the dry dock is the aquarium, a favourite with the kids. The Robinson Dry Dock was completed in 1882, making it the oldest still-functioning dry dock in the world, and is named after a governor of the Cape Colony, Sir Hercules Robinson.
Take a walk around the Cape Grace and you'll see Elliot the Cratefan, who was built out of some 42,000 red Coca-Cola crates for the Fifa World Cup 2010. He was meant to be dismantled in 2011...but nobody quite got round to it.
This drawbridge connects guests from the Cape Grace Hotel to the main part of the V&A Waterfront, and allows boats to enter and leave the marina.
It's easy to see the Den Anker Belgian Restaurant from outside the Cape Grace, but it's a bit of a walk to get to it.
As you cross the drawbridge and pass Elliot the Cratefan, you see the Alfred Mall, so named because it's next to the Alfred Basin (and where the A comes from in V&A Waterfront, the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront).
Here's a side-on view of the reception area at the Cape Grace, with a beautiful picture of Table Bay as it was several hundred years ago.
From Europcar at Cape Town International Airport it's some 21km, a 20 minute drive if it's not rush hour, to the Cape Grace Hotel.
As you sit in your hotel room it's interesting to identify the ships you can see.
The Cape Grace offers a complimentary chauffeur service to in-house guests which can be used to take guests to within 10km of the hotel. They have 2 vehicles and their use is subject to availability, so do book in advance.
Written by Rob Baker