If you are looking for a luxury hotel in Cape Town which is not too far from the main attractions but distant enough from the hustle and bustle of the Waterfront, the stunning Twelve Apostles Hotel just outside of Camps Bay has you covered.
The Twelve Apostles Hotel in Cape Town is no stranger to international hotel awards, including the prestigious ‘Top hotels in Africa Condé Nast Traveler Readers Choice award 2019’.
And this stunning five-star property, located in one of the most spectacular spots in the Mother City has indeed a lot going for it to deserve the highest accolades.
Twelve Apostles Hotel, or 12A as the hotel affectionately refers to itself in many occasions, is part of the family-run Red Carnation Hotel Collection that includes several very prominent luxury hotels around the world. In South Africa, other than the 12A the famous Oyster Box in Durban and Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve in Cederberg are also part of the Collection.
As such, the hotel sets itself the highest expectations, and it’s safe to say they are right on point with their ambitions.
It all starts as soon as you step into the elegant lobby where you will receive an exceptional warm welcome by the friendly staff. Check-in is handled efficiently and almost as a side effect while staff effortlessly engages into a nice conversation.
The Location – getting to the Twelve Apostles Hotel in Cape Town
Nestled at the foot of – and taking its name from – the breathtaking Twelve Apostles mountain range, the Twelve Apostles Hotel occupies one of the most beautiful seaside locations in Cape Town just outside of Camps Bay.
Close enough to the action of popular Camps Bay but far enough away to offer the felling of complete seclusion, this place is either for staying to relax and be lazy or to explore the stunning surroundings of Table Mountain National Park and the dynamic city life.
About Twelve Apostles Hotel
The history of 12A starts all the way back to 1836 when the Governor of the Cape Charles Somerset gave a plot of land to Michael van Breda, who went on to built his own hunting lodge on the site in the late 1920s.
The property changed hands a couple of times and in 1992 was converted into a hotel and conference centre. It took until 2002 however – when it become part of the Red Carnation Hotels – to become the splendid property it is today.
There is a small part of the original building still incorporated in the main wing whilst the various parts of the low-rise whitewashed complex appear both historic and contemporary.
Another observation that will immediately strike you is the attention to art throughout the whole property. From the elegant features adorning the bar and restaurant to the pictures and other sculptures exposed in the long corridors as well as the quirky multi-colour carpets.
Rooms at the 12 Apostles Hotel
There are five room categories from the classic rooms to the superior sea facing room, which is essentially a suite plus three different suites. All categories are either facing the mountains or the sea. As exiting it might be to enjoy those splashing sea views directly from your bed in the morning, I am always reluctant spending significant extra money for a sea view room, or a large suite. In the end, it is the one place I normally spend the least time when travelling and there are plenty of other places around a hotel to enjoy sea views.
For that reason, I opted for one of the classic room. It featured an easy, elegant style with lots of elements reflecting the maritime spirit you’d expect from an oceanfront hotel, kept in hues of white and cream.
Each room also has its own balcony or terrace.
Other than the expected pleasant styling, I really loved the nice little personal touches like a bottle of wine, some fresh fruits and a personal welcome note from the manager as.
The recreational areas at 12 Apostles
Facing the stunning oceanfront, 12A definitely qualifies as a beach hotel even though in an understated way. It’s not that you expect guests here mainly to congregate to the beach (which indeed does not really exist right in front of the hotel) or respectively the pool areas to be stretched all day on sun loungers.
The two small pools are however lovely, one with an awesome ocean view and the second built into the rocks behind one of the buildings.
On-site, you will also find a small Spa area which I did not have the time to test despite the not too ideal weather during my stay.
In case you are looking for a bit more exercise, starting just behind the hotel are various hiking trails which will lead you into the Table Mountain Nature Range. Some of the hikes are as short as 10 minutes whilst others will take about 45 minutes.
Whether you love hiking or not, I definitely recommend to plan an hike up to one of the several picnic spots build into the hillside.
Though they are not too far from the hotel, make sure to wear appropriate shoes.
Should a relaxed day at the pool or hiking the nearby mountain trails does not provide enough activity for you, the hotel offers a complimentary shuttle to nearby Camps Bay (with huge sandy beaches, bars and restaurants) or to the bustling V&A Waterfront.
12A is also one of the most popular wedding locations in Cape Town, so don’t be surprised you see preparations going on around the beautiful gazebo for a romantic wedding taking place.
Dining options at the Twelve Apostles Hotel
I’d been particularly looking forward to the spectacular views over the stunning oceanfront, possibly enjoyed from the terrace of renowned Leopard Bar during sunset. After all, the bar is constantly ranked as one of the most spectacular spots around Cape Town for sunsets.
However, the one thing you can’t plan for when travelling is the weather. Whilst I got some idea how amazing these views could have been in perfect conditions, the two days I spend at 12A were mostly over clouded and mixed with some rain.
On the upside, there are so many fantastic options to spend your time inside Leopard Bar you won’t even think about going outside anyway.
For a starter, there is the large drinks menu, complete with a wonderful variety of snacks and light dishes all day round.
If you are looking for something more eclectic, you are at the right place.
For starters, there is the well-known ‘Tea by the Sea’, an afternoon tea that is something quite special. The freshly prepared finger sandwiches, still warm and fluffy scones and sweets including delicious macarons, cupcakes and brownies were absolutely mouth-watering.
What really blew me away was the absolutely fantastic gin and canapé tasting. The session kicks off with introducing you to three different gins (with a final surprise gin added later on) which you first taste pure, then they will be topped with tonic and different adorning flavours.
Finish your gins with the canapés freshly prepared by the kitchen; it’s an experience not to be missed.
If you want to learn more about gin form South Africa, I can really only recommend to head to Leopold Bar; whether you are staying in the hotel or not.
Alternatively, you could also do a craft beer or craft cider tasting with canapés.
Speaking about food, the star of Twelve Apostles when it comes to dining is the Azure restaurant.
For lunch or with the weather warm enough to sit outside in the evening, the large terrace providing spectacular views over the Atlantic Ocean would have definitely be the place of my choice.
That said, the beautiful decor inside meticulously kept in a maritime style is absolutely stunning and you still can glimpse the sunset through the large floor-to-ceiling windows.
As for the food, expect a great choice of seafood along with traditional African dishes like Springbok or Cape Malay Curry, all carefully prepared by the kitchen with a slight French twist.
In the morning, breakfast is served at the Azure restaurant as well. There is off course the usual well curate breakfast buffet with freshly baked bread and pastries, a selection of cold cuts, cheeses, fresh fruits, yoghurt and cereals along with a hot breakfast section and eggs any style coming directly from the kitchen.
Should you fancy, you can also help yourself to fresh oysters and a glass (or two) of bubbles.
Twelve Apostles Hotel community engagement
If luxury and comfort are not the only criteria when selecting you hotel, you have definitely found your perfect spot at the Twelve Apostles too. The hotel through the Red Carnation brand is a fantastic example in community engagement and putting up high sustainability goals.
12A actively supports the Amy Foundation, a local non-profit organization working to prevent youth violence.
Thus when staying at the hotel, you can count that part of what you pay will be donated to the Amy Foundation.
Another important initiative of the hotel is its sustainability programme to support conservation. This includes water-saving activities and implementing new technology to save energy.
I had the most wonderful two days at the Twelve Apostles Hotel and can’t really wait to come back.