Twelve Apostles: Our full report
The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa is situated on the coast road a mere 5km from Cape Towns’ buzzing suburb of Camps Bay.Dramatically located overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, and backed by the Twelve Apostles mountain range (part of Table Mountain National Park), it’s a luxurious hotel in an incredibly scenic spot.
Although you feel miles away from any town, the Twelve Apostles is just a five-ten minute drive from the palm-lined beach at Camps Bay, with its numerous restaurants and lively bars; a further fifteen-twenty minutes brings you to the bustling V & A Waterfront and the heart of Cape Town. It’s an excellent choice for couples and families alike who don’t want to be right in the town centre.
With its enviable position, the hotel offers a comfortable stay with a touch of indulgence in 70 well-appointed rooms and suites. Divided across 55 deluxe guest rooms and 15 suites, these are decorated in a smart, classic style with cool sea-themed colours and rich fabrics.
Each room and suite has either a king-size bed or twin beds, with top-quality linen. The Twelve Apostles can also add a cot or a stretcher bed in some rooms for younger children, and they make a concerted effort to make the rooms welcoming and suitable for children, which was definitely the case when we stayed here in 2016.
Bottled mineral water, tea- and coffee-making facilities, and an electronic safe are provided, along with a digital telephone system with voice mail, internet access, and a full entertainment centre with DVD and access to movie library. All bathrooms have hairdryers, plush bathrobes and ladies’ and gents’ slippers.
Similarities apart, the rooms and suites are divided into nine separate categories, differentiated by size, location, amenities and view – and of course price.
- The Classic Rooms, which sleep two people, are some 33m2 (355 sq ft) in size. All have a balcony and floor-to-ceiling sliding windows.
- The Mountain Facing Rooms are similar in size, each with a private balcony or veranda and full-height sliding doors. Upstairs rooms have views of the mountains while the ground-floor rooms look out over the gardens.
- The Luxury Rooms, at 40m2 (430 sq ft), are effectively larger versions of the Classic Rooms and have views of either the ocean or the mountains.
- Larger still are the Superior Sea-Facing Rooms, at 55m2 (592 sq ft), which can take a maximum of two adults and two children (under 12). These rooms are open-plan and offer stunning views from both a sunken lounge and a private balcony over the Atlantic Ocean.
- The One Bedroom Suites are more secluded than the rooms, each with a separate large, comfy lounge area. You can relax on your own garden patio and as they’re on the ground floor they are well suited for families travelling with children under 12. Note, though, that when we stayed in one of these rooms we found it not quite as light and bright as those higher up, with attendant views.
- The Mountain Facing Suites have oodles of space, at 70m2 (753 sq ft), and sweeping views of Table Mountain National Park. These, too, have a separate lounge and bedroom and are ideal for families travelling with younger children – taking up to two adults and two children under 16.
- The one-bedroom Sea Facing Suites come in at the same size, and have the same maximum occupancy. These suites have their own private balcony and great views over the Atlantic Ocean. The bedroom area is larger than those in the Mountian Facing Suites, with a king-size bed, and both the bedroom and the separate lounge boast flat-screen satellite televisions. In the bathroom you’ll find a designer bath and shower.
- The Presidential Suite is arguably the ultimate in luxury, its quality defined by chandeliers imported from Italy, an antique marble bath, mosaics and finely carved panels adorning the floors, walls and ceilings. As well as the bedroom and lounge area, the presidential suite incorporates an open-plan eight-seater dining room with bar, plus a study and separate his and hers bathrooms. The wrap-around terrace, which is large enough to seat eight for dinner, affords stunning views of the ocean, Lion's Head and the Twelve Apostles mountain range. To top this off you will also have your own personal butler to attend to your needs.
- Finally there is the Grand Master Suite, which is really a combination of several rooms/suites that can together accommodate a party of up to ten guests. Essentially the upper floor of the hotel becomes a private entity comprising five inter-leading rooms and suites – the Presidential Suite, one Sea-facing Suite, one Mountain Facing Suite and a Mountain Facing Room. In the communal areas, the Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa has a few dining options for different occasions, including two main restaurants.
For a smart restaurant with great food and service, the popular Azure Restaurant is a perfect choice, with an extensive wine list – though note the semi-formal dress code for men of trousers and closed shoes. If the weather is good you can enjoy your meal on the terrace taking in wonderful views of the ocean.
Azure is also where the extensive buffet breakfast is served – the choice is phenomenal!
The Café Grill offers both indoor and outdoor seating areas too but this time on the mountain side of the hotel. With a more relaxed dress code and casual dining experience, it is also a good option for families with younger children. During summer there is an extensive ice-cream menu too.
There is also a light lunch menu available by the main pool area.
With a fully stocked bar, a fine selection of ports and cognacs and a great choice of cocktails, The Leopard Bar is popular with locals and tourists alike as the perfect spot for a drink as the sun sets over the Atlantic Ocean. There is usually some form of entertainment here and with light bites on offer it is a great place to while away an evening. In the afternoon, they also serve up ‘Tea by the Sea’ - a sumptuous selection of sandwiches, chocolate brownies, cream scones etc. Cape Town locals regard it as something of an institution.
Camps Bay itself has a huge array of great restaurants and is only a short drive away for those who wish to venture out in the evening.
The main swimming pool at the Twelve Apostles is a lovely warming 26°C – in sharp contrast to the chilly waters of the Atlantic. Relax on one of their sunloungers and help yourself to the complimentary sunscreen, fruit and fruit-flavoured water. There are also two ‘rock’ pools at the back of the hotel in the gardens: a small pool at the bottom heated to approximately 28°C, and a larger but more ‘refreshing’ cold one.
The Spa at The Twelve Apostles covers almost an entire floor, with its seven indoor treatment rooms (for massages, and manicure and pedicure treatments), hydrotherapy pools with warm and cold plunge pools, a unique saltwater flotation pool (20 minutes in this is supposed to be the equivalent to four hours’ sleep!), a traditional Arabic cleansing ritual chamber, and two outdoor mountain gazebos with sea views. The bar here serves homemade snacks, fresh fruit juices and mineral water, as well as delicious, healthy meals. You could spend an entire day here… but will need to pre-book to ensure you get the treatment and time slot of your choice.
For a touch of entertainment, try the 16-seater cinema where films run throughout the day, complete with complimentary popcorn, sweets, hot chocolate, milkshakes etc. Every afternoon, at 3.00pm, there is a dedicated kids’ movie which – if your child is the only spectator – you can select yourself.
Although there is a small gym on site, a more scenic way to stretch your legs and burn off some calories is to try one of the walking trails marked out by the Twelve Apostles in Table Mountain National Park. These vary from ten to 45 minutes in duration, and start from behind the hotel.
With Camps Bay beach (beach towels and beach baskets with buckets, spades etc are available free of charge) almost on the doorstep, and Cape Town close at hand, the full range of activities and restaurants/bars available is extensive. There is a shuttle bus every hour to Camps Bay and The V&A Waterfront from 8.00am to 9.00pm (the last one from the Waterfront is at 9.30pm) so even if you do not have a car (which we would recommend), it is pretty easy to get around and explore from here.
The Twelve Apostles Hotel is a luxurious, upmarket hotel in a stunning location with superb views. Yet despite being quite big and very smart, it feels welcoming and friendly. The service is highly attentive and personal and we would rate it as one of the best hotels in Cape Town for families with children.
Country manager: South Africa
- Cape Town, South Africa
- Ideal length of stay
- Four to five days will give you time to explore many of Cape Town’s highlights, but stay longer if you can afford the time.
- The Twelve Apostles is 5km south of Camps Bay (13km south of Cape Town city centre) on the M6 coast road heading towards Llandudno.
- Accessible by
- Self-drive or Fly-and-Transfer
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Bed & Breakfast
- Food quality
- The standard of food at the Twelve Apostles is very high, as you would expect from a hotel of this quality. With one top-notch restaurant – Azure – and the good but less formal Café Grill, plus lighter food options in the Leopard Bar and by the pool, the choice here is varied in both style and type.
Breakfast in Azure Restaurant is served from 7.00–10.30am. The vast buffet includes a choice of hot dishes, as well as cereals, pastries, breads, meats, cheese, yoghurts, fruit etc, plus a choice of fruit juice, coffee and tea – it was delicious and set us up for the day!
Lunch and dinner you can choose between the Azure Restaurant, the Café Grill and the Leopard Bar, while light lunches are also available by the main pool.
The Azure Restaurant focuses on a range of international cuisine including meat, seafood and vegetarian options. Lunch is served between 12.30 and 3.00pm, and dinner 6.00–10.00pm.
The Café Grill is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Its California-styled menu offers a good variety and range of meals, from salads and elaborate sandwiches through to main meals, plus a decent children’s menu and an extensive ice-cream menu in the summer months. When we ate here as a family in 2016 it worked perfectly for all ages.
The Leopard Bar (open 7.00–2.00am) offers a small breakfast menu, with sandwiches, wraps, burgers and tasty lighter meals available at other times, and a renowned afternoon tea.
- Dining style
- Individual Tables
- Dining locations
- Indoor and Outdoor Dining
- Further dining info, including room service
- A 24-hour room service is available
- Family holidays
- From special touches including bath toys and children’s bathrobes in the rooms, an in-house cinema, buckets and spades for the beach and kids’ menus, there is little the Twelve Apostles hasn't thought about for a family holiday with a touch of luxury in South Africa.
- See ideas for Family holidays
- Beach holidays
- With the wide expanse of Camps Bay beach only a ten-minute drive away from the Twelve Apostles Hotel, you are in an ideal position to relax and soak up the sun on a beach break in South Africa. The weather is best during the southern summer – between December and March.
- See ideas for Beach holidays
- The extensive Spa at the Twelve Apostles near Cape Town offers a full spectrum of treatments, pools and therapies. It’s a wonderful place to pamper your body and mind.
- See ideas for Wellbeing
- Attitude towards children
- Children are actively welcomed at The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa and the hotel goes above and beyond most other hotels we have visited in South Africa to cater for children.
- Property’s age restrictions
- There are no age restrictions here.
- Special activities & services
- As well as offering a childminding service (extra cost) and children’s menus, the Twelve Apostles have a kids’ welcome pack with their own ‘credit card’, which entitles them to various treats over the duration of their stay.
We found that they made a real effort to make the bedroom welcoming for our four-year-old when we last stayed in March 2016. There was a special children’s ‘welcome’ on her bed, a child-sized bathrobe and slippers, bath toys, a step to reach the basin etc and special kids’ toiletries; even the flannel was made up to look like an elephant. With a flavoured hot milk and cookie at bedtime and a triple-tiered cakestand full of sweet treats permanently in the bedrooms this was a child’s heaven (though possible not a parent’s!). If you feel that this is too much sugar, the hotel is very happy to adapt this for you; we can request in advance for a smaller selection to be present, or none at all.
To round it off, they also provide a pack of information on what is good for children to see and do in Cape Town.
- Cots, highchairs and children’s beds can be provided.
- Generally recommended for children
- Highly recommended. This hotel is really good for children, who are not just tolerated but openly welcomed and treated with respect.
- Adult supervision is necessary around the pool areas.
- There is mobile/cellphone reception and free WiFi throughout the hotel (though this can be a bit slow in some areas).
- TV & radio
- Each room at the Twelve Apostles has a satellite TV and DVD player. There is also a DVD library for in-room viewing and popcorn can be delivered with the film!
There is also a 16-seater cinema with various showings through the day.
- Water supply
A second chance to a better future
Part of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection, a worldwide renowned pioneer in hospitality and sustainability, the Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa makes no exception. The hotel has partnered up with The Amy Biehl Foundation, a non-profit organisation based in Cape Town who aims to obviate youth violence in disadvantaged communities in and around Cape Town.
The foundation has implemented a variety of programs covering topics such as health and safety, arts, education and sports to empower underprivileged youths aged 6 – 18 years to contribute to their communities.
Contributions from the Twelve Apostles Hotel are raised by adding R10 to every guest account, and from donating all proceeds from the sale of greeting cards - made by the children of the Foundation, and that of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection president and founder, Mrs Bea Tollman’s cookbook.
Additionally, the hotel is committed to organising a project or gathering with the children of the Amy Biehl Foundation once a year. Guests are encouraged to save some space in their luggage when packing for the trip and bring general school supplies, toys or artistic materials which can be donated on-arrival.
See more great sustainability projects in South Africa
Health & safety
- Medical care
- There are doctors in Camps Bay and hospitals in Cape Town.
- Dangerous animals
- Low Risk
- Security measures
- There are security guards on duty 24 hours a day.
- Fire safety
- There are fire extinguishers in the hotel.
Hot air ballooning
- Disabled access
- Laundry facilities
- A full laundry service is available at an additional charge.
- There is a digital safe in every room and suite.
- Accepted payment on location
- All major credit cards are accepted as well as cash.
Other lodges in Cape Town
Alternative places to stay in this same area.