Change has occurred more frequently that the good people at Tintswalo Atlantic would have preferred. Devastating fires forced the hotel to reimagine itself twice in the last four years. But like the fynbos that surrounds the establishment, the fires have allowed the Tintswalo Atlantic to regenerate into something more beautiful than it was before. The hotel now also has a few stories to add to its short history of resilience and rebirth.
After the heart of the property was gutted by a kitchen fire in February this year, owner and Tintswalo Lodges CEO Lisa Goosen promised it would reopen again on October 1. She has kept that promise and used the misfortune to create a spectacular redesign and rebuild.
The new décor is tasteful, with colours that pay homage to the ocean outside and the mountain that sits proudly behind it. The delicate use of mirrors, elegant glass chandeliers and oversized furniture in various shades of light blue shadowed by light wooden rafters directly coincides with the exterior colour scheme of ocean and mountain.
You can almost believe that the designer sat in that very spot before the building was reimagined and copied the outside look directly to mimic the inside. It is very opulent and spits luxury at you from every corner.
The deck is the ideal place to lounge around or read a book as you wait for the sun to take its leave for the day. Don’t miss this, it is the main event at Tintswalo. I wish they would put it on every guests itinerary, it really is a one-of-a-kind type of experience. You may also nestle in the comfort of giant luxury beanbags which are perfect for two lovebirds. This also comes highly recommended. As the day’s colours soften and the light fades, canapés make an appearance along with the gin bar and a fine selection of wines. There is no choice but to accept them graciously, unwind and surrender to the sounds of waves below your feet, as the smell of the ocean treats your senses.
What hasn’t changed with the reconstruction is Tintswalo Atlantic’s appreciation for its surroundings, by creating a space worthy of its location. Gazing out over Hout Bay from Chapman’s Peak is one of the Cape’s more seductive attractions. The lightshow that plays out in the sky at sunset is breathtaking – the pinks, purples and blues dance between the clouds until its dark. In the care of Tintswalo the experience is both luxurious and romantic.
The Madagascar suite is new to the property and sums up the standard that one has come to expect of the brand. The massive king size bed styled with countless throw cushions dominates the space, for good reason. The bathroom is dotted with sounds of the ocean, shells form part of the mosaic on the walls and if you want to invite the sea in, just drop the blinds on the floor-to-ceiling window. The rest of the décor in the suite blends modern finishings with classic old-world comforts. The dark wood adds warmth to the room, along with the fireplace. It’s the perfect nest to be occupy with a special someone. The sound of the crashing waves, almost at your doorstep, drowns the outside world, while you enjoy Tintswalo’s comforts and fine hospitality. There is no desire to leave such a space unless it was for a delicious meal.
Speaking of which, I can’t imagine that so much time, money and effort would go into recreating such a mesmerising space without a dinner menu to match. I am not in the least bit surprised that it does match. Each course more flavourful than the last. My starter was the mushroom risotto which, if perfectly cooked, is the key to unlocking my foodie heart. Mission accomplished. I was in risotto heaven, that was until the next dish of deconstructed lamb with crushed garlic roasted mash made it’s way to my stomach. The meat was rich with a fair amount of fat lashings in between to keep it moist and decadent. All meals were prepared with the freshest ingredients which were indulgent and sustainable.
It’s fair to say Tintswalo Atlantic’s relationship with fire is a complicated one. Much has been lost, but so much more has been gained in the aftermath – which has only made the establishment stronger and more appealing. It is impossible to compare it to any other accommodation in Cape Town, nowhere else has this exclusive address which is one part mountain and one part sea.
Pictures: Francois van Zyl and Nidha Narrandes