Camps Bay in Cape Town is generally what summer dreams are made of: cruising down the drive with open windows, hair catching the ocean air, sipping cocktails as the sun sets languidly on the horizon and, of course, spending many lazy hours relaxing on the beach. But we recently discovered that this coastal strip is just as enjoyable during colder weather.
Raising the bar at South Beach hotel
Late on a wintry Friday afternoon, we packed our bags and headed down to an (unsurprisingly) empty Camps Bay. Our spot for the night? One of South Beach boutique hotel
's 10 luxurious suites – a heated Miami-style, self-catering room with a sublime view over the Atlantic. Extra seasonal touches included faux fur blankets and the biggest, fluffiest towels we've ever seen. Adorned with art by Lionel Smit and Marieke Prinsloo-Rowe, the white-on-white interiors are chic and decidedly modern.
Although it's described as self-catering, South Beach stocks its room refrigerators with items from upmarket retailer Woolworths, perfect for late-night snacking while enjoying a cosy evening cuddled up in front of the TV. For breakfast, expect a delivery of freshly baked croissants and baguettes, which you can enjoy on your balcony while watching the sun warm up the rest of Camps Bay.
A delectable dinner at Mantra Cafe
Before settling in for the night, we headed outdoors to scout for a dinner spot, and gourmet concept store Melissa's newest addition, Mantra Café,
caught our eye. Situated on the second floor, next to the well-known Café Caprice, the eatery's stylish yet laid-back atmosphere is ideal for a warming winter meal, with a sliding glass facade shielding diners from the nippy sea breeze while providing panoramic vistas that make you feel like you're right on the beach. The pared-back interior makes use of a soft, raw colour palette and features decor elements by local designers.
After snacking on delicious home-baked bread, we sampled the cocktail menu and the mojito came out tops. We spied pork ribs and prawns on the à la carte menu and were instantly sold. For starters, we sampled the tuna ceviche and fried calamari (the ceviche was a winner) and dessert was a zesty lemon tart. In winter, Mantra offers a set menu that includes sweet potato soup as a starter, bouillabaisse, pork belly or spicy lamb curry as a main and a distinctively South African naartjie pavlova for dessert – all for R230 per person.
After a brisk walk back to South Beach, we were all too happy to escape the winter chill and snuggle into our fluffy beds – the sound of waves breaking on the shoreline serving as a lulling reminder of the icy Atlantic Ocean, just a few 100m beyond our windows. PS: for intrepid fitness enthusiasts, there's also a fully equipped gym, as well as retro bicycles for guests who fancy a scenic ride along the coast.
While not our go-to winter escape in the past, Camps Bay proved to be a brilliant choice – and we'll definitely be back for more.
for more details.