For the longest time I have dreamt of driving a Bugatti Veyron, owning my own island and staying at a place called Tintswalo Atlantic, a luxury boutique hotel located on the Atlantic Ocean just outside Hout Bay in Cape Town, South Africa. Humble ambitions, I know...
One of my three dreams came true when I got the call to review the latter.
A drive down a winding road from the spectacular Chapman’s Peak Drive, which forms part of the Table Mountain National Park - one of South Africa’s eight World Heritage Sites - brings me to the front door of Tintswalo Atlantic. Toe-curling zeal ensues as I am shown around this extraordinary place on a dreamy day in May. No wind. No driving rain. Just a perfect day in the most perfect location you can imagine. Named after the Greek titan, Atlas, the Atlantic Ocean has inspired artists, poets and philosophers with its immense beauty and power since the beginning of civilization, and still inspires wonder in even the most world-weary visitors.
The owners Ernest and Gaye Corbett have clearly absorbed this place into their DNA, leaving no stone unturned in their quest for personal comfort and signature. Every suite has its own identity. The suites reflect inspiration from famous islands around the world. Each suite has a unique design and theme - paying tribute to the beauty of nature and the rich heritage of the surroundings.
Dotted along the shoreline overlooking a sheltered bay, the eleven ultra-luxury suites are framed by the spectacular mountain range and offer an extra-length super-king or twin bed, an en-suite bathroom, air conditioners, and a private deck. The suites have names like Robben Island, Ithaca Island, Lamu Island, Sicily Island, Sainte Marie Island, Cousine Island, Java Island, Antigua Island, Princes’ Island and Zanzibar Island.
The boutique hotel's Presidential luxury two-bedroom suite is uniquely decorated and furnished to imitate the colors and experiences of the Elba and Corsica islands in the Mediterranean. The spacious entrance hall leads off to two separate en-suite rooms, which are connected by a lavish lounge. Both rooms and the lounge at the Presidential Suite face the ocean and provide stunning views. Mine is the Princes’ Island Suite and the vibrant and energizing vermillion and royal terracotta colors and décor welcome me like a long-lost daughter. The suite was inspired by the nine islands in the Sea of Marmara not far from the city of Istanbul, known as the Princes’ Islands.
The Byzantine influence is evident and the intricacy in design and the attention to minutia is breath-taking. The word "welcome" is written at the foot of my bed in shells... The feeling of walking into this fantasy is bowl-over mesmerism. I sit in reverie for a while, drinking in the vista of the ocean on my patio and then join my fellow conference attendees for a cocktail party the likes of which people like JLo would die for. From the flowing veranda we can literally feel the spray of the waves as it crashes against the rocks and I’m told that with a bit of luck, whales, dolphins and seals can be spotted from here. The view of the sunset from the deck is awe-inspiring. The hotel blends in beautifully with its stunning mountain reserve environment. Guests can relax in the hotel's lounge or bar, as well as on the outside deck while enjoying a fine wine selection from the hotel's cellar. The al fresco wooden deck features an outdoor Jacuzzi as well as loungers where beverages can be enjoyed.
The food is simply sumptuous and the service faultless. It is evident that much care has been taken in selecting the right staff - they are all convivial and professional without being obsequious. The hotel also offers guests a unique interactive kitchen where the chef can be observed while creating a delicious, imaginative meal. Guests are also invited to join the chef as she teaches them about gourmet cuisine.
Co-owner Ernest introduces us to the ritual of stone-throwing here at Tinswalo Atlantic. You are given a stone and you have to throw it over your shoulder back into the sea while making a wish. Special, small yet intimate touches like these make this place truly unique. It is another way to make you feel a part of this extraordinary experience as opposed to just another guest.
Later, from my villa I watch the lights flicker across the bay and dance in the reflection of the Atlantic Ocean. The sea is calm tonight, odd for the Cape of Storms. I’m sitting on my verandah wrapped in my fluffy gown and drinking an excellent complimentary sherry as I take in this scene.
Breakfast the next day is a feast with all the bells and whistles - fresh pastries, delicious cold meats, a variety of cheeses, hot English breakfast options as well as multitudes of drinks in the form of juices, tea, coffees, hot chocolates...And all the way the service is faultless.
I have to be off to my conference in Cape Town and my trusted and hilarious driver Jerry is ready as ever. The Cape Town city center and the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront are only a 15 minutes' drive away along the spectacular coastal road leading via Llandudno and Camps Bay. Cape Point is equally close which makes the location of the hotel ideal for site-seeing actually. Too soon I have to leave this magnificent gem of a place but the magic of Tinswalo Atlantic will remain with me always.
Good to know:
Tintswalo Atlantic is located in Cape Town, 2 km from Hout Bay on the Chapman’s Peak road. It is approximately a 45 minute drive from Cape Town International Airport, and 25 minutes from the city of Cape Town.
Clients who are driving themselves to Tintswalo Atlantic will leave their car in a secure parking area at the top of the cliff - shortly before the Chapman’s Peak toll gate. They will then be transferred via a steep single track to the hotel by the Tintswalo Atlantic courtesy vehicle.