Spectacular sunsets, breath-taking mountain views and a gorgeous escape even for Capetonians, the 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa is the ultimate retreat.
The 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa is situated on the Atlantic Seaboard, along one of the most beautiful ocean drives in the world. It is close to the trendy restaurants, bars and lounges of Camps Bay, comparable with Miami for their palm trees and beautiful beaches, this is definitely a ‘vacation’ suburb in Cape Town – where celebrities make a point of returning on a regular basis.
Built to showcase its main highlight, which is being positioned to have a spectacular 360° view, The 12 Apostles Hotel is a surprisingly large hotel with 70 rooms, a spa, a restaurant, a lounge, a rock pool area, conference facilities and a picture perfect wedding venue.
Commitment to quality
Our room, a luxury suite with both a view of the mountainside and the ocean is testament to their commitment to quality. A king-sized bed, a private fresh air balcony, and the hotel’s natural surroundings give a sense of being at a wellness retreat.
Yet this is all close enough to Hout Bay and the V&A Waterfront to give guests the best of both worlds. The luxury suite offers a flat screen, a bar fridge, ample cupboard space, as well as shower and bath facilities.
The quality of the linens, lamp stands and décor puts the 12 Apostles a cut above the rest. There is a nautical feeling to this hotel, giving guests the feeling of being on a luxury ship.
Looking over the expanse of water from your room, you can see why it would be suitable for people wanting to get the cruise liner experience without feeling seasick!
The turndown service makes a lovely impression, with a candle in the bathroom, gowns laid out on the comfortable bed, slippers by the bedside and neatly adorned with a good night chocolate on each pillow with a tiny customised photo on it.
Having the television on is a clever touch to add life to the room, which also includes a DVD player and an array of classic DVDs to choose from.
Exceptional culinary delights
The hotel’s Azure Restaurant is world class, with executive chef Christo Pretorius offering a vivid menu with many options ranging from classic to creative.
The menu is updated seasonally and includes a selection of founder Beatrice Tollman’s favourite dishes. These are taken from her memoir, A Life of Food – a cookbook made up of recipes collected during her travels and from personalities she has met over the years.
A tasting menu gives diners the opportunity of sampling a little bit of almost everything, and I was happy to discover that they cater beautifully for vegans.
Most of the baked goods served are made in Azure’s kitchen, making the breadboard selection a highlight when accompanied by peppadew humus or salmon cream cheese.
We were treated to delightful amuse bouche
My husband’s was onion soup with a sprinkle of nuts, which made him feel as if the chef was reading his mind. He was equally pleased with his main – their signature steak perfectly cooked and alongside some shoestring fries. He also had a yellowfin tuna starter, which was beautifully prepared, and was an enjoyable delicacy for him, even though he doesn’t normally eat sushi.
Toying with the idea of having three scoops of honeycomb, coffee and chocolate ice cream for dessert, he decided to be a bit more adventurous and went with the Chocolate & Cherry – a chocolate torte accompanied by cherry jam, manjari crème, sour cherry jelly and almond and cocoa crumble.
Chef Christo and his team did a wonderful job creating exquisite looking culinary masterpieces for both of us.
My amuse bouche was a delectable ensemble of roasted vegetables, and my cauliflower steak main course was sublime. It comprised a perfectly fluffy yet crispy baked cauli-steak with an enchanting accompaniment of delicately chopped roast butternut, shiitake mushrooms, baby leeks and puff pearl barley in a chimichurri dressing.
I chose the Caramelised Pineapple for my sweet treat – compressed pineapple, roast pineapple and mint sorbet, caramelised nuts, forest berry compote and strawberry and mint salad.
Warm, romantic dining atmosphere
The restaurant caters for various dining options, from romantic two-seat dining to larger festive gatherings. It has a warm ambience, blending old world design elements with something new. While somewhat overcast, the sunset was still special and will certainly appeal to those able to dine outside on the large deck on warm summer nights.
While it was dark outside, the plush seating and elegant table setting made the fine dining experience all the more worthwhile. While the offering is high-end, the service and setting make for a cosy evening of tasty cuisine and sweet delights.
Highly trained, attentive staff
The staff are very friendly. From a warm welcome from Lilly, who gave us a tour of the hotel accommodating our specific needs from bedding to dietary requirements, the 12 Apostles adds a touch of class through its courteous and helpful staff. Always ready and willing to serve, we got the impression that is not only a place staff can be proud of working at, it’s one that enjoys working at too.
Private cinema available
The hotel also has its own private cinema which is available for birthday parties and has several screenings of older films during the day for guests.
If you happen to find yourself on your own in the cinema, they give you a choice of film or even TV series – someone was watching Game of Thrones when we walked past. While we didn’t get an opportunity to enjoy a cinema experience at the 12 Apostles along with its complimentary candy, popcorn and milkshakes, we’ll definitely make a point of doing that on our next visit.
We were lucky enough to have a spa treatment included as part of this stay, which found us in the 12A Spa.
After walking through the neat reception area, you find yourself crossing a bridge over an interior rock pool area not unlike the Cango Caves. Having recently been for a physio treatment, I requested to swap out my back, neck and shoulder massage for a manicure.
My lovely therapist, Zama, included a superbly beneficial hand and arm massage. The experience was wonderfully relaxing.
My husband also enjoyed his 45-minute treatment, and went on to spend some time in the heated pools, rasul and amenities. His massage was quite firm, focused on the back and therapeutic as Jackie released some knots in his back.
Once again, customisation is critical, giving patrons a choice of the pressure of the massage, and the type of spa music, enabling you to really make the hotel experience one’s own.
Bespoke attention and treatments
This feeling of customisation is an important element of the 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa, which is carried through the entire establishment. Feeling looked after and cared for, there’s a drive to give guests exactly what they want, and where better than overlooking a world-class seascape.
Warm, courteous and always helpful, we had the impression that everyone is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that our hotel stay was comfortable, relaxing and pleasant. From its cruise liner feeling to its hospitable staff, this is a hotel where day visitors will have a taste of its majestic views while stay-in guests will be able to truly soak up the feeling of luxury and decadence.
If you really want to spoil yourself or a loved one, a stay at the 12 Apostles is highly recommended, a place that’s so beautiful you don’t want to leave.
With shuttles from Hout Bay and back, and into the V&A Waterfront on the hour, it’s one of those places where you can simply be dropped off for a week and not have to worry about transport.
Satisfying indulgences, they also have gym facilities and fynbos walking paths for those wanting to have some fresh air and good exercise. We were amazed at their accommodation, always ready to assist and maintaining a very social feeling and sense of cosiness. The resident cat makes it feel like a home away from home and the hypnotic beauty of its natural surroundings will make sure that visitors repeat the experience.
Clarens, Free State Province
Disclosure: All4Women asked 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa to send us the product featured in this article for review purposes.