If dark mornings and icy evenings are getting you down and you’re looking for an overseas escape, it might be time to think about flying south for the winter – and there’s no more idyllic place than Cape Town. But before you start frantically Googling the city’s best luxury hotels, let me stop you right there – Kensington Place is where it’s at.
Located in leafy Higgovale and nestled in the shadow of Table Mountain, this Mr and Mrs Smith favourite is a lush little oasis hidden behind high walls yet surrounded by stunning natural beauty. Location is key – thanks to its serene atmosphere, you’d never guess Kensington Place is situated just minutes from the city’s best restaurants, party hotspots, shops and beaches, and what’s more, its cool Kloof Street position makes it the perfect spot to discover all the up-and-coming urban eateries that the city has to offer.
Featured in every listing of the city’s top boutique hotels since it opened in 1997, Kensington Place is quite clearly all about chic, modern design, with contemporary art and interior design coffee tables lining the reception. We were seen to as soon as we entered the bright and airy property, where we were led to the stylish waiting area. And while we were obviously checking in at a popular time – there was a couple and a family before us meaning a slightly longer check-in process than normal – a free glass of Prosecco made the wait all the more enjoyable.
Speaking of other guests, as the hotel is small – only eight rooms – it’s quite rare to run into anyone else during your stay at the property, adding an air of exclusivity not often enjoyed in other properties.
We were led to our room which was just as glorious as the entrance, with minimalist-yet-modern interiors, a squishy sofa and huge pillow-like bed that you’ll have to drag yourself out from in the morning. Our room also had a balcony with views spanning both along the coast and overlooking the silhouette of Table Mountain – the perfect spot to enjoy a sundowner before heading out or breakfast in the morning. Aromatherapy Associates products and bath salts line the bathroom, while guests are also treated to beach towels and a beach bag so remember to leave yours at home.
While we weren’t able to check out any of the other rooms, we’re told that rooms 1 to 3 enjoy the best views, while for those looking for extra privacy, there’s one room on the ground floor that has its own little patch of garden and a terrace. If you’re looking for a romantic hideaway during the winter months, ask for the room with the fireplace.
When it comes to breakfast at Kensington Place, you’re in for a treat. Not only is it served at any time of the day – perfect for a late morning refuel after a sunrise hike up Lion’s Head or a lazy feast to ward off the effects of a heavy Cape Town evening – you can even have it served to your room at no extra cost. And there’s no run-of-the-mill buffet here – the menu comes a la carte with options ranging from healthy pressed juices and smashed avocado to the Full Kensington: eggs to order, roasted tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, bacon, sausages and toast. The dream!
If you’ve had your fill of breakfast foods, there’s a chef on duty who can whip together a small selection of seasonally-based dishes including salads, wraps, gourmet burgers and steak for lunch or dinner, but with such an incredible selection of world-renowned restaurants on your doorstep, we highly recommend asking Gillian to make a reservation for you elsewhere and embark on a little culinary exploring. There is, however, full bar service including cocktails and delicious local wines that you’ll most definitely want to sample.
Hotel facilities are limited to a small pool and courtyard-style garden surrounded by comfortable outdoor lounging areas that wouldn’t look out of place in Ibiza or Mykonos, and there’s even sunscreen and water available inside woven bags that are dotted around the terrace. For those who need a more of a workout than one of Cape Town’s grueling hikes, there are also Virgin Active gym passes available at reception.
Due to the retreat-like nature of the hotel, one thing to note is that hiring a taxi or renting a car is essential for getting around, especially if you want to visit slightly further out tourist hotspots like the V&A Waterfront or Cape Town’s spectacular wine regions (which we highly recommend that you do). But other than that, you won’t be disappointed. Secluded and serene with all-day breakfast to boot – what more could you want?
Address: 38 Kensington Crescent, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa
Phone: +27 21 424 4744