The Marly hotel: sand, sea, food and glamour
Sarah Buitendach reviews the revamped Marly
I’ve long been dubious about the Camps Bay beach strip — for so many years it’s been all flash and no substance, and there have been zero decent places to eat.
So it’s a refreshing change to contemplate the Marly hotel. Finally, here is a good Camps Bay place to rest one’s head, play and dine in what has to be one of the best positions in the country.
The Marly has undergone an extreme makeover, following which, at the end of last year, it reopened with understandable fanfare. The boutique hotel sits directly atop two restaurants, Bilboa and Surfshack. This is logical, as they are all owned by the Kove Collection group. Kove also owns the Alphen Hotel in Constantia and a bevy of other smart restaurants in the Mother City. In fact, over the past few years the group has entrenched itself as the company that does chic yet approachable hospitality and food offerings here.
And the revamped hotel is a clever play. The suites are generous and thoughtfully designed — all white, taupe and glam, with marble bathrooms and lovely balconies. They offer the sort of slick luxe that people expect from a fancy hideaway.
The rest of the spaces are more playful, though perhaps a bit too "Philippe Starck does design hotels in the 1990s" for my taste.
But that’s easily forgotten when you’re up on the roof of the building at the Marly’s staggeringly lovely bar area and pool. It’s got 360º views of the ocean, Camps Bay’s outlandish architecture and the Twelve Apostles mountain range from loungers you’ll want to live on. Plus, all the staff — bartenders and waiters included — are tops.
You can also make use of the smart new Marly Spa and, of course, there are the restaurants downstairs. Both do really good sharing plates and trendy eats such as Bilboa’s grilled sumac calamari and Surfshack’s "poor man’s lobster rolls" (prawns are the skint version of lobster, it seems). Importantly for the social and Instagram set, they are also prime places to sip on a cocktail, and to see and be seen.
And then, of course, you can walk straight down the steps, cross the road (carefully!) and the sand, and you’re in the Atlantic Ocean.
• The writer was a guest of the Marly