“Okay Andy, just stand there with your back to the ocean and throw it!” I’m taking part in Tintswalo’s traditional farewell ceremony and General Manager Ryno is making sure I don’t mess it up. After all, throwing a stone over your shoulder and making a wish at the same time is a complicated business.
It’s not just any old stone, of course, it’s a beach pebble with a hand-painted message on it. Mine says may all your dreams come true, and, honestly, after staying at Tinstswalo Atlantic perhaps they already have.
It is an extraordinary place; almost invisible from the windy road around Chapman’s Peak Drive, the iconic mountain pass following the coast from Hout Bay to Noordhoek. If you look down closely, you just might spot Tintswalo hugging the beach at the base of the mountain under the famous Twelve Apostles.
This five-star boutique hotel with its eleven cabin suites is the classic rustic luxury hideaway. The only hotel within Table Mountain National Park, it is an oasis of fine dining and luxury living with unobstructed ocean views across to Hout Bay and Sentinel Rock. I’m right on Nature’s doorstep and loving it.
I’m staying in the Cousine Island Suite, a rustic homage to The Seychelles island of the same name. A turquoise and coral palette to match the sea, a varnished wooden floor and a WELCOME message made of shells on the ottoman at the foot of the king bed. More shells adorn the bathroom where a clutch of high-end toiletries patiently wait in the middle of his and her sinks. A curious find of a bucket in the shower had a practical explanation; to collect the cold water until it turns hot so housekeeping can use it to wash the floor. A wood burning heater sits idly in the corner fortunately unneeded this week. Two comfy armchairs face out to the ocean just beyond the decking. Talking of decking, a couple of hanging chairs dangle over the deck perfectly positioned to catch the sun. But now dusk is creeping in and I’m rewarded with a sunset that borders on emotional.
There is a sense of isolation and solitude here with just the ocean waves and my fellow guests for company. Although having said that, at certain times of the year whale and dolphin may well join the party making quite a crowd down here.
Fortunately, the isolation only lasts along as your stomach allows and before long I’m drawn to the main lodge for an aperitif and canapés before dinner. It reminds a little of the colonial architecture you find on African safari lodges, which is perhaps not surprising as another of Tintswalo’s family-owned properties is just that, adjacent to the Kruger Game reserve.
Executive Chef Guy Clarke’s menus are a celebration of South African food using locally sourced organic ingredients. The open plan kitchen makes for perfect theatre to watch the magic happen if you can bear to tear yourself away from the sights and sounds of the ocean lapping within touching distance. Tonight I’m exclusively watching the magic dust get sprinkled on my five-course tasting menu as its way too windy to sit out on the main deck.
Morning dawns on another impossibly sunny day. The wind has gone and the bay looks magnificent. After an epic breakfast, I spend some time searching the waves for dolphin but it seems they are unusually coy today. Instead, I stroll across the outdoor pool for a swim and snooze on one of the sunbeds. Far above me, the mountains stand like unimpressed silent sentinels. Well, they’ve seen it all before, haven’t they?
Reluctantly, I tear myself away from my natural retreat for an afternoon in Cape Town. It takes just 20 minutes to drive there from Tintswalo Atlantic and after a tour of the city sights, I’m back at the top car park eagerly waiting for my ride back down to Tintswalo’s luxurious embrace. Back in my Island Suite my bed is adorned with petals and there is an elephant made out of towels.
You need to know I am a hopeless romantic and this courtship has worked like a dream. I’m not ashamed to say I am officially in love.
All I need now is to master throwing a pebble and making that wish.
Tell me more about Tintswalo Atlantic Hotel
Tintswalo Atlantic Hotel Chapman’s Peak Drive, Hout Bay, Cape Town
Tel:+27 11 300 8888
Island Suites depending on season from ZAR 4,945 per person per night (c.£300) for 2 people sharing. Includes: Return airport transfers, accommodation, breakfast and Wi-Fi
High Season: 01 December 2017 – 30 April 2018, 1 September 2018 – 30 November 2018
Low Season: 1 May 2018 – 31 August 2018
Getting to Cape Town
Parking at London Heathrow