Cape Town is a city of hidden gems – and none of them seems to be better hidden than The Dock House Boutique Hotel at the V&A Waterfront.
You may be wondering how anything could possibly be hidden at the V&A Waterfront. After all, this is Cape Town’s largest tourist attraction, drawing in an estimated 24 million visitors annually (in a pre-Covid world).
But if you’ve ever seen an aerial photograph depicting the outlines of everything the V&A Waterfront actually encompasses, then you’ll know just how large the V&A is.
So finding hidden gems in this popular spot is entirely possible.
I’ve certainly been lucky enough to discover quite a few of them over the last couple of years.
The Dock House Hotel
The Dock House Hotel is situated right across from what I’d call the main section of the V&A Waterfront.
If you cross the road near Cause & Effect, head up the stairs that take you to the Springbok Experience Rugby Museum, and follow the path to the end, you’ll find yourself in a secluded little spot filled with parking bays, buildings, and tons of nooks and crannies.
Congratulations; you’ve just found the entrance to The Dock House Hotel.
Of course, the easier route would be just driving into the area from Portswood Road, but where’s the fun in that?
The Dock House Hotel doesn’t look like much from the parking area. All you’re greeted by is a small entrance in what seems to be an unassuming brick building.
But what you don’t yet know is that the building in question used to be the Harbour Master’s private residence in the 1800s and that the interior is graced with Victorian charm, chandeliers, and ornate ceiling cornices.
Or that the front of the building opens up to a large garden with a pool and a bar, completely enclosed by plant-covered fencing.
The massive Cape Wheel may peek out from behind the fences, but otherwise, you’re completely cut off from the rest of the world.
You’re about to step into a luxury boutique hotel that promises to offer you an inner-city getaway like no other.
The Dock House Boutique Hotel Rooms
The hotel is boutique in every sense of the word.
It features five elegant rooms and one luxury suite, all of which are equipped with satellite TV, mini bar, coffees, teas, biscuits, a king-size bed, 300-thread count cotton bedding, air conditioning, an en-suite designer bathroom with luxury amenities, heated towel rails, bathrobes and slippers, hairdryers, international plugs, and an electronic safe.
Other hotel services and facilities include:
- Complimentary refreshments on arrival
- An elegant morning room
- Private library
- Concierge service
- 24-hour room service
- Daily room servicing
- Laundry and dry cleaning services, on request
- Daily newspaper, on request
- Secretarial services
- Travel consultancy
- Airport, city, and restaurant transfers
- Secure parking
- Facilities for persons with limited mobility
- Environmentally-friendly amenities
- Swimming pool
Of course, I didn’t need any of those as my experience of The Dock House Hotel literally involved plopping down in the hotel room and enjoying the spoils for some much-needed relaxation.
Our Hotel Room
We stayed in one of the downstairs rooms, with French doors leading out into the garden – perfect for some afternoon tea or pre-breakfast coffee.
And the room is really everything it is made out to be.
The bed is as luxuriously soft and comfortable as you’d imagine, there’s tons of space to move around (perfect for some morning yoga, if you wish), and the chandelier that graces the room gives it all an air of finesse.
And the bathroom is just as spectacular, with a large bath gracing the centre of the enormous room and looking out into the garden. You may just need to plan your bath times appropriately to fully enjoy this – or close the curtains.
All bathroom amenities are by Woodbury & Co, a collection uniquely designed with an apothecary feel and a fig & brown sugar fragrance.
And, yes, these products are as wonderful as they sound.
Activities at The Dock House Hotel
The hotel doesn’t aim to impress you with a wide range of activities. After all, this is the place you visit for utter relaxation.
As a side note, they do offer various experiences – including city tours, safaris, peninsula tours, shark-cage diving, helicopter flights, hiking, wine tasting, whale watching, and more. These are great if you’re visiting and would like to experience more of Cape Town.
But, none of these takes place at the hotel. Some hotels can be quite bustling. But The Dock House invites you in with its sense of calm, harking back to a time long gone when the clock moved a little slower.
So, sure, you can head down to the Waterfront to get some shopping done, visit the aquarium, or partake in any of the other gazillion activities available.
But you could also just go for a spa treatment, relax by the pool (if the weather permits), or snuggle up with a good book and enjoy the timeless feel.
After all, our lives are so busy with a constant influx of notifications and news and messages and an endless stream of worries. So sometimes it feels good just to switch off and relax.
Dining at The Dock House
Of course, I couldn’t write a whole article without mentioning food. Food does make the world go round, after all, and I am still I Love Foodies.
The Dock House is part of the Newmark Hotel Group. They also have a few other Waterfront properties that boast phenomenal restaurants.
The Dash Restaurant
The Queen Victoria Hotel is just around the corner from The Dock House.
It is home to the world-class Dash Restaurant, which I’ve had the enormous pleasure of visiting a couple of times before. I’ve always been highly impressed.
The Ginja Restaurant
Then, there’s also the V&A Hotel opposite, closer to the harbour, which houses the Ginja Restaurant.
We visited Ginja for a phenomenal prawn dinner: You can read the Ginja restaurant review here.
Ginja also has an extensive Covid-safe breakfast buffet that’s open to Dock House residents.
The Dock House Breakfast
We checked out the buffet very briefly (it is great) but were drawn to enjoying a leisurely breakfast in the gardens at The Dock House.
After all, how often can you enjoy a private breakfast in the middle of the V&A?
The Dock House breakfast menu is limited, but they can bring you anything you want.
Service is definitely at the forefront at The Dock House. I was repeatedly impressed at how kind and courteous everyone we spoke to was.
For breakfast, Sabine had scrambled eggs with bacon, mushrooms, and avocado. I enjoyed a smashed avocado toast with poached eggs and a side of bacon. Add in some coffee and teas, and, voila. Heaven.
It was beautiful.
There really is something spectacular about sitting in that garden, breathing in the greens, relishing in the fresh ocean air, hearing the seagulls sing, and switching off from everything and anything that might be calling you away.
Of course, you always have to go back to the real world … but, just for a moment, you can sit and enjoy the tranquillity. It’s almost as if you can touch the 1800s – just for a moment – before the 21st century comes calling again.
Dock House Hotel Contact Details
Exploring the Dock House Boutique Hotel and its timeless charm definitely is a worthwhile experience that will leave you wanting more.
You can reach them through any of the methods below.
Dock House Boutique Hotel
Address: Portswood Close, Portswood Ridge, 5 Portswood Rd, V&A Waterfront
Call: +27 21 427 5900
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Written by Benike Palfi
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Article Date: May 2021
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