Alta Bay, previously a 5-star boutique hotel has 9 years ago (Oct 2011) been converted into a upmarket stylish guest house with 3 luxury self-catering units.
Surrounded by a lush native garden, Alta Bay combines understated luxury and urban chic with a laid-back and retreat atmosphere.
This Tuscan house is built on separate levels with a great sense of space and light throughout and is designed in a contemporary style with bespoke furniture handcrafted locally.
Alta Bay, located in Higgovale, the most up-market suburb of the City Bowl of Cape Town, is set high on the slopes of Table Mountain, with beautiful views over Table Bay and the City, yet only 3 km away from most of Cape Town's attractions including the Waterfront, Camps Bay and Clifton beaches and within walking distance of Kloof Street with its many restaurants and coffee shops.
We suggest our guests to have their own transport during their stay at Alta Bay. Having their own car will give them flexibility for their day trips. Kloof Street is only 1 km away, which is an easy walk downhill. However, to come back is quite an exercise.
Attractions & Landmarks
Alta Bay offers 3 luxury units
All rooms include the following:
Guest(s) can prepare their own breakfast in their room. Should they prefer to have their breakfast outside, there is a large choice of restaurants and coffee shops (open from 7h) at walking distance (1 km) in Kloof Street.
|The Loft||The Bay Suite|
|The Garden Room|
On Site Facilities
When your skin's the colour of photocopy paper and your eyes find it difficult to cope with a 40-watt bulb, you know you're in the middle of a British winter. By new year, I'm always so over it, that the idea of Cape Town in January, with its roaring bays and spectacular sunsets, is like Prozac for is the ideal my dulled senses. In the past decade, celebrities, the professionally beautiful in search of a little discreet plastic surgery, and the laid-back rich have flocked to this vibrant city for a shot of winter sun. The added bonus is that, by taking a night flight, we get to our guest house in time for breakfast by the pool and, with only a two-hour time difference, there's no jet lag to contend with.
Our guesthouse, Alta Bay, is set high on the vertiginous slopes of Table Mountain, and breathes tranquillity. Its seven rooms are calm and beautiful, some with balconies, looking down on Table Bay below. Its owner, Polish-Portuguese Ariel Glownia, was once a London banker before he discovered his true calling as host and mind reader. He has the ability to detect whether what you really want to do is lounge in a hammock, by the pretty pool surrounded by rustling bougainvillea and jasmine, or hit the town. Clubs? Bars? Restaurants? Beaches? Walks? Tours of the wine region? He's the man to ask. And, after all that, he might suggest you help yourself to a drink from the complimentary bar or order a massage in your room to recover from the stresses of doing nothing.
Cape Town is a great place to eat, whether you want a laid-back cafe or fashionista restaurant. Of course, the seafood is wonderful, but this is also the place to tuck into all kinds of game, and don't forget bobotie, a kind of fruity, meaty dish topped with curried custard, a tasty Cape version of shepherd's pie. Search out local cheeses and delicious Cape wines, too.
For lunch or dinner, don't miss Savoy Cabbage (101 Hout Street, Cape Town 8001, (00 27) 21 424 2626), a bustling restaurant in the heart of the city. Its modern interior is a great backdrop for some of the best food in town. The menu changes daily and includes seasonal specialties, such as foie gras terrine with citrus salad, shanks of warthog, cassoulet with homemade sausages and confit and a great selection of local cheeses.
To watch the beautiful people at play, head for Manolo (30 Kloof Street, Cape Town 8001, (00 27) 21 422 4747). Set in a Victorian house with several intimate dining rooms, chef Philip Alcock creates a modern African menu with European overtones. This is a must if you want to try game such as kudu, springbok, gemsbok, eland and even zebra.
If you want to know where models and actors go in their downtime, try Cape Town's oh-so-cool Cafe Caprice in Camps Bay (37 Victoria Road, Cape Town 8001, (00 27) 21 438 8315). Go in the morning for Eggs Benedict, or in the evening for a cocktail, while you watch the sunset from the beachfront terrace. Who knows, you might end up rubbing shoulders with Bono or Ethan Hawke, both of whom have been spotted here.
Cape Town gets under your skin. Its beauty and warmth draw you in; within days its small scale seduces you into thinking you're a local. Whether you're a hiking-at-dawn, surfing-at-dusk sort or a hedonistic bar fly, there's enough to do to keep you happy, but not so much to make you forget the importance of lounging by the pool in a hammock.
• The beachesCape Town is famous for them. On the eastern side of the South Peninsula, which faces the Indian Ocean, beaches are warm and laid-back. To the west and the Atlantic, the sea's colder and the waves bigger, making it a magnet for surfers.
• Table Mountainwhich dominates the city's landscape. Hike to the top, or take a cable car. You can't miss it.
• Green Point Flea MarketStalls spill across the rough ground selling all manner of Africana. It's great for jewellery, wooden bowls and salad servers, ostrich egg tea-light holders, papier-mâché platters, and textiles.
Way to go
Latitude offers seven nights in South Africa, including four nights at Alta Bay in a suite and three nights at Pezula, Knysna, in a studio suite, from £2,120 per person, including breakfasts, flight and car hire. Call Latitude on 0870 443 4483, or visit latitude-online.co.uk. Alta Bay, 12 Invermark Crescent, Cape Town 8001 (00 27) 21 487 8800; altabay.com. From £106 per person per night. Average January temperature 21°C/70°F.
The leafy, moneyed suburb of Higgovale clings to the lower slopes of Table Mountain, overlooking the City Bowl and Table Bay. This is one of the city's smartest and most peaceful areas, and feels distinctly removed from the bustle of the centre, a five-minute drive away.
The Alta Bay has proven a hit with stylish conscious couples, who appreciate its clean lines and peaceful location. Tear your eyes from the tastefully placed scatter cushions, though, and you'll soon notice the real draw - the spectacular city views. New arrival are offered fresh fruit smoothies or a glass of Champagne on the deck by the small pool, which is surrounded by lush, subtropical foliage. In the winter, there's a crackling fire in the lounge/library, where guests can flick through glossy design books or choose a DVD for their room.
Feeling you have to go everywhere by car in what should be a very walkable city. And the suburban atmosphere won't suit those who have come for the nightlife.
The decor sticks to a cool, neutral palette, brightened by crimson and tangerine throws. There are six suites (an extra garden suite is being added) with huge beds, backed by meranti-wood headboard, and French windows opening up either onto a private veranda or a roomy balcony. Flat-screen TVs come with DVD and CD players; you'll find something soft and jazzy playing when you return to your room after a night out.
The impressive breakfast buffet includes home-made pastries and muesli, and cooked to order fry-ups. There's no restaurant but the staff will make sandwiches if you're peckish.
The other guests
This is about as far removed from a family hotel as possible (no children under 12), and the quiet, understated couples - mostly foreign, but with a smattering of well-heeled South Africans - keep to themselves.
Ariel Glownia, the soft spoken owner, and his staff are extremely welcoming and keen to help with restaurant bookings and well-timed nibbles. They can also arrange in-room beauty treatments.
The bottom line
£150 per room, including all taxes and breakfast
Dying for a holiday but no time to plan it? Head for Cape Town and the Garden Route, says Fiona Duncan
Do you want a spoiling holiday but have no time to plan it, let alone buy a guidebook and read it before you go? No time for jet lag? Then here is my recently tried and tested remedy. First hop on a night flight to Cape Town. Supper on the plane, a film, sleep -or as much as you can manage - breakfast before landing, when breakfast is supposed to be (there's only a two-hour time difference) and arrive at your city hotel in time for a long morning by the pool.
If ever a city was chilled, it's Cape Town, wrapped tightly round enthralling Table Mountain. Along with cool restaurants and bars, it's made a speciality of appealing guesthouses and boutique hotels, and the recently opened Alta Bay is a model of the breed. Set high on the slopes of the flat-topped mountain in leafy, upmarket Higgovale, it combines the qualities of a seriously glamorous hotel (six luxurious, beautifully designed bedrooms and bathrooms; lunch and dinner menus; complimentary bar; spa treatments: free internet access; waiter service) with the small-scale intimacy of a superbly run guesthouse.
The elegant, modem property descends the hill in flights of steps and leafy walkways, from which are glimpsed patios and cool grey walls, a courtyard with fountain, a hammock strung across a shady deck, a wide balcony with show-stopping views of the city and its shining bay spread far below. Finally comes an airy sitting room with a row of shuttered doors opening on to a terrace and a little pool surrounded by greenery.
Having found my bearings, it's time to explore. Portuguese/Polish Ariel Glownia, onetime London investment banker turned Cape Town convert, is the creator of Alta Bay and the reason why his guests need no guidebook and no plans. While his broadly smiling staff serve us with sushi, a chilled white wine (the food, except the excellent breakfast, is provided by an outside caterer), Ariel describes the options for a perfect stay on the Cape, discusses our preferences and disappears to make the arrangements.
A few days later we had to be peeled away from Alta Bay. We'd done our fair share of absolutely nothing on towelling-covered sun loungers, and treated ourselves to massages in our rooms picked from the hotel's spa menu, but we'd also watched whales from the deck of a pleasure yacht, chartered for a few hours, off Camps Bay and Clifton Beaches; explored the rolling Winelands and their picturesque Cape Dutch towns, tasting wine and lunching by the pool on a wine estate; taken the coast road to Chapman's Peak; and nipped to the top of Table Mountain at sunset (the cable-car is just minutes by taxi from the hotel).
Not to mention shopping at the V&A Waterfront, browsing in the Sunday market at Green Point, and dinning at two fine restaurants, Manolo’s (chic, buzzy, good food) and Cape Grace (amusing, “playful” cuisine). All arranged by Ariel and his assistant Veona, and all great fun. The man has a knack: the little place he suggested for after-dinner drinks produced Leonardo di Caprio propping up the bar.
Being fans of two-centre holidays, we opted to split our week between Cape Town and the Garden Route, the band of forests, rivers and valleys stretching for 140 miles along the south Cape coast. By car it would have been a five-hour drive or more to our resort hotel but time being short, we flew to George and were transferred by car to Knysna, "the jewel of the Garden Route".
Knysna attracts retirement couples and families looking for a better quality of life, as well as artists, a community of Rastafarians and swarms of visitors in high season. Two thickly wooded sandstone cliffs, one a nature reserve, stand sentinel on either side of a channel that connects the Indian Ocean with a huge protected lagoon, famed for its oysters and the endangered Knysna Seahorse. The town clusters the lagoon's edge: above it on a huge, high tract of forest stretching back along the coast, stands Pezula.
If Alta Bay and Pezula have something in common, it's the men behind them, both new to hotel keeping both with a fresh approach and an instinct for hiring the right people. In other respects they are very different: Pezula, the brainchild of Keith Stewart, has 78 suites, a golf course, a spa, a natural arena for sports called the Field of Dreams, stables, river and beach, not to mention the 250 private houses being built among the fynbos landscape farther along the ridge. Sportsmen Roger Federer, Jonas Bjorkman, Nick Price and Graeme Smith are among those who I have already bought plots of land with views across the rocky surf-swept coast.
Stewart, softly spoken, down-to-earth Zimbabwean who made his fortune in America, is intent on removing a million alien plants from his 1,500 acre site, on conserving and introducing wildlife, and on promoting local employment. Perhaps it's because every new employee, from chef to laundry maid, is invited to dine in the hotel's restaurant, and to spend the night in a suite, that Pezula, despite a corporate feel in places, has such heart and maintains such high standards.
The decoration is "contemporary African", employing stone, teak and ethnic art, all sourced from the continent. The suites, some reached by golf buggy are huge and beautiful equipped, each with log fire and under-floor heating for cooler days. As for the award winning spa, it has the longest menu of treatments seen, including 13 different types of massage.
We didn't play golf but we did play tennis and ride, and took a helicopter ride, a hike and a trip by canoe with the resort's resident wildlife expert, emerging at wild and beautiful Noetzie Beach, where a gourmet picnic awaited us.
Back at Pezula, dinner in Zachary's each night (American chef Geoffrey Murray formerly ran Boom in New York and North Island in the Seychelles) is faultless, with local produce to the fore.
We returned on the night flight London waking to breakfast when breakfast is supposed to be. At least for us, the remedy worked.
"Simple and understated yet very luxurious, this new guesthouse is making waves in all the style magazines, despite only being open a few months. Cascading down the steep Higgovale hillside, it's a haven of peace that seems a million miles from the city hustle. The style throughout is cool minimalist, but it's prevented from being chilly or impersonal by some exuberant touches such as the chandelier that glitters over the stairwell, or the black and gold 1960's sculpture at the bottom of the stairs. An air of serene sophistication pervades the whole house, reinforced by the smooth jazz tunes playing faintly on the piped music system. Bleached floorboards in the hall give way to warm orange cushions and a cosy fire in the sitting room. In the bedrooms, neutral colours prevail once more, livened up by splashes of purple and apple green on cushions and bedcovers. Private terraces, flat screen TVs and CD/DVD players complete the sophisticated, luxurious vibe. For hot summer days, there's a sun terrace complete with deep wicker sofas for contemplating the lush, almost tropical gardens that surround the villa."
"It opened its doors only at the end of 2004, but already this discreet, well-bred guesthouse has seen plenty of repeat business. Located on the steep slopes of wind-free Higgovale (the City Bowl's most prestigious suburb), Alta comprises only six suites, but with most of them on separate levels with private courtyards or decks, and a great sense of space and light throughout, you'll never feel claustrophobic or invaded. Furnished with all the modcons you'd expect from a guesthouse in this price category, and with what has become signature South African Modern (clean angular lines softened with suede, leather, and timber; neutral warm colors; a few ethnic touches; and high-quality fabrics -- not a faux zebra skin in sight), the house also offers plenty of access to the outdoors, either through large doors that lead to the shaded and lush garden, or gorgeous vistas of the sparkling city below. A personal favorite, the Bay Room, has simply marvelous views, fringed with pines, and the biggest bathroom by far; book it if you can. This is a smart, comfortable choice that, like the Cadogan , will appeal to the design conscious."
"Take Refuge - Alta Bay, Cape Town"
"Following the path leading to this secluded wisteria-veiled Higgovale villa, it’s easy to forget you’re five minutes from the centre of Cape Town. The panoramic view of the City Bowl and Table Bay beyond is a gentle reminder. The lush garden setting creates a sense of tranquillity that permeates all of the six luxurious bedroom suites.
Alta Bay was designed and decorated by manager co-owner Ariel Glownia (who also designed the furniture) and its style is relaxed, subdued and sophisticated. Special features of the rooms include extra-length beds; flat screen TVs with satellite, DVD and CD players; wi-fi; and the choice of down or hypo-allergenic pillows. Privacy is key, with each bedroom opening onto a private courtyard or deck.
When they’re not outside exploring the city, guests are invited to book beauty treatments in their rooms or outside under the huge plane tree; lounge around the pool area; or choose a DVD from the library. Light meals are served and drinks are on tap at the honesty bar.
From R2 100 per suite per night, including breakfast (until April 2006). 021-487-8800, email@example.com, www.altabay.com "
"Interesting artwork, a refreshingly understated approach to interiors – a beige palette leavened by the occasional use of meranti wood – and a decent sunbathing terrace lifts this new Higgovale guesthouse from the pack. There’s also a wireless internet connection, a good DVD library and more flat screens than strictly necessary. www.altabay.com "
"While many visitors opt to stay with friends and family, a significant number are choosing to do their own thing and are booking themselves into guesthouses for their stay. Higgovale meets Hollywood Hills at the super-chic Alta Bay. This exquisitely decorated guesthouse is a recently renovated gem and since opening its door, has played host to plenty of stylemongers in the know. Décor is ultra chic, with marble finishes, glass surfaces and luxe fabrics and furnishings at every turn."
"Best for... LUXURY"
"Situated on the majestic slopes of Table Mountain, offering picturesque views over the harbour and city, Alta Bay guesthouse is the perfect five-star haven. This newly renovated Higgovale villa, surrounded by a lush garden, is for those who value a relaxed minimalist setting within a buzzing metropolitan atmosphere. Whether you choose to catch some sun lounging by the pool or sip a martini in the seclusion of your own private patio, you’ll feel miles away from the stresses of city life, yet totally in the mix with Cape Town’s cool crowd.
Rates from R1 800 Contact 021-487-8800, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.altabay.com "
"Our first night was spent in Cape Town’s newest five-star hotel Alta Bay in Higgovale, overlooking the Cape Bowl. It was midnight when we arrived and the lights of the city spread beneath us were a fitting backdrop to the sparkling champagne that the charming owner Ariel Glownia pressed on us as we sat on the pool deck recovering from our journey. Alta Bay is situated on the majestic slopes of Table Mountain, offering picturesque views over the harbour and city. The next morning we dallied over breakfast in the Art Deco restaurant, our Irish roots showing when we opted for a full fry up. It was when the midday gun was fired from Signal Hill that we realised time was slipping past fast. Feeling lily white and exposed, we jumped into swimsuits and spent a delightful day on the wooden deck by the pool, working on the tan, while nibbling on delectable canapés and sipping the local ambrosial sauvignon blanc. Veona van Vuuren, the manager, was on hand all day to ensure everything went smoothly and kept us entertained with ceaseless flow of Cape gossip. Her capable care, combined with the sun and the light of Africa eased away the jet lag so that by the end of the day we felt as if we had been on holiday for a week.
Alta Bay is a serene sanctuary and a relaxing hideaway that is perfect for a few days in Cape Town. Its stunning location, though only minutes away from downtown, feels miles away from the bustle of the centre of the capital city. A couple days spent in the Mother City shopping (V&A Waterfront), sightseeing (Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens), catching up with friends and revisiting favourite restaurants (Madame Zingara, La Colombe, Constantia Uitsig), left us breathless and ready for Franschhoek..."
"Home Away From Home"
"If you prefer complete privacy when visiting the Mother City, you will love Alta Bay, one of Cape Town’s newest boutique hotels. Perched on the slopes of Table Mountain in the scenic suburb of Higgovale, this stunning guesthouse has only six suites. Two of them boast private wooden balconies, where you can enjoy sundowners as you indulge in panoramas of Cape Town and the Atlantic Ocean. The other three have private mini patios, with the sixth one hidden away, perfect for honeymooners. The rooms are fitted with luxurious finishings, and in addition to the standard TV, also boast DVD players. Breakfast is served in the art deco restaurant where you can indulge in the sumptuous continental and hot breakfasts. A library and lounge with fireplace are perfect for chilly days, while in summer, a wooden deck by the pool is perfect for soaking up the serene atmosphere. For bookings, tel: (021) 487 8800, fax: (021) 487 8822 or email email@example.com. For flights from Lanseria to Cape Town visit www.saairlink.co.za "
RATES 2020 - 2021 (room only) in SA Rand
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