Travel – The mother of all bathtubs

2014-10-09 13:15

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In between the fynbos at the foot of Table Mountain is a hotel of ludicrous luxury. Biénne Huisman books in and channels Charlize Theron for a day

Who doesn’t need a long, slow, piping-hot bath in their life?

If I could conduct all my business from the comfort of a deep and warm tub, I would. Raisin hands notwithstanding. Add a glass of crisp Sauvignon Blanc, a good book and a view of the sea?–?sold, for life. You too?

At the risk of sounding boastful, I think I recently discovered the mother of all bathtubs at the Tintswalo Atlantic five-star luxury lodge at the foot of Table Mountain near Cape Town.

The tub was perched next to a floor-to-ceiling window that was practically in the sea. Milkwood branches and bamboo rustled in gentle waves outside, tinged fiery and pink by the sun setting over the Sentinel, the sharp mountain standing guard across the bay.

Reclining in the tub at Tintswalo, I watched the fishing village of Hout Bay twinkle to life – breathing in slightly soapy, salted air. Vessels were bobbing back towards the harbour, presumably steered by wiry men with gnarled hands and tongues barbed with Afrikaans expletives.

I was reading an essay called Big Red Son by one of my favourite authors, David Foster Wallace. It details his 1998 coverage of America’s annual adult entertainment industry awards in Las Vegas?–?basically the porn industry’s Oscars?–?which was somehow apt, given my surrounding canvas: a languid, sensual assault best described as view porn.

Next to the bath was a small table with bottles of salts, oils with metal tops and a scattering of seashells. There were white, fluffy towels and the floor was heated.

The tub was large and oval, and hugged my body in a comforting embrace that was painful to leave. But it had to be done, for dinner awaited.

Light, white curtains lapped the breeze as I dressed, stepping around the huge bed and two plush, violet, sea-facing chairs; overhead dangled a modest crystal chandelier.

Supper was served in a room with a lit fireplace overlooking the now-dark sea. There were candles and a large protea on my table.

Soon, there was a starter of oxtail swirled in pasta, a main course of lamb rack and, the highlight, a red brownie cheesecake dessert with honey-brittle ice cream and berries.

The wine list with exceptional local wines and some choice offerings from abroad was noteworthy, although only Anthonij Rupert Wines’ everyday Protea range was available per glass.

The highlight of the evening was yet to come: an after-dinner sherry while I stretched out on the Persian rug in front of the cast-iron fireplace back in my room.

That night, sleep came easy and was extra dreamy?–?a bit like a magic carpet ride addled by sea winds and shore sounds, perhaps slightly laced with Shiraz.

The next morning, a gazillion-course breakfast was served on a wooden deck that ran around the lodge. I’m talking chocolate pastries, fruit pastries and pastries; Melba toast, salmon, cream cheese and capers; Parma ham, Brie cheese, sugared figs; and every conceivable variety of egg.

A short saunter along a wooden walkway led to a heated swimming pool where a generous scattering of settees and deckchairs reminded me of the ludicrous luxury that is the norm at Tintswalo. The pool deck offered an excellent vantage point from where to watch the day break over the fynbos-clad mountains.

I’m told Tintswalo Atlantic has housed and pampered the likes of Charlize Theron and Al Gore. As can be expected, these premises come at a price. Okay, a small fortune. A suite like mine is charged at R4?260 a night in peak season, including breakfast. The presidential suite can be yours for a whopping R26?750 a night.

The great news is that Tintswalo Atlantic is open to us mere mortals for meals. At R250 a head for breakfast, R350 for lunch and R550 for dinner, you too can be treated to a feast at the foot of glorious Chapman’s Peak.

Beware of jaywalking toads while driving through Noordhoek en route to Hout Bay

4 things to do in Hout Bay

»?The popular Bay Harbour Market offers food stalls and live music on Friday evenings, Saturday and Sundays. Call them on 083?275?5586

»?Kitima Restaurant does a kick-ass East-Asian Sunday buffet at R250 a head. Call them on 021?790?8004

»?I love the World of Birds, an animal sanctuary that houses primates and birds, many of them rescued. It costs R85 for adults and R40 for children. Call 021?790?2730

»?Drive up beautiful Chapman’s Peak. It will cost you R38 for a toll fee

Huisman was a guest of Tintswalo Atlantic. For more info, call 021?201?0025 or visit

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