Perfect blend at the reimagined One&Only Cape Town

The One&Only Cape Town is all about the perfect blend: the perfect combination of five-star service and amenities and an undeniable sense of place.

Tucked at the base of Table Mountain, Cape Town’s most magnificent landmark, and spread across two man-made islands within the busy Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, the hotel underwent a multimillion-dollar reimagining during the early days of the pandemic. The end result? An essentially brand new urban resort that serves as a magnificent showcase for one of the world’s truly distinctive destinations, highlighting its landscape, its locals and its lore.

Stepping into the One&Only Cape Town is exactly the experience you’d hope for at a chic, cosmopolitan hotel. The gentle lilt of a baby grand piano fills a perfumed lobby, signaling that you’ve stepped out of the fray and into an oasis of calm. A circular bar hums at the center of the lobby lounge, where locals and guests mingle over cocktails or a glass of One&Only’s signature brut, while gazing through a soaring floor-to-ceiling window that frames the looming Table Mountain.

But that powerful sense of place goes deeper than just spectacular views. The seemingly abstract carpet that spans the lobby lounge is actually a topographical map of the landscape at the top of Table Mountain. The sculpture at the center of the bar is a tribute to the Watchers, one of Cape Town’s richest legends about the founding of the land. Anyone at the bar will tell the story — it’s worth a listen.

An Island Suite at the hotel, which underwent a multimillion-dollar reimagining during the pandemic.

Meaningful redesign

The refurbishment, and the feel, extends to One&Only’s 133 rooms and suites, restaurants and public spaces.

Guestrooms have been redesigned to reflect the energy and spirit of the African continent, from the bespoke carpeting in some of the rooms that reflects the great Cape Kelp Forest in its wavy patterns and its color palette, to the beaded pots created by Zimbabwe-born Richard Madongwe. Gemstone-shaped shields above the beds are a tribute to South Africa’s position as the gemstone capital of the world. Even the hotel’s version of “do not disturb” signs are unique: handmade fertility dolls that guests leave outside their doors, signaling visitors to “come back later.” No detail has been spared, and each piece seems intent on telling a local legend.

As for dining, the Vista Bar & Lounge was a favorite. The menu there gives a nod to Asian cooking; particularly delicious were the Vietnamese brisket, the gochujang cauliflower and the grilled prawns.

The hotel's Wine Studio, where guests can blend their own wines under the guidance of a top sommelier.

Be the winemaker

Perhaps the best feature of the One&Only Cape Town is the opportunity for guests to create a perfect blend of their own in the hotel’s new Wine Studio.

The Wine Studio serves as a testimonial to the iconic Winelands of South Africa just outside of Cape Town. Its glass-encased wine room holds 700 labels, making it one of the largest and most diverse wine collections on the continent, according to the hotel. The sleek and sophisticated space sets the scene for the hotel’s signature Wine Blending experience, a three-hour journey that takes wine lovers beyond the vineyards and into a space where they become the winemaker.

Led by the resident sommelier, Luvo Ntezo, guests learn about the art of blending different varietals to create their own bottle of wine that they can cork themselves and take home as a potable souvenir of their stay. Ntezo has been recognized at the prestigious Chaine des Rotisseurs competition as the Best Young Sommelier in South Africa.

The experience includes insight from Ntezo throughout, from the wine landscape in South Africa to its most popular grape varietals. Using simple science, and lots of trial and error, he helps each person discover their own perfect ratio to match their particular palette. The experience also includes a lavish cheese and meat spread — because what wine experience is complete without food pairings?

I’ve had countless wine tours, tastings and experiences in my travels, but this just may have been the most unforgettable. Vineyard tours and winery tastings are all perfectly lovely, but this activity put the creativity into my own hands and taught me so much more than I could have learned on a tour. 

Source: Read Full Article