Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront; trendy bars, eateries, eclectic shops. And tourists. Lots of them. Much like London’s Docklands, once derelict shipyards have been transformed into one of Cape Town’s most popular attractions.
Amid all this hustle and bustle there are hotels of course. But honestly, is staying in the middle of all this really an attractive option? There is an alternative and it comes far enough away from the madding crowd to be a serious contender.
The Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront is the ship-like structure perched at the far end of the Cape Town Waterfront area, just a short walk up Beach Road. The nautical theme is fully justified because you can’t get much closer to the Atlantic without diving in. The waves are literally lapping below the wooden decking of the restaurant and pool area. As in keeping with most of the Radisson Blu brand, the interior is high contemporary Scandinavian with plenty of glass to let the light stream in from everywhere. The sense of understated luxury living lies in the DNA.
David gives me a warm welcome as I arrive. He’s from guest relations, on guard duty for any confused guests found wandering around the lobby unattended. He discreetly guides me to the check-in and assures me he will never leave my side until I’m safely ensconced in my room. It’s flattering attention (as it should be for a five-star hotel) and a box ticked from me.
Upstairs, my two bedroom suite is a welcome surprise upgrade and doesn’t disappoint on any level. The lounge is a large airy space with plenty of comfy seating and a dining area. And there’s a tidy kitchen area too, very practical for longer stays. Two bedrooms, both equally enjoyable, are split between two luxuriously appointed bathrooms. But for me, it’s the balcony that is the clincher. A large outdoor space directly over the crashing ocean far below. It is a magnificent sea view made all the better with a glass of wine and a memorable sunset.
Back downstairs I wander into Tobago’s for dinner out on the deck with nothing but the Atlantic for company. The grilled peach parma ham, blue cheese mousse, candied pecan nuts and mango purée was a memorable starter (ZAR135 / £8). I was almost seduced by the coriander crusted hake fillet with shitake mushrooms, soba noodles, green bean purée and bean sprouts (ZAR 195/ £11.50) for the main. However, common sense prevailed after a tip from my waiter, and I went for crisp pork belly with beer-infused gravy, parsnip mousse, sautéed asparagus and radish, diced apple and wholegrain mustard mayonnaise. (ZAR 240/ £14)
After dinner, I stroll into the Waterfront and enjoy a nightcap amongst the tourist throng. There’s no shortage of people watching opportunities although bridge access to other parts of the waterfront is limited so there a few bottlenecks to be aware of.
Back to the peace and quiet of the hotel now (there is a regular shuttle back and forth if you need it) and even though David has retired for the night, his replacement is just as attentive.
When I get back the suite my biggest problem is deciding which bedroom to use.
A new day dawns and the breakfast buffet down at Tobago’s is truly an epic feast. Breads, cheeses and deli choices adorn an island counter whilst top of the hot menu choices is South African township favourite chakalaka, made with spicy onions, tomatoes and beans.
The Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront is a perfect oasis; near enough to the Waterfront to walk to, but far enough away to enjoy some luxury living and an unobstructed ocean view without the crowds. it is also a perfect place to camp if you are joining a cruise as the port is very close by. I am using it myself when I join Ponant’s Le Lyrial ship in a few days.
As for me, I’m looking forward to another night and another sunset on my balcony. I might even use the other bedroom tonight.
Tell me more about The Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront
The Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront, Beach Road, Granger Bay, Waterfront, 8002 Cape Town South Africa
Tel: +27 21 441 3000 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rooms from ZAR 3,500 (£200) Special deals are available including lower rates for Radisson Rewards members.
Getting to Cape Town
Parking at London Heathrow