It's the fourth day of our honeymoon and for the first time Mr Smith and I find ourselves alone. Having temporarily lost my sanity I’d concocted some hare-brained scheme to take 30 of our closest friends on a whirlwind trip of the Western Cape directly after our wedding, and so my new husband and I find ourselves chaperoning, directing and pandering to a big bunch of badly behaved adults. Instead of newlyweds we feel like schoolmaster and matron responsible not only for everyone’s safety and wellbeing but for ensuring that a jolly good time is had by all. We’ve played with the penguins on Boulders Beach, ticked off the Big Five at Aquila Game Reserve and drunk Zevenwacht Wine Estate dry. But there is no way in hell that this crew are encroaching upon our sanctuary at Kensington Place. Looking over our sleeping quarters and winking at each other smugly, we wordlessly agree that this fine establishment is far too special to share.
A steel spiral staircase has secreted us to room 8 – our ritzy tree house in the clouds. The crisp linen on our huge bed is whiter than an Emirati man’s dishdasha, the freestanding bath comes equipped with coconut shells filled with soothing salts, and our private balcony overlooks the cyan-coloured pool and the twinkling sea. Now what? Not used to being on our own, we’re not sure what to do next. Usually we’d crack open the complimentary bottle of sparkling South African wine that is chilling on ice, but yesterday’s marathon Sauvignon Blanc session means our stomachs churn at the thought.
So, after testing the magnificent power of our rainshower, and admiring the pop art on the walls, the checked suede mats on the floors, the oversized ostrich feather lampshade and the seascape painting alongside the bath, (strategically placed so that it is eye level once you’re seated in the tub), we descend our rungs to flop by the pool. Gloriously we are the only one’s here. The brisk water contrasts deliciously against our searing skin and I allow myself a little moan of content.
Capetonians refer to the majestic Table Mountain as ‘our mountain’ and it’s easy to see why every one of them would try to lay claim to one of the country’s most revered treasures. Nestled in the trunk of this flat-topped beauty, Kensington Palace is perfectly positioned. We can practically see the faces (excited/stirred/puce) of the tourists riding up in the cable car from our deck chairs. It’s lofty location is in one of the leafiest and poshest parts of town – Higgovale – but it’s only a 10-minute drive over Kloof Neck to the ridiculously ravishing beaches of Camps Bay and Clifton and the same distance again in the other direction to the town centre and the V&A Waterfront.
For those who shy away from the sun but who still revel in the great outdoors, there’s a saucy covered alcove with plumped cushions and animal hide throws, while billowing white sheets alongside the terrace theatrically offset the lodge’s clean lines. Ultraviolet-indigo jacaranda trees peak over the wall at us as I cast aside the book borrowed from the hotel’s liberal library and become engrossed by two tawny sparrows playfully splashing each other on the urn-shaped water feature.
They really have thought of everything at this boutique hotel. With no onsite recreation centre, guests are given free access to the nearby Virgin Interactive health club and, while grabbing a pre-prepared basket with beach towels and sunscreen from our cupboard, we discover a Pilates kit and free weights. Of course we don’t make use of either – now that I’m married I can let myself go, right? – but it’s still comforting to know that they’re there. You’re better off going for a jog or a walk in the neighbourhood. Having huffed and puffed for the first five-minutes, Mr Smith’s scowl transforms into a reluctant smile as he admires the magnificent glass and teak mansions on a walk I’ve imposed.
We are also tickled by the little red ‘emergency box’ on our nightstand, equipped with, among other items, peppermints (fresh breath being essential on a honeymoon), Rennies (heartburn is not sexy), headache pills (we managed to force that bottle of vino down after all) and accoutrements that ensure our honeymoon doesn’t turn into a babymoon. With all this romance, we’re not ready quite yet to give up our time à deux.
Kensington Place also takes breakfast in bed to the next level. While there’s nothing better than rolling over to the sight of freshly brewed coffee and buttered toast, strewn crumbs can be scratchy. So if you can handle the exertion of walking five paces to your balcony, the rest is all done for you: fresh-fruit smoothies, homemade honey-toasted muesli and fluffy filled and folded omelettes gracefully laid out against a soundtrack of birdsong; or, if you happen to be sharing with this Mr Smith, Faith No More care of the iPod dock. Still overloaded from the previous evening’s dinner, the pastries defeat us. (The general manager had the foresight to pre-book us into the city’s latest, hottest and most inventive restaurant Bizerka – and the caprese salad with watercress and pea sorbet proved a triumph.)
Not willing to call time on our brief but beautiful relationship with Kensington Place, my satiated husband and I agree it would be the ideal place to celebrate our one-year anniversary. We churlishly admit that it’s too good not to share. There are only eight rooms, so we head home to crack open the wedding gifts before deciding on who scores an invite.
Anonymously reviewed by Lyndsey Steven (Jet-set editor)
Reviews of Kensington Place from Smith members
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