Effort has gone into infusing the hotel with fynbos botanicals (it has developed its own perfume) and references to the Cape’s colonial history, with every corridor and room stuffed with antiques and reproductions, and flamboyant touches, such as chandeliers dripping with crockery as if salvaged from a shipwreck. It could seem a bit too over the top and ‘fuddy duddy’ for some, but it’s got character. It also offers impeccable service from what feels like a happy family, and knowledgeable staff who can offer city orientation, recommendations and bookings.
Accommodation is in 120 rooms and suites with a choice of the harbour or marina views through the French doors. The newly-built spacious two- and three-bedroom suites, with their own kitchens, an ideal choice for families, and although the surrounds are bland, have Table Mountain is the impressive backdrop, and yachts bobbing in the marina below. Rooms on the entrance side of the hotel are popular with repeat guests who favour the views over the authentic working harbour.
The hotel’s one main restaurant offers fine dining that is really rather good: you can opt for a six-course tasting menu (vegetarian option available) although I’d recommend the à la carte. The intimate Bascule bar in the cellar is popular with locals and has arguably the best selection of whisky in the city. Complimentary are high tea and a daily wine orientation in the Signal bar at sunset, with an excellent sommelier, which is a good introduction to South African wines. Facilities are impressive, with a heated outdoor swimming pool, a spa with sauna and steam room, hair salon and a barbers.
Despite its elegance, Cape Grace is one of the most family-friendly options in the city. Staff go out of their way to make children of all ages feel welcome, with daily activities such as gingerbread painting or African storytelling, turn down gifts, aquarium tickets (part of a Family Package), special menus and kid-sized dressing gowns.