The legendary African sunset, the wild Atlantic waters, the rolling vineyards: Cape Town, on first glance, seems like a composite of every cinematic cliché of romance ever conceived. But there really is something to it — after all, I started to fall in love with my now-husband as we sat on a cliff overlooking the beach in the neighborhood of Fresnaye. Since the city is such a popular spot for honeymooners, local hotels rise to the challenge, adding romantic touches galore to their already spectacular settings. Lovely inns and B&Bs are tucked away on ocean-side cliffs, vineyard estates, and even on a historic farmstead. You’ll find scenic couples massages, candlelit baths, and leisurely garden strolls aplenty; one of my favorite hotels even has “cheeky” chairs in the guest rooms to set the mood. While most hotels have a heavy dose of romance on offer, here are my five choices for Cape Town’s most atmospheric properties.
Bantry Bay is one of Cape Town's poshest suburbs, and this oceanfront hotel is its best address. The views of the sunset over the Atlantic from the hotel's terraces are magical, and the new three-bedroom lodging option, Villa 2 is a showcase for Ellerman House's extensive South African wine collection.
We ran a story on the opening of this historic Cape Dutch farm-hotel when I was working at Travel + Leisure back in 2009, and it always stuck in my mind as a place I'd like to see someday. So when I moved here last year, it was high on my list. The 12 suites set in former farmhands' cottages evoke a bygone era, and the eight acres of fragrant gardens are perfect for a romantic stroll.
This property in the tony Constantia winelands dates back to the 1700s, but it was redone in 2012 with a distinctly modern sensibility. The 19 rooms have gilded mirrors, under-floor heating, impossibly soft robes, and plush seating, all the makings of a opulent but cozy retreat. One of our favorite mischievous touches: the fun desk chair in the shape of a woman's backside.
With each of the 12 suites inspired by a different island—such as Antigua, Sicily and Zanzibar—you could come back to Tintswalo Atlantic over and over again, and have a dozen different experiences. Nothing spells romance, however, quite like a candlelit bath overlooking the moody Atlantic as it pummels the rocks below your suite.