It’s a fact. Cape Town is easily the finest holiday destination in Africa, offering access to an unparalleled diversity of world class entertainment, scenery, shopping, wineries and restaurants.
At its centre lies the development of the V&A Waterfront which has seemingly exploded in that last few years, even though it seemed bulging at the seams. More shopping and global brands, more entertainment and world-class events, new hotels, a new Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art, the new Silo precinct, and attracting a whopping 24.6 million visitors in 2016. I admittedly fail to fully grasp what’s at our fingertips in the city. As a local destination this winter, the V&A offers 450 retail stores, 80 eateries, 40 vendors in the historical pumphouse food market, a world-class aquarium, the giant ferris “Cape Wheel”, or any one of 12 premium hotels.
The most well-known, One&Only Cape Town, has held the doorway to the V&A Waterfront for over eight years as of this month, and as a family man with three daughters there are only a handful of hotels that get city breaks right for parents and children combined. It was an easy choice. Voted No. 1 Family Resort in Africa and The Middle East by ‘Travel + Leisure’, One&Only has built its name on being a luxury family resort worldwide, with their cornerstone KidsOnly Clubs offering an amazing experience for younger guests, and a welcome (much-needed) breather for busy parents.
In the afternoon there’s afternoon tea at the Vista Bar & Lounge, which is quite spectacular. A magnificent light installation hangs over the bar, with a floor to ceiling glass panoramic of Table Mountain, while the girls and I selected a number of rare rooibos teas, and sampled gold leaf eclairs, scones, vanilla cheesecakes, macaroons, nougat, and cupcakes to name a few.
Close by, The One&Only’s neighbour is The Two Oceans Aquarium, or nearby there’s Art Jamming at Breakwater Point, or The Scratch Patch on Dock Road, The Cape Town Diamond Museum, or The Springbok Experience Rugby Museum – an exhibition that celebrates the rich and complex history of South African rugby and the Springboks. Or failing all of the above, a trip to Hamley’s might seal the deal for the younger members of the family.The most important thing that struck me in our experience at The One&Only was their people. It felt so carefully organised, and the transition from area to area, and the security, was seamless. When I remember names – Robin, Thabani and Alissa at the pool, Mmamytshou and Mangaliso at reception, and Michelle and Lynsey at KidsOnly – then it’s a sure sign the team has made a memorable connection. That’s not a guarantee at luxury resorts.
If the turbulent chaos of the last few months has shown me one thing, it’s that you have to make the most of it, because, frankly, you don’t know what’s coming next. I, for one, avert myself in travel and family, and when those two combine, I can find myself a million miles away from the worries of the world. On this occasion I found a place that brings those two realms together, right on my doorstep.