There are many reasons to choose to stay at the Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa (www.12apostleshotel.com) – the perfect proximity and distance from fabulous Cape Town, the “nothing is too much to ask” service, the world class spa or the fine dining Azure restaurant. It is the place to see and be seen and I see guests arriving like movie stars in convertibles and limousines. I of course choose this hotel for its spectacular setting, discretely distanced from surrounding built up areas, overlooking a natural coastline and backing up against the Twelve Apostles mountain range.
I arrive early and wander around, professional staff diving out of my way as I approach. I ask directions to the pool. “Which one?” my host asks. There are three swimming pools – a natural rock pool with mountain views, an infinity pool which overlooks the sea and the spa pool set within a cool white cave. There are also several bars and dining areas and the Leopard Bar has a dark cigar lounge feel on one side, with breath-taking sea views and al fresco dining tables on the other side. I am a little overwhelmed by the choices and find a quiet table in the shade overlooking the infinity pool to settle in and do some writing before my spa treatment in the calm and sophisticated spa.
My suite is heavenly, with a sunken lounge and raised bed which looks out onto the ocean on two sides. A dramatic wall of glass provides instant access to the dark blue sea views. As expected from one of the internationally successful Red Carnation Hotels (www.redcarnationhotels.com), the decor is elegant - both timeless and modern, with beautifully upholstered chairs and couch under a creative mirror. Fresh fruit and a white orchid are placed on the lounge table, together with a choice of magazines and books. The bed is dressed in silky white linen with a gold triple satin-stitched oxford trim - reaching new thread-count heights from which, I suspect, there is no return. In the spacious tiled bathroom there are quality beauty products from the spa. A soft robe and beach bag are provided for use in the suite, spa or pool.
I am staying at the Twelve Apostles on a “detox” package. I am not sure what I am detoxing from, aside from perhaps my rational self. Apart from the heavenly detoxifying Rasul treatment, I live it up, with popcorn and a milkshake to go with a DVD, delivered to my suite through room service. I page through a plethora of magazines and make the most of the free wifi. The weather is unsettled, as am I. I am running away from myself and to this aim there are plenty of fun diversions to be had. I excitedly flick through them all.
Finally I settle into my glorious bed to try and quieten down. From this vantage point I look down directly onto the ocean. I watch squalls move haphazardly across the water and I let the sea do its work on my soul. At first it is disturbing and uncomfortable. But I am learning to stay with it and see the storm through to the other side. The sun sets and the moon rises over the sea, still thrashing. I sleep little, spellbound by its restless beauty. Gradually towards morning the sea finally stills and there is a dawn hush where everything feels possible and hopeful. Instead of escaping from myself I feel a gentle coming home to myself, and I leave a healthier version of myself, cleansed of chaos and unrest.