Arguably South Africa’s most cosmopolitan city, Cape Town can be admired in a myriad of ways; from atop Table Mountain with stunning views across the mountains and coast; while exploring fantastic museums and cultural districts rich in history, or meandering through botanical garden trails. You’ll have glimpses into Apartheid past and present on the infamous Robben Island. Foodies will delight with Cape Town’s trendy restaurants and cutting-edge cuisine. And of course there are incredibly scenic coastal drives leading to picturesque beaches and seaside towns. Following any adventure through Cape Town, you may raise a glass of award-winning wine best paired with farm-to-table cuisine in the stunning Winelands region.
Cape Town has entirely captured our hearts. Rightly so, having won many accolades over the years including best city in the world, best city for restaurants and bars and one of the top 10 beaches in the world by experts at Condé Nast, TripAdvisor, the Telegraph and Fodor’s.
Most of the Rothschild Travel Design team has lived in South Africa or spent many years building relationships with knowledgeable guides. Those guides will become your friends in a heartbeat, and with them we’ve curated a list of tours and activities designed to invoke romance, indulgence and experiences which will be etched in your memory. These are the things you’ll cherish for years to come. Every Rothschild Cape Town experience is privately guided and designed precisely with your desires in mind. We won’t give away all our secrets here as some surprises are best kept untold, but we like to intertwine little extras for you to discover along your journey. Below are a few of our absolute favorite romantic luxury experiences that you simply should not miss.
The romantic cape peninsula (complete with penguins)
A must-do and our #1 on the list is investigating the Cape Peninsula with its curving coastal roads hugged by towering mountains on one side and the spectacular Atlantic Ocean on the other. Experience breathtaking viewpoints begging for photographs including a local lighthouse and the stunning Chapman’s Peak. Visit Boulders Beach where you’ll witness the endangered and adorable waddling penguins in their natural habitat (from a respectable distance, of course). Indulge in a delectable lunch at a restaurant with a soundtrack of waves crashing below. Stop at a local fisherman’s village, and a visit to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve for a glimpse of endemic wildlife and local wildflower blooms in season.
Enhance your day with sea kayaking to see the penguins from ocean level or witness an incredible sunset over the ocean before returning to Cape Town for the evening with your camera full of photographs.
Photo Credits: Staines on Unsplash, Austin Distel on Unsplash (left to right)
The perfect escape for every foodie
Home to a host of celebrity chefs, Cape Town and the Winelands offer culinary experiences to suit all tastes. Encapsulating everything from laid back eating to world-renowned fine dining, it will satisfy even the savviest taste buds. Vegetarians, vegans and most dietary preferences are comfortably catered for. Dinners in Cape Town can be quite the event and knowing that each meal should be savored, we have curated a secret list of our favorite restaurants, bars and lounges. We’ll even arrange your dinner reservations, so every romantic evening is perfectly planned for you.
Lunches are also well thought out; day tours will often include a funky upcoming café, a local food market, a locally sourced dining experience in the Winelands, traditional fish and chips at a fisherman’s harbor or an oceanfront restaurant to indulge in a variety of cuisines.
Top left: La Colombe serves delicious, creatively plated dishes. Top right: a chef preparing the menu at Babel. Bottom left: local market produce. Bottom right: a delightful tasting platter at Boschendal Estate.
Our favorite way to eat through Cape Town is on a walking tour packed with hidden gems of the food scene. This is not a fine-dining tour, but one that allows you to get a pulse on the city while learning about the artisanal trends, history, culture and people through traditional cuisine. You will navigate your way through the city with your personal expert, food-loving, guide. If you prefer to actively participate in the foodie scene, let us arrange a private cooking class with a local. Spend a fun day of shopping for fresh ingredients in the marketplace and concocting delicious local fare with an expert chef. Then savor your meal!
Wine, colonial towns, and farm-to-fork experiences
A privately guided day through the Winelands is the definition of luxury and romance in every way. Famous for the world-class wine of the region, this area can get busy. We take you away from the crowds and into the world of boutique vineyards, intimate cellar explorations and private wine tastings accompanied by your sommelier. Time must be allocated for strolling local vineyards, many of which have expansive onsite vegetable and herb gardens, working farms and indulgent farm fresh meals providing a gourmet dining experience.
The historic towns of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch portray a bygone era with Cape-Dutch and Victorian colonial architecture, chic art galleries, chocolatiers and an array of boutique shops to peruse. Even without wine, you are in for a thoroughly romantic day. For a unique experience, we recommend a visit to the Franschhoek Motor Museum showcasing over 100 years of motor history to take the passenger’s seat for a ride in a vintage car.
When all the incredible sightseeing is finished for the day and you’ve eaten your share of the Cape’s culinary delights, it’s time to pamper yourself at one of Cape Town’s best rated spas. If all the wine has not accelerated ‘romance and relaxation’ mode, this will. Step foot into one of the best recommended, luxury venues at the One and Only Hotel, Cape Town. Here an entire small island with the ultimate Victoria and Alfred harbor front location has been dedicated to luxurious rejuvenation. Take your time meandering the walkways of this retreat surrounded by waterways and fountains, a steam room and vitality pool, along with a multitude of treatment rooms. All the details have been considered from plush robes to herbal teas, healthy snacks and endless bubbly in the post-treatment pamper room. Read more about our spa recommendations here.
Photo Credits: Wetu, Roberto Nickson on Unsplash (left to right)
You really are spoiled for choice when it comes to luxury accommodations to rest your head in Cape Town. We prefer intimate, boutique properties where management closely attends to the finest details, bedding is designed for the perfect night’s sleep, and the views from your private balcony are as delicious as the cuisine and cocktails.
Belmond Mount Nelson, Cape Town
This historic hotel dates back to 1899, and was visited by John Lennon, Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela. A palm-lined driveway leads to glamorous interiors, excellent dining and impeccable service. An oasis in the heart of the bustling city, rooms feature vintage décor with a modern twist, and balconies overlooking the expansive manicured gardens. Fine dining cuisine is presented by one of Cape Town’s top 10 chefs, and is best enjoyed on the terraces. Indulge with a high tea, unwind at the spa, or take part in a painting masterclass.
Ellerman House, Cape Town
Our favorite element at this Edwardian mansion boutique hotel is the incredibly breathtaking 180-degree views over the Atlantic Ocean which are glimpsed from every corner of the property. When we say breathtaking, we mean, the kind of views you never get tired of. You’ll feel a world away from the business of Cape Town at this exclusive address just a short drive away in Bantry Bay. Ellerman House feels like a luxurious home, from its expansive terraced gardens and pool to the individually styled suites and villas. The atmosphere is quiet, private and tranquil. The hospitality is warm and inviting. A private South African art collection adorns corridors and walls. A library, brandy lounge, wine gallery and champagne gallery are sure to light the fire on romance. In addition, Ellerman House have just released their exclusive Sleep Rooms, scientifically designed to help the body evoke deep sleep.
Cape Grace, Cape Town
With an exclusive address between the bustling Victoria and Alfred Waterfront and the relaxed yacht marina, every detail has been carefully curated from the vintage fabrics and original antiques to the impeccable service. Table Mountain towers in the background, providing spectacular views from every room and suite. A daily Cape Wine Experience will introduce you to notable vintages from this region. Port and sherry are served in the library each evening. The onsite Signal restaurant is famously known with an ever-changing menu of fresh ingredients and South African dishes. The spa is just divine, and the high tea is delightful.
La Residence, Franschhoek, Winelands
Framed against a magnificent mountain backdrop on a 30-acre private estate bursting with vineyards, olive groves, plumb orchids and gardens is La Residence. Here you will find intimate luxury accommodation in the Winelands with opulent décor such as Indian chandeliers, vintage furniture, rich textiles, and artwork adorning the walls. Suites are spacious, full of light, and have a balcony affording spectacularly tranquil views across the valley. Gastronomy is an integral part of the experience here, with many ingredients grown locally on the estate and meals often being tailored according to guests preferences. Of course, in the Winelands, a meal is best paired with the local award-winning wines. A special event here is the Chef’s Table, an intimate four-course meal prepared in front of you, as your chef explains the ingredients, cooking techniques and flavors.
Leeu Estates, Franschhoek, Winelands
At Leeu Estates, 247 acres of vineyards with landscaped gardens across the Franschhoek Valley transport you to a world of relaxation. As a guest here, you may enjoy afternoon tea in the conservatory, delve into some of the best spa treatments in the region or enjoy a private wine tasting at the onsite wine studio of this divine property. At every turn, excellent service and attention to detail is the backbone of their ethos. Décor takes colonial inspiration with a modern twist with bespoke furniture, textured linens, and natural materials in calm color palettes. The dining experience is a must, with some of the most experienced chefs in the Winelands preparing French inspired dishes from local produce at award winning restaurants. Bicycle rental allows you to explore the area, and the spa is set among the vineyards, enveloping you in a true sanctuary of romance and luxury.
If your stay in the Mother City permits more time, there are a multitude of provocative experiences awaiting you. Privately guided walks through beautifully manicured botanical gardens to learn about local flora, exciting meanderings through hidden alleyways to discover a seriously cool street art scene, a step back in time at fascinating history museums, or meeting with art enthusiasts to explore world-class art galleries are all at the fingertips of your professional local guide.
Our experienced team of Travel Designers are here to share all the tips, hints and inside information to enhance your Cape Town stay and make it truly your own. We would love to partner with you in planning your next journey.