The Bay Hotel is one of Cape Towns premier beach front hotels located in vibrant Camps Bay.
Bay Hotel: Our full report
The large, international Bay Hotel lies at the foot of Table Mountain, across the road from the palm-fringed beach of Camps Bay. It is within walking distance of the numerous restaurants and cafés of trendy Camps Bay, while a ten-minute drive brings you to the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town city centre and the cable car station, from where you can be whisked smoothly up to the top of Table Mountain.
With its seafront location, and cool, modern décor, The Bay Hotel is Africa's answer to trendy spots in southern California and Miami. From an exclusively white exterior, its interior is softened by natural marble floors and a few beiges and earthy tones. The overall feel is bright, light and airy.
The Bay Hotel has 78 guest rooms, reached along a wide ground-floor corridor where works for sale by local artists are on display. The rooms are identically decorated in soft, neutral colours. All have a small entrance lobby that leads off from the corridor. Inside, all have tea- and coffee-making facilities including an espresso machine, minibar, internet connection, and a radio/alarm clock with iPod docking station and remote-controlled air conditioning. En-suite bathrooms have cream-tiled walls and floors, a toilet, bath, glass shower cubicle and double washbasins with a range of complementary toiletries.
Although the rooms are largely similar in décor, they are divided into several types, depending largely on their location. Note that these locations and their respective views can make a huge difference to the price of the rooms.
- Mountain rooms face south and east, and have side views of Table Mountain and the roof of the car park below.
- Classic rooms are the same size as the ‘mountain’ rooms, but also have a good balcony. All ‘classic’ rooms face north or west, and have direct access to the pool, but as a result don’t have the privacy of the other rooms.
- Classic club rooms are slightly bigger than the Mountain rooms and are located on the side of the hotel. Some have a partial sea view with a lovely view of Lion’s Head.
- Premier rooms are the same size as the ‘mountain’ rooms, and most have great views of the sea, though a handful face north to Lion’s Head. Most of the ‘premier’ rooms are split-level, with a separate seating area on a lower level that lead out onto a balcony. This room also has a jacuzzi in it.
- Luxury rooms are bigger than the rooms mentioned above, with a sitting area and a west-facing balcony, complete with private jacuzzi. Their bathrooms, too, are larger, and include both an oval bath and separate shower.
- Suites have the facilities of the ‘luxury’ rooms, but with more space and a separate lounge, rather than one that's part of the bedroom.
- Cabanna rooms are the same size as the ‘classic’ rooms, but with a private patio, plunge pool, loungers leading straight out onto the lawn and direct access to the main pool.
- The luxurious Penthouse, on the top floor of The Bay Hotel is reached from an exclusive staircase and lobby. The penthouse has a private dining room and lounge, complete with plasma TV and a surround-sound stereo system, as well as a separate guest bathroom. The balcony is huge, and has an amazing view of Camps Bay beach and the ocean.
The Bay Hotel has a large outdoor solar-heated swimming pool surrounded by a series of wooden decks on different levels, each having plenty of white-and-wood sunloungers under equally pale umbrellas. With a further three smaller swimming pools on the different levels, guests can seek out quiet areas to relax and enjoy the Cape sunshine.
Two restaurants at The Bay Hotel afford plenty of culinary choice. The Bistro, located off the foyer, is light and airy, with tables inside and out, and easy access to the swimming pool. Here you can have breakfast or a light lunch all year, with other meals during the low season when the main restaurant is closed.
The Bay’s main restaurant, Tides, is open in high season and serves à la carte breakfast and dinner. Decorated in soft creams and browns enlivened by African-print fabrics, it is light and airy with large sliding windows that open to reveal views towards the beach and the sea beyond.
Those in search of a drink won’t have far to go. Enjoy cocktails on the deck of Sandys bar while watching the sun setting over the Atlantic, or – for a quieter experience – visit the more sedate and elegant Traders bar upstairs, a sophisticated bar/lounge with an impressive walk-in cellar. There is also a small wine shop in the foyer selling local wines, with free wine-tasting every alternate evening.
The Bay has a recently refurbished gym and spa offering his and hers treatments, from massages to full-day pampering packages, as well as a steam room and sauna. There is also a hair salon on the premises.
Despite the attractions, The Bay probably won't suit older visitors, or those seeking peace and quiet, as its location beside the beachfront road in Camps Bay is far too busy. It's more a place to see and be seen, not a retreat for solitude. If you’d prefer peace and quiet, we suggest The Bay’s sister hotel Camps Bay Retreat, not far away.
Our viewWith one of the best beachfront locations in Cape Town, The Bay offers luxury accommodation with an unusual combination for Cape Town: a top beach location with plenty of buzzy bars, restaurants and nightlife. It best suits a young, lively crowd and the bar here is often visited by Cape Town's smarter residents in search of a chic sundowner spot. The hotel is also ideally situated for exploring Cape Town.
Ideal length of stay: Four to five days is ideal to explore Cape Town and its environs – longer if you can afford the time.
Accessible by: Self-drive or Fly-and-Transfer
Owner: Village and Life
Food & drink
Usual board basis: B&B
Food quality: On a recent visit to Cape Town, in May 2014, we popped in to The Bay for a visit but did not stay overnight. Although we didn’t have a full meal here we did have coffee and a snack at The Bistro.
Breakfast at The Bistro is a buffet of pastries, cereals, flavoured yoghurts, fruit juice and fresh fruit. A cooked breakfast is also available as well as eggs Benedict, french toast, smoked salmon with scrambled eggs and a flapjack (pancake) stack.
The lunch menu offers squid, fish and chips, a selection of quiches, pasta, burgers, steak, a choice of salads, sandwiches and sharing boards (charcuterie or cheese).
Dinner when we visited was a choice of four starters – beef carpaccio, smoked haddock, pork ribs and asparagus – followed by main courses of beef fillet, local line fish, quail and pork belly, or mushrooms and brinjal (aubergine) bake. At the time of our visit dessert choices were sticky toffee pudding, chocolate pudding or apple and pistachio tarte tatin.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Drinks included: Drinks are not included
Further dining info: Yes
Attitude towards children: The Bay Hotel accepts children of all ages
Property’s age restrictions: None
Special activities & services: In high season, arrangements can be made to convert the conference centre into a playroom.
Equipment: The ‘club classic’, ‘premier’, ‘mountain’ and ‘luxury’ rooms and suites all have a sofa bed which will accommodate a child (under the age of 14) sharing with parents.
Generally recommended for children: The hotel does welcome children of all ages however do note that there are no additional facilities or activities for children, other than the swimming pools and the beach across the road.
Notes: Although The Bay does accommodate children, in our view it is better suited to couples.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Communications: There is business and travel centre with internet and fax facilities for guests to use. The whole hotel has WiFi for guests who have their own laptops. Guests are allowed to use 250 MB a day and can pay for extra if they require more.
TV & radio: Yes – local and satellite.
Water supply: Mains
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: No
Medical care: There are doctors and hospitals nearby.
Security measures: There is a security guard at the gate and all guests are given a guest pass to allow entry into the property. There are security guards on duty in the grounds 24 hours a day.
Fire safety: Yes there are fire prevention measures in place as befitting a five-star hotel.
Disabled access: In Place
Laundry facilities: Available at an extra charge,
Money: Money exchange is possible at the days bank rate less a commission charge. There are electronic safes in all the rooms.
Accepted payment on location: Most international credit cards are accepted. Cash is accepted in SA rands, pounds sterling, US dollars and euros. Cash is accepted in SA rands, pounds sterling, US dollars and euros.