Cape Grace is in a prime position for sampling the tourist delights of Cape Town, situated within the city's historic Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. This complex of shops, restaurants and entertainment wraps around docks and marinas, with great views of both the sea and Table Mountain. With its plentiful security staff, the waterfront is a safe space for a stroll and is often thronged with pleasure seekers, giving it a festive atmosphere.
The public areas of the hotel feature an intriguing decor. There's timber and elegant furniture aplenty, but they're set off by a fascinating jumble of maritime objects displayed in cases and along the walls. As the building is on a wharf between a marina and the Alfred Basin, there are beautiful water views. The library is a genteel space near reception in which to relax with a book, with afternoon tea served here daily.
The hotel's aura of "modern take on traditional style" extends into the guest rooms. My entry-level Luxury Room is very luxurious indeed, with plenty of space and tall windows which open onto a view of the marina and the mountain.
It's decorated in earthy tones, featuring greens and browns. The bed is laid with a quilt depicting the native protea flower, and a green headboard complements the green and white walls. It's all very soothing. A wooden chest acts as a table at the foot of the bed, another nice maritime touch. There are comfortable chairs in one corner, providing a pleasant place to sit and read.
The bathroom is vast, with separate bathtub and shower, and is a riot of marble surfaces from the floors to the double sinks. The toiletries here are from the Just So range, manufactured in South Africa and named after Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories. Because Cape Town has been suffering a major drought, the hotel provides hand sanitiser to minimise the amount of water a guest needs to use.
The hotel's Signal Restaurant is an ambient light-filled space of glass, polished wood and crisp tablecloths, classy without trying too hard. The continental breakfast is a quality affair, with items including chia seed and coconut porridge, and a selection of South African cheeses. Hot options include a dish of zucchini and sweet potato hash browns with tomato smoortjie (sauce), bacon, and eggs.
The lunch and dinner menus have an emphasis on local ingredients, particularly seafood such as kingclip. At dinner there's also a six-course tasting menu, with a vegetarian variant.
The hotel's Bascule Bar also serves tapas (ostrich, anyone?), and a good selection of local wines.
The hotel is an easy walk to the attractions of the V&A Waterfront. Just across the bascule bridge is the V&A Food Market, which serves a fine array of local food at affordable prices. Nearby is the Cape Town Comedy Club, presenting nightly shows from local and international comics. Beyond that is the sprawling Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre, with a spread of restaurants and shops. From the waterfront you can also join the fascinating regular tours to Robben Island, the former prison at which Nelson Mandela was held captive.
Cape Grace is luxurious accommodation in a great location, with water views and easy access to entertainment and other amusements. The service is top-notch, and its maritime-inspired decor makes it stand out from more traditional rivals.
Each evening the hotel serves complimentary port to its guests in the library area.
For all its convenience, the V&A Waterfront zone can feel "touristy" and removed from the everyday life of the city.
Rooms at Cape Grace from ZAR 9350 ($920) per night. West Quay Road, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa. Phone +27 21 410 7100, see capegrace.com.
Tim Richards was a guest of South African Tourism (southafrica.net/gl/en).