Freedom to explore

MAY 2015 – Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront with its prestigious five-star hotels, yacht marina, upmarket boutiques and restaurants is top of every visitor’s list. A luxury apartment in the quiet residential area gives the best of both worlds: peace, seclusion and privacy with easy access to the Waterfront buzz and the attractions of the city centre.

There’s a growing trend among discerning travellers, especially those travelling with extended family and friends, to choose the privacy and independence of luxury self-catering accommodation. While it may lack the immediate glamour of a five-star hotel, those in the know have long since discovered that by choosing the right luxury serviced apartments and villas you get all the convenience and comfort of a top hotel, together with the freedom to create a home from home and live life at your own pace. Eat out at all of the best restaurants in town, and use the fully equipped kitchen  to throw together a simple meal with delicacies garnered from the local artisan food market, or indulge in a leisurely breakfast in bed. Even better the kitchen is magically restored to pristine splendour by the daily housekeeping service while you are out exploring the city.

In Cape Town, where there is so much to see and do, so many places to eat out (the Mother City was recently voted third-best food city in the world by readers of Condé Nast Traveller) king a centrally located base is key to enjoying a relaxing holiday. When it comes to location, Lawhill Luxury Apartments ticks all the boxes. Tucked into a secure residential complex in the prestigious Waterfront area overlooking the marina, right next door to the legendary One&Only hotel, a short walk to the restaurants, shops, markets and boat rides of the V&A Waterfront and mere minutes by car to central Cape Town and Table Mountain, the luxury serviced apartments are ideally placed.

All the apartments look out over the canal to the marina and the One&Only island with its famous spa and curving swimming pool. Waking up to a glorious day, seagulls crying overhead, light glinting off the water, a fresh salt breeze easing the heat of summer, breakfast on the wide terrace catching the morning sunshine is a must.

Forward-thinking guests place a grocery shopping order with the apartments’ concierge service to be delivered for their arrival, so that there’s no need to go out for breakfast or to do your own shopping – unless you want to. Lingering over coffee and croissants while planning the day ahead, you need simply look out of the side windows to see whether or not Table Mountain is covered by its famous ‘tablecloth’. If it’s clear and still, ring down to reception to ask them to book cable-car tickets; it’s just what is needed for a fuss-free Cape Town holiday.

With luxurious contemporary décor by Marius van der Merwe of M Interiors, the 30 apartments offer a level of comfort that makes cocooning appeal. Soft couches with shaggy throws, cushy bar-stools upholstered in faux textured leather, twisted horn sculptures and artefacts create a restrained African chic, with a lustre of light from quartz wall finishes and individual artworks reflecting the shimmer of water outside. Of course there’s free Wi-Fi and satellite TV, with a large flat-screen TV in both lounge and master bedroom, as well as air-conditioning. Best of all, the deep terraces flank the whole length of the apartment so that each bedroom has sliding doors opening out onto its own outdoor space.

For the ultimate in luxurious Waterfront living, choose one of the two penthouses. Savour sundowners with the best views of a fabulous Cape Town sunset from the wraparound terrace, relax on sumptuous upholstered sun loungers beside your own private rooftop swimming pool on summer afternoons, and spread out in the huge, light, double-volume lounge and open-plan kitchen. Three en-suite bedrooms, a guest bathroom and a second lounge, as well as private access directly from the wood-panelled lift complete the picture.

The three-bedroom superior apartments are also exceptionally spacious (228 square metres plus a 121 square-metre terrace) and the two-bedroom superior apartments on the ground floor include a private garden with plunge pool and direct access from the canalside walkway. Then there is a further selection of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, all with the same luxury furnishings and amenities.

The efficient Marina Estate security service issues guests with digital access cards at registration and these not only allow entrance at the main gate but also unlock the pedestrian gate linking the apartments with the One&Only next door. So a luscious brunch at Reuben’s restaurant or a gourmet dinner at Nobu is only a two-minute walk away.

The canalside walkway continues through the hotel grounds to the public Waterfront area close to the Two Oceans Aquarium and the newly opened Watershed, which showcases high-end craft and design. Robben Island tours, yacht excursions, the upmarket shopping and food markets of the Waterfront are all within easy walking distance, so your vehicle might well remain parked in the secure, free underground parking at Lawhill until the urge to explore further afield strikes. Then it’s only two minutes to the city centre and its many attraction, or onto the N1 freeway that heads out to the Cape Winelands around Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl for beautiful scenery and wine tastings. Or why not drive around the coast along spectacular Chapman’s Peak drive to Cape Point.

One joy of staying in your own private apartment for a long stay is that not every day has to be spent out and about. A quiet day in might appeal after a long-haul journey, to laze around with a book and a feelgood movie, have a massage and restore body and soul. One call to the friendly concierge is all that is needed to arrange housekeeping for a time that suits, book a massage therapist to come to you, or make an appointment for an afternoon of pampering at the lavish One&Only spa just across the canal.

By evening the glittering city lights beckon and the concierge service is there to make a dinner reservation for one of the many excellent Cape Town restaurants. Foodies looking to visit notable eateries such as The Test Kitchen should book weeks in advance to secure a table and in season many top restaurants book up fast, so be sure to discuss restaurant bookings at the beginning of your stay to enjoy the best of the best.

For those craving independence, privacy, space and luxury when they travel, Lawhill Luxury Apartments could well become the place they call home whenever they’re in Cape Town.

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