AC Hotel Cape Town Waterfront has one foot in the city and the other in the harbour


CHOOSING a hotel in a central location like the V&A Waterfront for your business or pleasure trip is always going to make a lot of sense.

Holidaymakers will revel in the proximity of a number of activities, from shopping to dining out, to watersports and sightseeing. Those “on the job” – so to speak – will benefit from the CBD being mere minutes away, and the Cape Town International Convention Centre even closer.

The recently-opened AC Hotel Cape Town Waterfront fulfills all these geographical requirements. The entrance faces directly onto the harbour so rooms on that side of the hotel get the full view of trains, trucks, forklifts, and all the other massive equipment necessary to on and offload containers to and from cargo ships berthed mere metres away.

The side effect of this is that if you leave your window open, it’s going to be noisy (but exciting). Also, because the hotel is so new, it’s virtually unheard of on Google Maps or ride apps which will insist you drive along the road on the other side of the railway tracks, and therefore not easy to find. However, if you request when making your reservation, you’ll be given proper directions (in under the archway of the CTICC) and should arrive with no problem.

The hotel is modern and decorated in a clean, elegant minimalist style, from the public areas like the lounge, bar and restaurant, to the rooms. Nothing is wasted, not even extra toiletries or towels, tea or coffee, and I appreciated this somewhat Spartan approach which yet did not sacrifice comfort. You get what you need, and I’m pretty sure if you require more, you’ll receive it. No one is that unreasonable.

The austerity of the hotel puts me in the business traveller state of mind. For example, if you need a snack or a water, you can get those downstairs at the shop. There will be two small bottles of complimentary water in the fridge, but if you need more I strongly recommend you get it elsewhere; the shop charges a small fortune.

There is a fitness centre and a pool deck which overlooks the mountain side of the property, as do half the rooms. The smart lounge and bar area, with facilities for catching up on your emails or having meetings, are ideal for working on the fly. With all of this, I felt remarkably comfortable and calm in this hotel, and the entire stay was a pleasant experience.

This was helped along by the friendliness of the staff, who greet and welcome you at every turn. In addition, we had excellent cocktails at the bar – complete with snacky nibbles of the gourmet variety to tide us over till dinner.

Photo by Bianca Coleman

The food in the restaurant was exceptional. I began with what they call an exotic tomato salad, with torn burrata, pesto and crispy quinoa crumble, while my friend had charred cauliflower and truffle croquettes. We both ordered the sticky lamb ribs with herb yoghurt and apple and fennel slaw, which were simply amazing.

The breakfast buffet the next morning was equally impressive, and supplemented by a la carte. From this I chose the “breakfast cazuela” which is eggs baked in tomato, (optional) chorizo, onion and pepper (the red and yellow kind) sauce, and I was pleased.

Photo by Bianca Coleman

A rather nice feature offered to guests on a complimentary basis, is access to the City Sightseeing water taxi which plies the canal between the convention centre and the One&Only hotel. This means you can take a lovely little scenic trip to either of these destinations, whether you have another meeting or are going on a shopping spree.

Of course, the One&Only is a gateway to the V&A Watefront: the aquarium is right there, as is the City Sightseeing stop from which a number of hop-on hop off tours in all directions depart, and to which they eventually return. In addition, City Sightseeing conducts Peninsula tours to the winelands and Cape Point and Boulders to see the penguins, a trip that includes a day on the Franschhoek Wine Tram, and a township tour. You can even book helicopter flips, or a jaunt in a motorcycle sidecar.

Photo by Bianca Coleman

The water taxi is gentle and no sea legs are required, but if you’d rather stay on terra firma, there is also a road shuttle to both the Waterfront and the convention centre.

Work or play, they’ve got you covered.


Address: Dockrail Road, Foreshore, Cape Town

Telephone: 021 137 1100

Email: [email protected]


  • This story first appeared in Independent Travel on March 23, 2019
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