First image...
Belmont Mount Nelson hotel in Cape Town.

Best of Cape Town

Five insiders -- the city’s top hoteliers -- tell us where to go in the Mother City.

The infinity pool at One&Only Cape Town.
View at Twelve Apostles.

Virtuoso Symposium 2016 was held in Cape Town. Here, top hoteliers tell us their favorite spots in this beautify South African city. 
Interviewed by Sarah Khan 

Xavier Lablaude, Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel
Don’t leave our hotel without: Enjoying the Chef’s Table experience for lunch or dinner. The playful, slightly edgy, and theatrical interactive culinary encounter takes place at a table in the kitchen.

Three restaurants not to miss:

  • Chefs Warehouse for its casual style and ever-changing menu of small plates.
  • The Kitchen for healthy breakfasts or salads and sandwiches at lunch.
  • I love Black Sheep’s seven-hour slow-roasted leg of lamb with bacon and garlic – note that it serves six and requires 72 hours’ advance notification.
Great for a Drink: Straight No Chaser has excellent live jazz.

Neighborhood I show visiting friends: Kloof Street is lined with the best of local designs, arts, crafts, galleries, restaurants, collectibles, and coffee shops. It’s always vibrant, trendy, and inspirational.

Favorite day trip: Head to Kalk Bay for lunch at Harbour House Restaurant – great seafood and oysters.

Souvenir find:  One look at Wonki Ware pottery and you’ll see why it’s totally different – it’s, well, wonky, and it has a great story. The studios are in George, but you find it locally at Blink.

To feel like a true Capetonian: Attend a rugby game at Newlands Stadium or visit Milnerton Flea Market on the weekend.

Where you’ll likely find me for brunch: The Pot Luck Club for its relaxed ambience and that view.

Key to Cape Town:  Save time to explore the fantastic art galleries; a few favorites are Everard Read, SMAC, Gallery MOMO, and Ebony. And this year marks the fourth edition of the hotel’s Summer of Sculpture, in collaboration with Everard Read.

Sandy Pollard, Cape Grace

Don’t leave our hotel without: Trying Signal Restaurant’s tasting menu: seven absolutely delicious courses of contemporary Cape cuisine paired with local wines.

Three restaurants not to miss: If you only have time for one activity: See the city from the top of Table Mountain. Whether you experience the mountain via an exhilarating hike or the Cableway, it’s not to be missed.

To feel like a true Capetonian: Hit the Sea Point promenade. It’s the best spot to go for a run or a quiet stroll, and afterward you can reward yourself with a gelato.

Best beach: Llandudno Beach is a real gem. It’s usually a lot quieter than the rest of the beaches in Cape Town and is absolutely beautiful.

Secret to a great night out: Take in a film at the Pink Flamingo Rooftop Cinema. Don’t tell anyone!

Richard Lyon, One&Only Cape Town
Don’t leave our hotel without:  A visit to the One&Only Spa, followed by some pool time.

Three restaurants not to miss:  
  • La Colombe, with a wonderful setting on top of Constantia Nek and great nighttime views over Cape Town as you arrive and depart.
  • The Test Kitchen, voted one of the world’s top 50 restaurants for the past two years.
  • Either of Harbour House Restaurant’s locations – choose Kalk Bay (Live Bait Restaurant) for the best sea views and waves crashing on the rocks; the waterfront is more convenient, right on the harbor, and has a lively but sophisticated atmosphere.
Favorite day trip: Head out to Cape Point and return by way of Boulders Beach to see the penguins.

Best cup of coffee:  Origin in De Waterkant. I drink black coffee without sugar, so taste is crucial, and they get it right.

To feel like a true Capetonian: Make your way to Camps Bay on Sunday morning and spend the day among its beaches and cafés.

Best beach: Noordhoek is a beautiful long beach with crystal-clear water and great surfing – but the water is freezing.

Local secret: The wineries and farms around Constantia and the southern suburbs are the best! The area is only 20 minutes from the CBD, but it’s another world.

Michael Nel, Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa

Don’t leave our hotel without: Enjoying Cape Town’s best sunset view while sipping a strawberry daiquiri in The Leopard Bar.

Three restaurants not to miss: If you only have time for one activity: See the area by motorcycle sidecar. A recommended route: the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront via Camps Bay, through Hout Bay and over Chapman’s Peak. Stop for a drink at one of the vantage points and continue on for lunch at Harbour House in Kalk Bay. Return to the city via Muizenberg. I guarantee you’ll fall in love with Cape Town!

Souvenir find:  A handcrafted coaster from Original T Bag Designs, an art workshop that grew out of a project to help the local Imizamo Yethu community. Pick one up at their shop and studio in Hout Bay.

Best beach: Llandudno has perfect white sand and great waves for bodysurfing.

Ella Cuyler, Ellerman House
Don’t leave our hotel without: Trying the Dom Pérignon Experience, a tasting for two that pairs a bottle of Dom with a bento box of South African dishes from our executive chef.

Three restaurants not to miss:
  • The Test Kitchen tops my list – book well in advance as the waiting period is a couple of months.
  • I always recommend The Village Idiot to friends wanting to try true South African food.
  • Chalk & Cork is a go-to favorite: They have great tapas, the menu frequently changes, and they pour some of the country’s top wines.
Great for a drink:  Tjing-Tjing, always. It’s a small and intimate rooftop bar on Longmarket Street.

To feel like a true Capetonian: Visit one of the many Saturday markets, then grab a drink along the Camps Bay strip.

Neighborhood I show visiting friends: Woodstock, for its Saturday farmers’ market, secondhand and vintage shops, and art galleries.

Best cup of coffee:  Honest Chocolate, a small café on Wale Street. Not only is the coffee great, but they have a really good chocolate-banana loaf.

Secret to a great day in Cape Town: Ditch the map and simply walk from one end of the city to the other – it’s small enough and a good way to experience it like a local.

Originally appeared in the Virtuoso Cape Town Symposium Event Directory.