As soon as the Tintswalo Atlantic Boutique Hotel‘s gates swung open, I knew that we were in for something special.
My colleague and I visited this new and improved boutique hotel to report first-hand what you can expect. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, it was rebuilt and refurbished after a fire engulfed parts of the property mere months ago. Now finally complete, they are opening the doors to the public on 1 October 2019.
A private vehicle collected us and we descended slowly down Chapman’s Peak until we reached the pebble-strewn shoreline. Washed by the Atlantic Ocean, sunlight skipped playfully over the frothy waves.
Welcome to Paradise
The first thing I noticed when I stepped out of the vehicle was the sound, a swishing song of crashing waves. This ‘white noise’ was one of my favourite things about Tintswalo. It’s as if it rewires your brain. Like a lullaby singing you to sleep when you finally rest your head on the marshmallow-like pillow at the end of the night.
We approached the entrance and the staff’s radiant faces greeted us (which can certainly be attributed to the fact that this haven is their office). They handed us our welcome drinks, refreshing white wine spritzers infused with fresh granadilla and charred orange.
Drink in hand, we walked through the large wooden front doors, and I suddenly felt like I’ve been teleported to an island in the middle of nowhere. The only luxury boutique hotel in the Table Mountain National Park, this exclusive location makes it one of Cape Town’s most desirable accommodation options.
Dripping in chandeliers, the main lodge is layered with luxurious fabrics in soft teal and grey tones, and the glamour of it all urged me to pause and drink it in.
There seems to be a love affair between modern and antique, a juxtaposed yet harmonious relationship. You can also see that a lot of love was put into every fabric choice, stroke of paint, stitching, and all the trinkets that adorn Tintswalo. It was later explained to us that the owners travel across the globe and carefully select treasures to bring back, placing them in their perfect spot.
Walking through the concertina glass doors, the indoors seem to spill out onto the main deck. Luxuriously soft carpets, sofas, and armchairs invite you to flop down and stare at the panoramic views for hours.
Meet the Islands
After enjoying our welcome drinks, we had to tear ourselves away from the view and followed a wooden walkway leading us to the suites. They are all named after islands that the owners have visited, each with a unique theme and colour scheme. My favourite, however, was their large wooden front doors carved with intricate patterns.
I stayed in the Saint-Marie suite, named after an island on the coast of Madagascar. Excessively romantic with a fantastically feminine salmon colour palette, it’s adorned with antiques and opulent fabrics. I immediately felt like a princess and had a spring in my step as I padded barefoot through the suite.
The bathroom with seashells dancing across the walls is the heart of the suite. A large, freestanding bath is set against the window overlooking the ocean and begs you to get right in. If bathing is not for you (although this bath might make you change your mind), it has a spacious walk-in shower. The bathroom was definitely my favourite part of the suite.
That is until I went outside to my private balcony. With a floating ‘pod’ chair and a double outdoor sofa, you will undoubtedly spend a lot of time here. I just sat there, swinging slowly and feeling every bit of stress melt away as I listened to the waves and watched Mother Nature show off.
Sundowners and Canapés
Making our way back to the main deck, we were offered the cocktail of the day, a strawberry daiquiri, before we settled in to watch the sunset.
Moments later, a tapas-style trio of bite-sized treats was placed in front of us, consisting of chilli bite, king prawn and springbok with red onion relish canapés.
The most memorable part of our entire stay was definitely watching the sunset. With an unobstructed view of the sun sinking behind the mountain, painting the sky in different hues, it was a spectacular scene that I will not soon forget.
Dining and Wining
When the sun’s show was over, it was time for dinner. They served our three-course à la carte dinner in their dining-room-style restaurant, complete with a crackling fireplace.
The kitchen team is headed up by Chef Thando Jaxa, and he stepped out to explain his menu to us, beaming with pride. We really enjoyed the open kitchen layout as watching them prepare our meals added a nice touch to the dining experience.
For my first course, I opted for the slow-cooked beef short rib with smoked chive mash, roasted cauliflower, and beef jus. The mash was so divine, I could eat mouthfuls! It definitely left me wanting more.
For my main dish, I selected the roasted pork belly (because if it’s on the menu, I always need to try it) with cumin sweet potato, long stem broccoli and cranberry jus. The crackling was perfect and the dish very flavourful, so I would definitely recommend it!
After that, I finished it all off with a classic crème brûlée, served with fresh berries and cream.
They also have a beautiful small wine cellar in the restaurant that I admired for some time. The owners have a long-standing relationship with Hout Bay Vineyards, so they stock many of their wines.
If you’d like a nightcap, visit their bar where they have a selection of whiskeys and other drinks.
My gown was placed neatly on my bed when I returned to my room. I slipped it on and could not believe how plush it was! You will not want to take it off for the duration of your stay.
A fortune cookie in a glass jar rested on my bedside cabinet and the sheets were pulled aside, ready for me to fall straight into bed. But, of course, I had to go outside and sit on the balcony one more time before I could call it a day.
Rise and Shine
When I finally chased the sleep from my eyes the next morning, I was torn between staying embedded in the sheets or to go out on the balcony to appreciate the sunrise. I decided to do both, flinging open the curtains and doors to appreciate the view from my little nest in bed.
After a refreshing shower, I made my way to the main deck for breakfast where our table was waiting. They even gave us blankets to ward off the chilly morning breeze.
As they explained breakfast to us, we listened, wide-eyed. A three-course breakfast was coming our way.
Over coffee and freshly-squeezed orange juice, we both gushed about the experience so far until our first dish arrived, homemade muesli with Greek yoghurt and a berry preserve.
This was followed by a three-tiered étagère of canapés, served with mini croissants, pastries and toast. The first tier was made up of smoked salmon, capers, lime and cream cheese, followed by cold meats and pickled veggies. The bottom tier featured a selection of cheese and fruit.
The third and final course was a hot breakfast ordered from their menu. We both chose the toasted English muffin with wilted spinach, smoked salmon and soft poached eggs topped with a mustard Hollandaise sauce. A word of advice, take it easy and don’t force yourself to finish each course as this really is a breakfast fit for a king!
A Bitter-Sweet Farewell
We sat there, tummies and hearts full and not wanting to leave. We had to return to reality when they placed a basket with two ‘wishing stones’ on our table, explaining that all guests have to make a wish before they depart. You do this by casting a pebble in the ocean.
I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and launched my pebble over my shoulder. Although it barely made it to the waves, I felt lighter and hopeful.
With singing yet heavy hearts, we finally made our way back to the private vehicle that will take us back to our car. It was only by making a promise to myself that I would return soon that I managed to shake off the disappointment of having to leave this special place.
Until next time, Tinstwalo. Until next time.
Can you picture yourself here?
Featured image credit: Tintswalo Atlantic
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