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Sail away at the PortsWood Hotel

Given that it's located at the V&A Waterfront, perhaps it's not surprising that the PortsWood, one of two dozen Legacy Group hotels across Africa, has a nautical theme.
On the walls in the lobby are maps from a time when early sailors gave Africa a different shape, while models of famous ships sat anchored behind glass. The maritime theme continues upstairs as you make your way down the third floor (the "Business Deck"), with boat imprints on the carpet and paintings of ships on the walls.

Out of just over a hundred rooms in the recently refurbished hotel, I spent the night in the SS Statendam suite. The name refers to one of four ships from the Holland America Line, a company that dates back to 1873 and played a key part in transporting hundreds of thousands of immigrants from The Netherlands to the US.

And yet there was nothing ancient about the room, overlooking a waterfall pool that would later provide soothing sounds as I fell asleep. With its clean lines and soft shades of white, grey and blue, the suite made me feel like I was in a luxury yacht.

Just like the hotel, the menu at the Quarterdeck Restaurant takes inspiration from history too. The best way to experience the speciality Cape Malay cuisine is to opt for the Chef's Feast: a three-course meal featuring the bestselling items from head chef Craig Paulse.

I did the sensible thing and tried a bit of everything - for you, dear reader - before enjoying the baked vanilla cheesecake with berry compote for dessert. More sensibly, I skipped the coffee and koeksister, opting to sip on an oh-so-colonial gin and tonic instead. Although the hotel is a striking contrast of past and present, my waistline and I chose to think of the future too!

Eugene Yiga was a guest of the PortsWood Hotel, PortsWood Rd, Portwood Square, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town. Call +27 (0)21 418 3281, email moc.sletohycagel@doowstrop or go to

About Eugene Yiga

Eugene graduated from the University of Cape Town with distinctions in financial accounting and classical piano. He then spent over two-and-half years working in branding and communications at two of South Africa's top market research companies. Eugene also spent over three-and-a-half years at an eLearning start-up, all while building his business as an award-winning writer. Visit, follow @eugeneyiga on Twitter, or email moc.agiyenegue@olleh to say, um, hello.


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