IT’S been a relatively “slow” summer in Cape Town, with our dreaded annual heatwave apparently yet to make an appearance. When it gets too hot to cope, our sweaty desire turns to plunging into a beautiful blue swimming pool.
Obviously not everyone has one of these in their back yards; some of us live in apartment blocks, and then of course, there are still water restriction in place. In these instances, however, we can turn to hotels which open their doors to day visitors to while away the sunny hours at their poolsides. In most cases, in-house guests will get preference but as the peak holiday season winds down – but the weather remains fabulous – there’re plenty of opportunities for us regular folk.
Belmond Mount Nelson in Gardens has a large pool with a deep end – unusual for hotel pools, in which you can normally stand at any end. It’s set in the middle of a rolling emerald green lawn which is set up with loungers, towels and umbrellas, and an army of helpful, friendly staff who will bring you drinks.
Changing and shower facilities are available in the Librisa Spa, and lunch is included in the deal; choose from two dishes from the a la carte for R395, or upgrade to the fabulous full buffet for a tiny bit more at R420. On Sundays you get the full jazz lunch buffet for R495. The pool is open from 11am till 5pm daily, and comes with the extra delight of a family of Egyptian geese – mom, dad and babies – who paddle serenely around, with an air of mild exasperation at the humans invading “their” pool.
- Belmond Mount Nelson, 76 Orange St, Gardens, telephone 021 483 1000.
15 On Orange Hotel, Autograph Collection has recently undergone a huge multi-million Rand refurbishment which included the installation of a stunning pool and deck on the reception/restaurant/bar level. It overlooks Orange Street, and has views of Table Mountain and Lion’s Head.
Here adults pay R200 (children R100) for the pleasure of lazing on a lounger between dips in the water. Drinks and meals can be ordered, and the menu includes a new bowl selection. My friend Allison aka Cape Town Diva (pictured with me above) had the green Thai chicken and prawn curry bowl, and I had the teriyaki salmon – both utterly delicious. With a bottle of bubbles in an ice bucket, this was a great afternoon on the doorstep of the city.
- 15 On Orange Autograph Collection, corner Orange Street & Grey’s Pass, Gardens, telephone 021 469 8000.
Musgrave Gin is the first locally distilled gin brand to open its own bar in South Africa and you’ll find it at The Hilton Hotel City Centre.
The existing Signal Hill Terrace Bar was restyled to create a chic inner-city refuge from suburban hustle and bustle. Hotel guests and day visitors are welcome to enjoy the bar and pool deck this summer where they will have the opportunity to sample Musgrave Gin’s famous cocktails, such as The Gintleman and Ebony Rose.
Along with the cocktail menu, there are delicious bites, salads, baskets, sliders, a newly structured wine menu, a shisha menu, a non-alcoholic menu by Nettari Syrups, craft beers and desserts.
Adorned with comfy cushions and fluffy towels, the pool area is where views, lounging, lunching, meetings, shisha lounge, gin cocktails and weekly activations will punctuate your experience.
Every last Friday of every month, expect to be welcomed by dried and fresh fruits, herbs, botanicals, edible flowers, rose petals, spices, a range of syrups and purees by Nettari on the Botanical Bar, for Botanical Bloom to dress up your own G&Ts with fabulous garnishes.
Botanical Bloom resident DJs Calvin Dely and Tim Jankovich pick up the tempo and boost Friday moods playing deep house on the pool deck. You can bring your swimsuit and enjoy a dip or simply sit back and enjoy the atmosphere.
Day visitors to The Musgrave Gin Bar are urged to book loungers, tables or shisha booths at the Signal Hill Terrace by calling The Hilton Hotel City Centre on 021 481 3700.
Find it on the mezzanine floor of the hotel at 126 Buitengracht Street. There is underground parking and free WiFi for visitors. For more information, email [email protected] [email protected]@hilton.com
At the juncture of Sea Point and Bantry Bay, it is almost completely sheltered from the notorious summer South Easter which can ruin many a holidaymaker’s day.
This means you can lounge by the pool at The President Hotel in comfort and style without having your cocktail blown out your hand. Entry for a day at the pool is subject to availability and day visitors are urged to book in advance (via [email protected]) to guarantee access. Unfortunately, if the hotel is at full capacity the pool and terrace area is reserved for in-house guests.
A minimum spend of R125 per adult will apply to all day visitors who wish to make use of the pool. A voucher will be issued upon arrival and can be used for the purchase of food or beverages from any of the restaurant, café or bars.
No minimum spend applies to children when accompanied by an adult (maximum of two children per adult).
The President Hotel is at 4 Alexander Road, Bantry Bay, telephone 021 434 8111.
- This story first appeared in Weekend Argus on February 2, 2019