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Posted on: Saturday, 5 September 2009

High Tea at the One&Only

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Vista Lounge

Vista Lounge

In search of an early start to the weekend, I took off to the One&Only Hotel at the V&A Waterfront. Having been lucky enough to enjoy High Tea at The Palace in Sun City, I wondered if Sol Kerzner’s new offering at the Waterfront could match up.

Afternoon Tea is served from 14h30 to 18h00 every day in the Vista Lounge. The double volume lounge is certainly quite opulent with a magnificent view of Table Mountain (when not obstructed by clouds) and the waterways which surround the two man-made islands that house 40 of the 131 rooms available at the hotel.

Choosing couches at the 8 metre high windows, we prepared ourselves for a true indulgence – tea and cakes in Cape Town’s premier new hotel during working hours (bliss). We were greeted with a huge smile by our waiter and presented with an extensive cocktail menu. I will definitely return to sample some cocktails (the candy floss concoction I saw delivered to another table certainly has me intrigued), but our focus on this day was High Tea, so ordering a pot of tea for 4, we set to the task at hand.

One of three tiers

One of three tiers

While the selection may not be as large or as varied as at the Mount Nelson, the delicate desserts and savouries on offer are as tasty as they are visually appealing. From traditional favourites like black forest cake and lemon meringue to home grown favourites like koeksisters. Caramel éclairs, scones with jams and clotted cream, chocolate slices (my favourite), pannacotta, banoffee and tiramisu pots … there is something for everyone in this selection. Yum!

One of the things I really liked was that this High Tea allows you to try as little or as much as you like. While the High Tea at the Mount Nelson will set you back a tidy R150 PER PERSON irrespective of whether you eat like a rabbit or piglet (can’t say I’m the former), here at the One&Only you can choose a 3-tiered selection of sweets and savouries for 2 persons (including tea) for only R180 or choose two of the cake slices for R50. This actually makes it quite affordable, even in today’s penny-watching times.

My only real criticism is the overpowering floral scent in the foyer (think bathroom deodouriser on steroids … though I hear they were aiming for vanilla). This is a permanent feature (I know, because of a recent visit to The Maze Restaurant) and one I don’t really understand.

On the bright side, after we’d tried just about every dessert on offer, the private walkways outside the hotel provide the perfect opportunity to try to burn off some the much-enjoyed calories. A moment on the lips …

If, like me, you enjoy celebrating South Africa’s colonial heritage with High Tea, the Vista Lounge at the One&Only Hotel is a great option. Treat your mother or a friend and make it a tradition here or at another of Cape Town’s Premier Teatime Spots.


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Stefani Searle


Stefani is a self confessed bookworm, and to relax, she loves to curl up with a good book and get drawn into another world. Spending time with her family and friends is very important to her. She loves hosting dinner parties and is always cooking tasty meals and trying out new and wonderful recipes. Proudly South African, Stefani is always checking out great new places and fun things to do in the country for both foreigners and locals. She loves to explore the country and is probably planning her next trip right now. She has a love for dogs and enjoys taking her large 6 year old Rottweiler out for walks around the Cape.

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