Camps Bay Retreat

Camps Bay Retreat: Our full report

15 rooms
Traveller's rating
Good (85%) From 8 reviews
All year

Camps Bay Retreat is a smart little hotel which feels rather like a very good guesthouse. It is spread out over a small private reserve which covers four acres of lush woodlands, streams and waterfalls in a great location at the back of Camps Bay. Being on the slopes of the Twelve Apostles mountain range gives it a great backdrop, yet is within a 300m walk of the seafront with its superb beaches.

There is a choice of venue for the accommodation at Camps Bay Retreat, and also a variety of room types. The venues are:

  • The Earls Dyke Manor, an elegant manor house, built in the 1920s.
  • The Deck House, very contemporary in style.
  • The Villa.
The room options all offer either twin beds or a king-size bed, and the choice is:
  • Premier rooms – These are all on the first floor, overlooking the gardens and mountains.
  • Luxury rooms – In the Deck House, each of these larger rooms has a private deck overlooking the garden and mountains.
  • Superior rooms – These large rooms are all on the ground floor, and have a little more space and luxury, plus a large private outside deck with a spectacular view. Some of these rooms have spa-style baths.
  • Suites – These large rooms have the space and luxury of a separate lounge; some also have fireplaces. All have beautiful views – some from the ground floor, others from the first floor. A few suites are geared for small families travelling together.
However, everyone shares the public rooms of the Manor House. With its striking entrance hall, high ceilings, chandeliers and dark wood, it has a charm that is enriched by Turkish rugs, oversized paintings and a grand piano set against white walls. When we visited in May 2011 we thought it was absolutely magnificent; it's not difficult to imagine what it might have been like to live there in its heyday.

Most of the originals features from the 1920s have been preserved in the four rooms at the Manor House, which comprise three suites and one premier room. One of the suites has a lovingly restored bath; others boast the original built-in wardrobes. Although the rooms are different in style and décor, all are spacious and have open-plan facilities, albeit with an enclosed toilet.

A hanging bridge joins the Manor House at Camps Bay with the Deck House and The Villa. Here there are four categories of rooms:
suites, premier, luxury and superior rooms. As at the Manor House, the décor is different in each room, and most are open plan with an enclosed toilet. Here, though, each room has a private balcony with deck chairs.

Every room at Camps Bay Retreat has a fully stocked minibar, satellite television, air conditioning, international plug points, electronic safe, hairdryer, telephone and laptop facilities, and ADSL/WiFi access. A DVD player comes as standard, too, with DVDs available to borrow from The Library in the Manor House, and there is a small compilation of music in each room. Tea and coffee, home-made lemonade and mineral water are all complimentary.

A log fire in the entrance hall is lit throughout the winter, much to the delight of one of the four dogs at Camps Bay Retreat. From the hall, a wide staircase leads up to the rooms, and doors lead off to the dining room and two lounges. Of these, The Lounge is a quiet place, ideal to sit and read, whereas The Library is more of an entertainment area, with a selection of books, DVDs, CDs and cigars. The walls are covered with paintings, and vases and artefacts fill the rest of the room. In each room are large comfortable couches, armchairs and pouffes, as well as a fireplace: welcoming and snug spots to enjoy a drink before or after dinner.

During the winter months, meals at Camps Bay Retreat are served in the formal dining room. In warmer weather, meals may be served on the terrace, which has a bar in one corner, and amazing views across the garden to the sea. Exploring the garden is great; there are various different paths and walks, one leading to the vegetable garden and nursery where the Retreat grows fresh herbs and vegetables. (There's another herb garden, too, outside the kitchen on the way to the Deck House and The Villa.)

Other facilities at Camps Bay Retreat include a spa, tennis court, fitness cabin and three swimming pools. The main pool is solar heated, while the mountain pool, lower down in the gardens, is usually filled with natural water from the mountain (although on our recent visit it was empty due to maintenance work). The third pool is at the Deck House.

Our view

Camps Bay Retreat combines a peaceful location and some old-world charm with high-quality contemporary creature comforts. It's in a great location, within reach of the mountainside, but a very short walk from the exquisite Camps Bay beach, and the restaurants on the promenade. We loved it!


Location: Cape Town, South Africa

Ideal length of stay: We'd use this for a minimum stay of 2–3 days, and perhaps for much longer.

Accessible by: Self-drive or Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: Member of The Village & Life Group

Staff: Maree Brink - Chairman

Food & drink

Usual board basis: B&B

Food quality: We found the food at Camps Bay Retreat to be delicious.

Breakfast is usually served between 7.00am and 11.00am. On our recent visit we opted for the French toast tower – traditional French toast layered with cheese, bacon and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Dinner, between 7.00pm and 9.30pm, is usually from an à la carte menu. We started with stuffed calamari with cream cheese mousse, followed by beef fillet served with pomme dauphine, rocket sauce and roast vegetables. To round it all off we had vanilla pannacotta with a berry coulis for dessert.

Dining style: Individual Tables

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Drinks included: Drinks are not included at Camps Bay Retreat.

Further dining info: Yes

Special interests

Beach holidays: Camps Bay Retreat is set within a short walk of three stunning beaches – Glen Beach, Camps Bay & Clifton. Beside this, it has three outdoor swimming pools, so you are spoilt for choice to create a best beach holiday experience.

See more ideas for Beach holidays in South Africa


Attitude towards children: Children 12 years and older are welcome at Camps Bay Retreat.

Property’s age restrictions: Younger children may be welcome by prior arrangement.


Power supply: Mains Electricity

Communications: Each room is fitted with a telephone. Fax, printing and photocopying services are available. Dial-up internet connection is available in the Deck House and Villa rooms. The Manor House has a wireless hotspot. There is a guest computer and internet in the library.

TV & radio: Each room has an 18-channel satellite TV.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: No

Medical care: The closest doctor is in Camps Bay, about 10 minutes away by car.

Security measures: The property is fenced and there is 24-hour security at the front gate reception.

Fire safety: Each room is fitted with a fire detector.


Disabled access: Not Possible

Laundry facilities: A same day service is available Monday to Sunday. Prices are from R15 – 65 for a wash, dry and iron.

Money: Each room has an electronic safe. Foreign currency exchange is available at The Bay Hotel, by prior arrangement.

Accepted payment on location: Amex, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa cards are accepted.