The waves gently caress the smooth boulders protecting the restaurant and rooms. White squares across the bay remind us that civilization isn’t far, however, the enveloping mountainside and sweet sea scent make us feel a million miles away from life’s stresses.
Sipping on Aperol in a low-hanging seat, the hotel may have wifi throughout, but the ASMR of the Atlantic ocean has captured our attention. The small bay pulses like a carefully manicured Boomerang, the sweeping break washing back and forth on the rocky shoreline.
Initially, a boy scouts’ camping ground Tintswalo Atlantic has become the benchmark for 5-star accommodation in the Mother City. Hugging the curved Chapman’s Peak, the guest parking is just before the toll gate to Noordhoek. A people carrier whisks visitors down the winding, winding road to the bottom of the mountain, transporting guests to a whole new world of beach living, the finest food, refined liquor and indulgent views.
Leaving our suitcases for the concierge to deliver to our room, we sign in at the reception/shop before stepping inside. As light beams penetrate the glass doors; a crackling fire and respectful bartender’s smile is what keeps the hotel entrance warm.
We have lunch booked at the famous Chef’s Warehouse, the in-house restaurant at Tintswalo Atlantic, and can’t wait to sit down and absorb the views for hours on end while indulging in some of Cape Town’s best cuisine.
Lunch at Chef’s Warehouse Tintswalo Atlantic
“I wonder what time they got up to chop these carrots?” The perfect 5cm by 5cm squares with delicately smoked walnut, pumpkin seeds and burnt thyme foam is just one of the dishes on the Chef’s Warehouse tasting menu for two (R1500).
The Badenhorst Chenin blanc is going down a treat as course by course of exquisite plates arrive at our table. As someone who prefers not to eat seafood, Chef’s Warehouse is one of the few restaurants where I eat all courses without adjustments. The langoustine and leek with champagne sabayon, presented in dried sea urchin shell, is one of my favourite seafood dishes to date.
The risotto is also out of this world. (Slightly annoying because I’ve made a dozen risottos and always felt they were good – until Chef’s Warehouse showed me up!) I think the secret is in the rice they use. It could also be the years and years of expertise going into the dish but hey, what’s a couple of decades between friends!
The food at Tintswalo is delicious, the environment is relaxing albeit high end and the views really are out of this world. There simply isn’t another restaurant like this in Cape Town.
Family Cabin at Tintswalo Atlantic
After lunch we make our way to our two-bedroom suite called Elba and Corsica. Usually booked out for families or two couples, the local’s special allowed us to nab this one-of-a-kind cabin due to availability and indulge in some much-needed mother-daughter gals’ time. This means we both had our own private en suite rooms, separated by a lounge with connected via a balcony. The cabin backed onto the road down and afforded beautiful views across the front row of rooms (seafacing).
At 5pm, canapes are delivered to our room along with an Aperol spritz. Too full to enjoy, we head down to the resident’s lounge to watch the last of the sun’s ray sink below the horizon. During the day, the tide pulls back to reveal a small, white sandy beach for those who love to swim. If you prefer deck tanning, the hotel’s heated pool offers loungers and cabanas overlooking the ocean.
A 30-minute massage was also included in our package, however, we totally forgot about it! Nothing seems important when you’re relaxing so close to nature.
After a good banter session with the staff, we retreat to our room to once again enjoy the comfort of our suite. The cozy oven-shaped fireplaces ward off the winter chills of the Atlantic and a simple menu for dinner ensures guests don’t go to bed hungry – should they not dine at Chef’s Warehouse (CW). We chose a toasted chicken sandwich and cheeseburger, both delicious as they’re prepped in the CW kitchen.
Dinner arrives and it’s the first time we consider turning on the TV. In true break-away style, it’s back to the Discovery Channel for us for a session with Ben Fogal and Canadian Black Bears. After dinner, we turn in for the evening, retiring to our respective rooms where Mom and I spend the rest of the evening practicing mindfulness; fully enjoying the unique and special occasion that staying at Tintswalo Atlantic provides.
Breakfast in the Bay
The following morning starts with the apprehension; will I naturally wake up, will my mom knock on my door first or will my alarm ring first? Luckily, I wake up naturally before any interruption of the third kind! Jumping into the shower, there’s no way I can ignore the gorgeous views across the bay and allow myself to leave without fully experiencing the charming bathroom suites.
Mom arrives in time for us to head down to breakfast. Having to rush a little bit as it’s actually a workday (I start at 10:30am) we enjoy our eggs benedict while watching a lone dolphin break the surface of the ocean. It’s starting to rain today and the light is closing in as we make our way back up the mountainside in our hotel transport, yet even in the gloom Tintswalo is magic.
As exciting as the descent to Tintswalo Atlantic is, the ascent is always as sad. Sad to say goodbye to this magnificent location. Sad to say goodbye to the great food. Sad to say goodbye to the best things in life – travel memories. Soon our international tourists will be back so if you have the means to visit now, we strongly advise that you do.
Being one of Cape Town’s most exclusive hotels both in availability, location and accessibility, it’s a diamond of the city and a true travel experience for both locals and visitors.