INSPIRING THE GREATS
Evoking powerful emotions, the Roving Ambassador discovers this pearl of the Atlantic.
You know you have arrived when your private escorts awaits you at Airport Arrivals. You are whisked away in a black SUV, chilled face cloth in one hand, ice-cold water in the other. A charming drive follows, past the impressive glass homes of Camps Bay and the colourful fishing village of Hout Bay, bush to the left, the ocean to the right and finally onto the magnificent Chapman’s Peak Drive. Carefully carved from Chapman’s Peak Mountain, the road winds precariously around the crags, boasting unparelled panoramas of ocean and horizon. And then suddenly, the horizon drops from view, as you are whisked down a steep, curvaceous driveway and she appears, as if by magic…Tintswalo Atlantic.
The only hotel situated within the Table Mountain National Park, the property is nestled in a myriad of rocky outcrops, rugged cliffs, shrubs, lush bush, fynbos and wild flowers such as the wild, purple geraniums indigenous to the area. Table Mountain National Park is also a world heritage site and is renown for its rich biodiversity. Completely hidden from view, draped by nature, the hotel sits low, right on the coastline, barely touching the earth and leaving the gentlest of footprints. Facing the Atlantic Ocean, you really don’t get better than this and it truly is all about location, location, location.
Tintswalo Atlantic is the sister hotel to Tintswalo at Waterfall, Tintswalo Safari Lodge and The Manor House. (Tintswalo is Shangaan for an intangible feeling of love, peace and gratitude bestowed upon someone offering you a meaningful and worthy gift.) The Corbett family was granted permission to build an eco-friendly and sustainable hotel by the National Parks Board and this, and so much more, has been accomplished. A harmonious marriage of nature with luxury, sophistication and world-class style, it prides itself on impeccable service, friendly accommodating staff and wonderful amenities.
Here you are about as close to the water as you can get. The rooms hug the coastline and the ever-changing waters of the Atlantic Ocean lap the pebbled beach just mere metres below. There are only 10 island suites and a two-bedroom presidential suite; each looks out onto water, mountain and the bay where yachts and tugboats bob side by side. Each room perches on the water’s edge and boasts a wooden balcony on which to while away your day. Whales and dolphins and even adventurous kayakers are common sightings. The rooms are unique and individually designed after their namesakes, famous international islands. The Presidential suites are called Elba and Corsica and boast a French Hungenot influence; Robben Island pays tribute to Nelson Mandela, and Lamu is a Swahili island off the east coast of Africa. Sicily is a formal suite named after the famous Italian island, while Sante Marie Island, off Madagascar, is feminine, filled with glass and light; Cousine, a Seychelles Island, is a sanctuary of shells, fish and sealife made up in aqua colours. Madura is a masculine suit, which represents the Balinese islands, whereas Antigua from the Caribbean and Zanzibar, the popular east African island, are both colourful and vibrant. Princes is named after the Turkish Island and exudes Byzantine influence, with a terracotta and clay palette.
i stayed in Ithaca – named after the Greek Island – it embraces a gorgeous array of white and blue soft finishings and decor. A striking blue tinted glass chandelier hangs over an enormous bed and Persian carpets sit within the spacious bathroom. A large open shower and a bathtub, looking straight out to sea, make lingering in your boudoir a must, while a 300-year-0ld Milkwood leaning onto the balcony is quite simply majestic. The feel is luxury and comfort. Air conditioning, underfloor heating, extensive coffee and tea choices and daily touches of wild flowers and shells, add to the exclusivity and contentment of the space.
The main areas of the lodge comprise an open plan kitchen, dining area, large deck with a heated jacuzzi and lounge and bar. Intimate, and exclusive, the space is decorated in a variety of luxurious fabrics and textures, using colours of the sand and sea as inspiration. Comfortable sofas and chairs allow you to linger over meals or drinks while taking in the exquisite views and surrounds, while fireplaces are dotted throughout, as well as in all the rooms, to ward off any cold fronts.
And if the devastating views and sumptuous interiors were not enough, Tintswalo Atlantic is carving a foodie reputation for itself too. Dining here is a theatre of activity, as the open design allows guests and chefs to interact while magical bites of heaven are created. Chef Je’antelle van Staden and Uzane Pohl create warm, traditional dishes with flair and ingenuity. Atlantic food is personal and the chefs cater to your needs, allowing you to enjoy a private dinner in your suite, inside the restaurant or out on the deck. Five course meals are on offer in the evenings, and i enjoyed the flavours of pan-fried kingklip on a bed of sweet potato and corn and the delectable roasted rack of lamb medallions served with creamy polenta. Lunch can be ordered whenever you like, but its best to keep some space for the traditional high tea served in the afternoons. A gorgeous array of mouthwatering treats, both savoury and sweet, are served with homemade coffee shakes, juice and lemonade. Think chocolate cake, apple tart, choc chip biscuits, salmon wraps, quiche and fruit skewers, i was in heaven. But best of all, breakfast is served whenever you like. Bliss! No pesky closing times, you can simply drift in and enjoy a feast fit for a king. There are no overwhelming buffets, instead a three-course breakfast is beautifully served and laid out for you. My favourite meal of the day, a trio of muesli, fresh fruit and yoghurt is first, a traditional full English breakfast or perhaps you prefer flapjacks, bacon and maple syrup and then the hearty meal is finished off with an array of croissants, Danishes, cheese and jams. Arrive hungry and take your time. There’s nothing quite like a long leisurely breakfast, getting lost in the ocean, while eating the last crumbs of hot buttered toast dripping with homemade honey and sipping on cappuccino.
After filling up, it’s time for some activities. For some rejuvenation, indulge in a spa treatment in the comfort of your room. A wonderful therapist is on hand to ease away any tension and restore your body, soul and mind. The adventurous can visit some of the amazing sights nearby. Discover half-day city tours of Cape Town, wine tours, shark cage diving and guided walks in the park, where bird sightings of Grey Backed Cisticola, Karoo Prinia and the Cape Sugarbird are a given. Chapman’s PeakDrive possesses some of the dramatic views the city has to offer and guests can request a day pass at the toll gate. The hotel is also on hand to help you choose and book, adding a wonderful personal touch to you visit.
However, if you are more inclined to remain certical on one of the comfy deckchairs, you can rest assured that complete and utter relaxation can well be the highlight of your hotel experience. My advice – simply wallow in the heated pool (offers a warm respite from the Cape’s erratic winds) and soak in the views as the ocean and horizon merge. And ahead, sturdy and awe-inspiring, the Sentinel guards its post, keeping a lookout for fairytale pirates and mermaids.
Tintswalo Atlantic is quite simply breathtaking. It’s position really does surprise and its proximity to the water is sensational. The ultimate escape for romance, the space is private and many a nook allows for quiet moments and contemplation. i Just couldn’t help but get lost in the ocean, it’s pale, steely waters mesmerising as the waves peak and fall in dramatic fashion.
A jewel in the crown of the National Park, Tintswalo Atlantic is a destination that needs to be experienced to be believed. Wild and resplendent, it continues to rouse and tug the heartstrings of all who visit.