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The world’s best – on our doorstep

Author: Dean McCoubrey Updated: 12:02 13-07-2017

There's one very significant contradictory and confusing element of being South African. Amidst the terrible disappointment and uncertainty of grants, housing, jobs, junk status, nuclear deals, water restrictions, and Eskom, our country and its citizens refuse to just trudge on – they stand resilient, and our cities defy the African odds.

Joburg's Sandton is the continent's richest square mile. Durban was acknowledged by Mercer as the best SA city for quality of life. Cape Town was awarded best food city in the world by Conde Nast Traveller in 2016, and came second in the top 10 cities globally by Lonely Planet In the same year. This is acclaim indeed.

The city branches outwards with tentacles as far-reaching as Woodstock, with hipsters, coffee shops and eateries widening the net of city culture-cool that Capetonians smugly enjoy.

It's a fact – Cape Town is easily the finest holiday destination in Africa, offering access to an unparalleled diversity of world class entertainment, scenery, shopping, wineries and restaurants. 

At its centre lies the development of the V&A Waterfront which has seemingly exploded in that last few years, even though it seemed bulging at the seams.

With more shopping and global brands, more entertainment and world-class events, new hotels, a new Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art, the new Silo precinct, it attracts a whopping 24.6 million visitors per year.

As a local destination this winter, the V&A offers 450 retail stores, 80 eateries, 40 vendors in the historical pumphouse food market, a world-class aquarium, the giant ferris "Cape Wheel", and any one of 12 premium hotels. 

The most well-known, the One&Only Cape Town, has held the doorway to the V&A Waterfront for over eight years, and there are only a handful of hotels that get city breaks right for parents and children combined.

It was an easy choice for Travel+Leisure’s No. 1 Family Resort in Africa and The Middle East. One&Only has built its name on being a luxury family resort worldwide, with their cornerstone KidsOnly Clubs offering an amazing experience for younger guests, and a welcome (much-needed) breather for busy parents.

They have a signature milk and cookies turndown – complete with junior gowns – and the rooms are well-thought out with inter-leading chambers or family suite options.
For older kids wanting some space, there is a kids ‘business centre’ for computer games and email or web browsing, or kids and parents can share an activity by learning how to Stand Up Paddleboard with an instructor.

For teens and tweens, the spa offers a 'Cleanse & Refresh Facial' (from the age of 16) or the 'Jet Setters Mini Manicure and Pedicure' (from the age of 12.) You could also the day with a massage and dip in the Spa's Thermal Suite, a moody, modern, jacuzzi plunge pool. 

In the afternoon there's afternoon tea at the Vista Bar & Lounge, which is quite spectacular. A magnificent light installation hangs over the bar, with a floor to ceiling glass panoramic of Table Mountain.

Close by, The One&Only's neighbour is The Two Oceans Aquarium, or nearby there's Art Jamming at Breakwater Point. There’s also the Scratch Patch on Dock Road, the Cape Town Diamond Museum, or The Springbok Experience Rugby Museum – an exhibition that celebrates the rich and complex history of South African rugby and the Springboks. Failing all of the above, a trip to Hamley's might seal the deal for the younger members of the family.

The most important thing about an experience at The One&Only is the people. It feels so carefully organised – the transition from area to area is seamless. That's not a guarantee at luxury resorts.

If the turbulent chaos of the last few months has shown me anything, it's that you have to make the most of life, because frankly, you don't know what's coming next.

I, for one, avert myself in travel and family, and when those two combine, I can find myself a million miles away from the worries of the world. On this occasion I found a place that brings those two realms together, right on my doorstep.

Published: 09:30 20-06-2017

Posted by on June 20, 2017.

Categories: Accommodation, Travel

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Updated: 10:47 22-Apr-2018