The Marly Hotel in Camps Bay was just stepping into its stride in March this year when the pandemic hit. The boutique hotel revealed its new look in December 2019– a crisp, fresh and stylish upgrade to suit its glamorous surroundings – leaving no doubt that The Marly is the place to stay in Camps Bay. What was meant to be a bumper period in 2020 turned into a nightmare as the lockdown was extended over the next four to five months.
Now, after what felt like forever, The Marly is ready to welcome guests again to a second reopening, and the wait has certainly been worth it.
With a friendly greeting from the front desk and the concierge, we were shown to our room – a beautiful, airy, calm space all decked in white, with accents of grey.
The design touches in the room are modern and contemporary. The artwork on the walls are new age and fit in perfectly with the modern take on the rooms. It’s not quite King Louis XIV’s 17th century Chateau de Marly (from which the hotel derives its name) but it’s classy and luxurious all the same. This is a haven for the modern traveller. A Nespresso coffee machine, mini bar, a smart TV and Marshall speaker will remind you that it’s ok to stay indoors a bit longer if you need to. But on a beautiful early Spring day, who can resist being outdoors now that we’re allowed to explore the Mother City a little more?
Fortunately, South Africa is easing into warmer weather ever so slowly, which makes conditions perfect to enjoy what the hotel has to offer – a world-class experience at one of the most iconic locations in Africa.
Camps Bay attracts visitors and locals from all walks of life who find pleasure in indulging in everything the area has to offer. Families stroll by, the loners wander aimlessly while the pets march with purpose with their owners in tow. Camps Bay is where people come to say thank you to the day, and hello to the night. It is also the perfect place to watch the sun disappear into the sea, leaving behind a kaleidoscope of colours.
Staying at The Marly and dining at Bilboa, Surfshack, Le Belle, Chinchilla and Paranga must rank among the best ways to appreciate the Camps Bay strip. It’s no surprise they’re all part of the Kove Collection property group, who with their signature attention to design, style and good food, have created a reputation that precedes them in the hospitality industry.
After admiring the view from our room and making ourselves right at home, my favourite words were uttered over the phone, “They’re ready for you at the spa”. The Marly Spa is a tiny piece of heaven when you need it the most, to allow the stresses of life to wash away. The spa staff were attentive and professional, and made us feel like royalty. It’s highly recommended if you have the time. It’s the little touches that make the most difference, like being able to choose the scent of the massage oils and even the colour of the room.
A full body massage later, feeling on top of the world, we were ready to commit to life in Camps Bay – if only we could move here permanently. Sigh!
But to truly appreciate The Marly, you need to start from the top. The hotel’s rooftop bar Baptiste is where the cocktails flow freely, as do the views of the Twelve Apostles behind you, Lion’s head beside you to your right and Camp’s Bay beach in front of you. The food is surprisingly excellent. Poolside food often disappoints but the Crispy Fried Chicken Burger and the Smoked Salmon sandwich is among the best meals you’re likely to have at any pool. It really went down a treat.
We washed down our delicious lunch with a chilled G&T and kicked back on the loungers to let the sun’s rays shower our faces with vitamin D.
An early dinner at Paranga allowed us to wallow in the orange glow as the sun said its goodbyes. Kids and parents cleared the beach and headed home, the dogs followed, and the socially distanced groups arrived to take up their places at the dinner tables.
Deciding on what to eat is a difficult choice to make, given Paranga’s diverse menu. I would highly recommend their winter special menu, you can choose between a two course set menu for R210 or a three course meal for R265. The prawn tempura starter was more than I bargained for, but definitely not more than I could handle. It is an impressive portion but what really impressed me was how juicy and succulent they were. Starter portions are never something to rave about, but at Paranga they are. The beef fillet – both superbly prepared and elegantly presented, was sensational.
Paranga is a vibe, it is about the location from which you get to see the most scintillating sunsets, it’s also about the food, the atmosphere, the music and the sexy cocktails. You could easily have mistaken your evening out for that international trip you’re so longing for.
And when you can’t eat anymore, you are a few steps away from a coffee on your hotel room balcony, with your feet up in relaxation mode. The Marly Hotel perches high enough for to take in the hustle and bustle downstairs. The soundproof doors shut out the world when you want to cosy up indoors with that special someone.
Suddenly life in Camps Bay made sense – it appears to be the sunshine capital of Cape Town, and after months of being under lockdown, this moment was all the more special; the reopening of The Marly could not have come sooner.