While the views of Camps Bay's Victoria Road sunset strip are a true drawcard for Kove Collection's five-star The Marly, there's lots to see inside the recently renovated and expanded boutique hotel and sparkly new spa, too.
Kove Collection's The Marly Hotel. Image supplied.
Up the spiral driveway and through the Pavilion centre’s parking lot, The Marly’s blue, grey and white décor scheme is the perfect match for the surprising silvery silence that envelops you inside.
Hugged by Camps Bay must-stop eateries, like Surfshack and Bilboa, the Marly is in a prime position, sitting plush at the back of the blink-and-you-miss-it heart of Camps Bay’s vibrant main strip.
Driving up The Promenade Centre’s winding parking lot to the exclusive Marly penthouse slot, you feel on top of the world securing a parking slot right outside the rooftop reception area.
Thumbs up for the personal touch
The feeling carries through as you browse the eclectic arty relics dotting the entry way, and before you even enter your room, you’re bound to take a photo of the individually crafted, blue-and-white patterned Delft-inspired hands holding up the room numbers all along the passage leading off to sea-facing rooms on the one side, with mountain views on the other.
This quirky feature, designed by young up-and-coming African artist Sebastian Theart, is intended as a modern twist on what would have once been a doorman stationed at his post, to show guests where to go.
Once checked in, you can also enter The Marly through the main card-controlled lift that intrigues many who take a detour through Camps Bay’s Promenade, which adds a sense of exclusivity to your stay.
There’s another bookshelf featuring appealing reads, camera tripod, plush chair, vase of gorgeous blooms and a marble floor so shiny that this soon proves another photo opportunity – be prepared to stop every few feet for another snap!
These hand-held numbers come especially ‘handy’ as The Marly’s five-month renovation, led by Gregor Bremmer of Soda Design, saw an additional 29 suites added to the previous complement of 11, more than doubling the hotel’s capacity and the chance you’ll get a little lost as you wind your way down the hallways and through the state-of-the-art gym and chic boutique shop, offering a curated selection of beach-worthy resort wear and trinkets to take home.
You may even feel a sense of ‘where am I’ in the lifts, which are exact replicas of the hallways with their plush grey carpeting and pale grey wallpaper detail. All the lifts are room card-activated, so there’s no worry of anyone getting into the hotel who shouldn’t be there.
If you're familiar with the renowned sunset strip of Camps Bay beachfront, you will certainly know where The Promenade is. That's the spot where you will find The Marly, a luxurious 11-suite boutique hotel...
Despite this extra influx of guests, the personal touch remains strong, with The Marly’s staff always offering a friendly greeting when encountering guests in the reception area, on the staircase or even on the rooftop.
Dreamworthy cloudscapes and rooftop escapes
To the rooftop is just where we carefully picked our way, across the rain-slicked stairway to see the new Hollywood-style Baptiste Rooftop Pool, Bar & Lounge for sundowner cocktails surrounded by majestic mountains.
This is another photo opportunity, with an infinity pool that features semi-submerged loungers and seems to flow off the edge of the building into the iconic beach below, so don’t think you’ll leave your camera or phone behind on your rooftop excursion.
By then we were ready for a spot of relaxing away from the world, so we were pleased to find that in-room comforts include the full-suite of Netflix, as well as a Marshall Bluetooth speaker to pair with your phone, a Nespresso machine with complimentary coffee pods, a selection of soft drinks in the bar fridge, and sliding glass doors that both let in those postcard-perfect sea views and block out the noise of the revellers all around you.
The bathroom perfects that silvery silence with shiny white and chrome touches throughout, and a dream-worthy trompe l'oeil fresco-style cloudy grey wallpaper that starts above the headboard and extends the bed, complemented by contemporary chandeliers and ample grey blankets just begging for a snuggle moment.
The unseasonal grey weather outside was a replica of the swirly grey inside, so we shut the doors and spent a relaxing afternoon in the comfortable gowns and slippers provided, but soon found ourselves hungry, and spoilt for choice when it comes to dinner choices in and around the hotel…
We knew from past experience that you can’t go wrong with a reservation at Surfshack, so soon found ourselves among familiar faces as waiters warmly welcomed us back as we swanned to an indoor table heated by the pizza oven as well as a classy fireplace.
The popular spot is truly pumping at night, so it’s best to book ahead – especially if you want a spot with a view of the palm tree-lined Camps Bay beach at sunset below. Lights were a-sparkle with pink rock-salt lamps a-twinkle on the tables, and a soft background beat blocked out surrounding conversation.
While perusing the menu we went for a glass of the Kove Collection red blend and a supremely rich chocolate milkshake – this is not on the menu, but tell them the #MilkshakeQueen sent you!
To eat, we went with something different to our last visit – seeing the pizza pies whizzing from the oven to all around the restaurant made this a winner for me. I eventually settled on the pepperoni pizza with pickled chili and hot honey, adding a touch of creaminess with a dash of feta added.
We stuck to the meaty theme with my husband opting for the 250g fillet topped with pepper sauce and a side of French fries drenched in ‘sexy sauce’. The pizza was so large that I had to take the last two slices back to the hotel room with me for a midnight snack.
The food was delicious and the venue offering everything you’d imagine when ending a day in Camps Bay, as the sky had started to clear by then so we were treated to a spectacular sunset, which we viewed from the privacy of our own balcony, back in those cosy slippers and gowns, with a taste of Cote d’Or chocolates to sweeten our thoughts.
Zesty, zingy mornings start at Bilboa
Following a peaceful night’s sleep under the external and internal grey cloudscape, we headed downstairs to Bilboa restaurant for breakfast.
This is the breakfast spot of choice when staying at the Marly, as your morning meal is included in your stay – in-room dining is also an option. It was a chilly morning so we appreciated the ‘wood-burning’ lookalike gas firepit on the balcony overlooking the Camps Bay beach below.
The Kove Collection has a bevy of eateries under their name, most residing alongside the popular Camps Bay strip. Latest addition Bilboa joins its seaside siblings - Zen Zero, La Belle, The Marley, Paranga, Umi and the soon to launch Chinchilla - and is a worthy addition to the family.
The cappuccinos were strong and juices zingy – think pineapple, cucumber and jalapeno or carrot, orange and ginger.
There’s also a wide variety of eats, ranging from Amaranth oatmeal, featuring cinnamon, honey, cashew nuts and apple; to ‘jammy’ soft-boiled eggs with feta and herbs; or wild mushrooms with shallots, garlic, thyme, parmesan, truffle-oil and poached eggs.
For those with a larger appetite in the morning, there are also three eggs benedict options, all served on breakfast muffin with sumac hollandaise, and your choice of streaky bacon, smoked salmon or buttered spinach.
There’s also a breakfast bowl featuring almond, quinoa, baby spinach, kale, avocado and soft-boiled egg; and for those in need of a touch of morning sweetness, I had tough choice between the hazelnut hotcakes served with warm dates and maple; and the rosewater-cardamom French toast, served with maple syrup, zesty citrus yoghurt and the sweet tongue-crunch of dried rose petals.
Tummies purring and ready for the day ahead, we took in the Camps Bay sights with a brisk stroll along the promenade before heading back to our room for a lazy Sunday lie-in as rooms only need to be vacated by 11am.
This was followed by a speedy check-out before heading to the Marly Spa for a head, neck and shoulders hot stone massage featuring heated pink Himalayan salt discs in the special therapy rooms.
A sultry spa experience
My husband thoroughly enjoyed this while I spent an equally relaxing time in the welcome area paging through informative books covering how to keep your sense of calm and the restorative power of sleep.
The Marly hotel’s all-white and gleaming marble appeal follows suit in the cocoon-like Spa, so it feels like a true extension of the hotel in this cocoon of luxury and exclusive comfort from first whiff of the spa’s signature uplifting lemon verbena scent.
The therapists soothe you through top-to-toe treatments ranging from targeted facials to bespoke signature treatments at the spa’s manicure bar, pedicure stations and four tranquil treatment rooms offering customisable lighting and music preferences.
Having been offered chilled water or a cup of loose-leaf tea before his treatment began, my husband walked out a new man, with a fresh spring in his step as he tilted his neck this way and that to revel in the lack of knots.
The weather may have been gloomy but our mood was the complete opposite as we slowly wound our way out of the parking lot and back to the beautiful reality of a Sunday afternoon in Camps Bay below.
Perhaps it was looking over the green tiled roof of Blues Restaurant that reminded Paul Kovensky, of The Kove Collection, about Fairmont's chateau-styled hotels but what ever the inspiration, the high-glam meets chateau-chic of The Marly is inspired.
Named for and design-inspired by the decadent countryside leisure palace originally built for French ‘sun king’ Louis XIV, The Marly offers the perfect blend of relaxation and escapism, of historic charm with modern life must-haves, while keeping a finger on the pulse of beachfront excitement.
Soda Design even went so far as to commission South African artist Riaan Van Zyl to create the series of over 120 contemporary charcoal-sketch portraits that adorn the walls throughout The Marly, in order to replicate the paintings by old masters which hung in Louis XIV’s château.
The only downside of our stay was the out-of-our-hands damp weather, as a late check-in meant we had only a handful of sunshine hours to explore all that The Marly has to offer. But we’ll be back!
*Leigh Andrews was a guest of The Marly, Marly Spa, Bilboa and Surfshack. The comprehensive Marly expansion programme was completed on 1 December 2019. The Marly’s pool is open from 8am until 8pm every day, while the Baptiste lounge and bar opens with full service from 11am until 8pm for both guests and the public, but reservations in advance are required. Visit The Marly’s website and stay up-to-date with the latest updates via The Marly’s Instagram and Facebook feeds.
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