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Issue 8
Africa Travel> Issue 8
UPDATED: October 8, 2014
Touch of Class
By Jo Kromberg

Timeless elegance at The Clarendon Hotel

It's a typical cold and wet Cape Town day as I arrive at the beautiful entrance of The Clarendon Hotel, Fresnaye. Located on the Atlantic seaboard, this charming 4-star hotel is within walking distance of popular Sea Point and it's aimed at small groups and families.

Assistant manager Emmy greets me with the warmest welcome and offers us coffee. She leads me to my opulent double room with a great view over the garden and a bit of the sea beyond. You will be forgiven if you think you are in a posh hotel in London somewhere. The long curtains to the floor, the plush carpet, huge bed, contemporary chairs and massive marble bathroom with bath and shower and lovely fluffy towels – it all attests to great taste in design.

Breakfast and high tea is included in the price but dinner is extra. For about $28 you can tuck into a 6-course meal including tomato gazpacho, salt and pepper prawns, seared yellow fin tuna, pad fried sea bass, venison medallions. Strawberry kir royal (Strawberry gel, meringue, marshmallows, champagne foam, and strawberry and cassis ice cream), petit fours and bottomless coffee and tea. Yum!!

I decide to forgo the lavish dinner in exchange for a trip to nearby Ari's Souvlaki, walking distance from the hotel in Sea Point. Ari's is a veritable Capetonian institution. A stroll on the promenade along the sea followed by a traditional Greek meal at Ari's is somewhat of a must when in Cape Town. The restaurant is on Sea Point Main Road diagonally opposite the Spar and looks tiny as you walk in but when you head upstairs you'll find a spacious room with a great balcony that looks over the every busy main road. The restaurant has a relaxed and unpretentious atmosphere - expect plastic red and white checked tablecloths and friendly service. The Greek menu is extremely reasonably priced and most main meals are under $5 a person. There are a variety of tapas, meze platters and main meals but their beef shwarmas are hands down the best in the world – including anywhere in Greece.

A scrumptious buffet breakfast to get you going in the morning

The Clarendon Bantry Bay

After a wonderfully snug and restful night's sleep in my huge bed, the buffet breakfast the next morning is fit for a king. I am then driven to the Clarendon Fresnaye's sister hotel the, about 500 meters up the road and my home for only one night unfortunately.

Nestled peacefully along the peninsula of one the world's most spectacular settings, the Clarendon Bantry Bay is a 5 Star fusion of pure sophistication and astonishing views of the Atlantic Ocean.

The hotel is not very imposing from the outside but once you step inside, the hues of white and cream with the blue, blue sea beyond though the floor to ceiling glass doors assault the sense in a strikingly beautiful way. Everything is pristine with carefully selected art works but the service is warm, quick and genuine.

My room is beautiful and quite palatial actually - huge with elegantly contemporary design and fixtures with lush carpets and sweeping sea views as well as a balcony. Each of the hotel's rooms has its own unique design with gorgeous individual touches, again attesting to immaculate taste by the designer. Expect rich, dark wood, natural colors and rooms flooded with natural light. For dinner I am served a deliciously simple and fresh chicken and peen dish with homemade vanilla ice cream for desert – brilliantly delicious in its masterful simplicity.

The hotel is located within minutes from the V&A Waterfront, Table Mountain, Camps Bay and Clifton's beaches as well as the cosmopolitan city centre with its markets, quaint shops, restaurants and pubs. It is also only 45 minutes away from the rolling winelands and 25 minutes from the airport.

So go on – spoil yourself at the Clarendon!



Getting there:

South African Airways introduced direct flights between Beijing and Johannesburg in 2012. Go to http://www.flysaa.com/za/en/flyingSAA/News/Saa-introduces-non-stop-flights-to-beijing-china.html Once in Johannesburg, low-cost airlines fly to Cape Town every hour.

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