It would be difficult to find a better or closer view of the Atlantic Ocean than from the 5-star suites and dining room of Tintswalo Atlantic.
The luxury resort is the only one in Cape Town’s Table Mountain National Park and the arrival there is breathtaking.
Let me back up for a moment. My stay at Tintswalo Atlantic actually started with a pickup at the Cape Town International Airport by our Cape Voyage transfer driver. Paul Birkett was an incredible storyteller, mixing his real life experiences with the history and biology of the area. We drove along past the Cape Town University, which he attended, through magnificent forests, past wine lands and through the narrow mountain pass, Constantia Nek, which takes drivers into Hout Bay.
The nearly hour-long drive went by too quickly. Birkett pulled in at the Tintswalo sign and he announced “we’re here.”
My first thought was, “we were where exactly?” We had stopped at a windswept parking lot at the top of a cliff. That’s when the resort van crested the hill and I realized the views I heard so much about wouldn’t be experienced from the top of the cliff, but ocean level.
The drive down the cliff face on a narrow, paved pathway was vibrant green, so it was a surprise to learn that a wildfire ripped through the Cape Peninsula in March 2015 destroying 70 per cent of the resort’s structures.
But as we were checked in and shown around the living and dining rooms by our host, general manager Ryno Du Rand, I learned that the property’s owners hardly missed a beat. As soon as it was safe to return, they started rebuilding and eight months later, the property reopened on Nov. 1, 2015, less than a year before I arrived.
The amazing part was no staff was let go during the seven month closure. They were either helping clean up and replant the native plants surrounding the area, or they were doing community service work throughout the Cape region.
After the view and the history I didn’t think anything else would impress me. That’s when Ryno opened the carved wooden door to reveal the Zanzibar Room, where we would be staying. Each of the 12 suites in the boutique lodge is named for an island (Lamu, Sicily etc.); each has total privacy and a sliding glass door to its own patio with views of the surf crashing on the shore.
Ryno stood with us as we took in the view then pointed out the sleeping rhino across the bay. It’s not actually a rhinoceros, but the location of the hotel lines up the mountains across the bay to look the part, with the massive Sentinel peak as the horn.
The room itself was perfectly prepared, down to the word “welcome” spelled out in shells. This room was one of the ones destroyed by the fire. However, Ryno was pleased to point to the headboards, which he had found in a nearby antique shop, exact replicas of the ones lost in the blaze.
We were left to get settled in and enjoy our stay, but Ryno (and the rest of the staff) were always nearby to answer questions or provide advice. After a walk on the beach, cut short by a winter rainstorm, the room was the perfect place to watch the ocean and downpour. Feeling a bit lazy, we had canapés delivered, as we watched the last bits of sunlight disappear and the lights come on in the community across the bay.
Dinner was an impressive, three-hour, multi-course affair. It was a set menu, with choice of appetizer and main course and accommodation of dietary restrictions: Tintswalo wants to ensure they accommodate everyone. It’s hard to sing enough praises; the food was comforting, which was perfect as the storm howled outside. A zucchini and blue cheese crumb soup, followed by a sesame tuna and rocket salad; a summer berry and vanilla refresher followed by salmon with new potatoes and a Sicilian caponata. Dessert was a selection of local cheeses accompanied by delicious little candied figs.
Back in the room, we found a fire lit in the small fireplace, a decanter of port for a final nightcap, a coffee/tea station set up for the morning, and the shells spelling out “good night”. I was climbing into bed reflecting on how every detail is thought of, to find one more, a hot water bottle warming the sheets. There is nothing more blissful than feeling cold, sliding into bed and having it already warmed.
The sun was shining brightly the next morning, with all traces of the previous night’s storm gone, save for a few clouds lingering in the distance. Back in the dining room, after our three-course, two hour breakfast we were presented with a small stone. My name was on one side and on the other a simple message ‘may all your dreams come true.’
When the family that owns the 5-star Tintswalo resorts, saw this area and realized they needed a fourth and final hotel, in this exact spot, they made a wish to open Tintswalo Atlantic and cast a stone into the ocean. Every guest that stays can do the same – make a wish and return the rock to the sea. Hopefully my wish will turn out as well as theirs.
I was an invited guest of Tintswalo Atlantic; however, the hotel did not see the review in advance and opinions here are my own.