12 blissful seaside spots in Kalk Bay

Posted by Pippa de Bruyn on 13 March 2017

Kalk Bay is one of South Africa’s prettiest seaside villages, which makes it popular. Our expert Pippa de Bruyn picks out 13 of the loveliest rooms in its heart. Photographs by Teagan Cunniffe.

The case for Kalk Bay:

The views and quality of light are extraordinary

Built on slopes above the sweep of False Bay, its waters are held in the long mountainous embrace of the Kogelberg that culminates in Hangklip across the bay. The interplay of light and cloud on an ocean that can be as translucent as the Mediterranean is simply mesmerising. Sunrise is a real showstopper. Better still, the light stays soft and balmy ‒ very different from the relentless roasting of an Atlantic seaboard summer, where the better part of the day one has to skulk behind the half-gloom of drawn blinds.

It’s filled with charming turn-of-the-century architecture

Kalk Bay residents don’t equate size with luxury, so the scale and proportions are welcoming, and the village has an active historical society that is protective of the buildings and cobbled streets that define its character.

It has a real village feel

Geographically, Kalk Bay is very distinctive, and despite being inundated with tourists in the summer there is still a core community that doesn’t follow the usual formulaic class lines ‒ fishermen, artists, wealthy retirees, dropouts, hippies, entrepreneurs ‒ all passionate about their village.

There’s lots to do

Kalk Bay punches way above its weight in terms of culinary and retail offerings. It is arguably the most pleasant shopping precinct in the city, with a great independent bookshop, good jeweller (Anpa), a theatre, art galleries (make a point of popping into Kalk Bay Modern and Artvark), a bakery and a plethora of restaurants, of which Harbour House and Live Bait offer the city’s finest sea views.

 

1. By The Seaside Cottage

kalk-bay-by-the-seaside

TripAdvisor No. 4 of 5 B&B/Inns
This dinky little freestanding cottage (shown on page 45) in the garden of artist Chris Silverston should be listed on TripAdvisor under Speciality Lodgings rather than B&B/Inns; that said, it’s a real gem. French doors at the end of a garden path open into a compact lounge-dining-kitchen area, with another set of French doors leading to your private patio with wrought-iron table and chairs. A staircase leads up to the loft bedroom, filled with fantastic sea views and light spilling over the queen-size bed through a large sash window. Chris has a great eye for the interesting and the beautiful but never at the expense of comfort, and you are encouraged to put your feet up and make yourself at home in her pretty garden. Location is great too: quiet and set back from the bustling centre yet five minutes walk from the high street.
Room tip: Chris also has a delightful two-bedroom unit attached to her house (capestay.co.za). In peak season she rents this out together with the house ‒ combined it sleeps six, and is one of the classiest options in town (perfecthideaways.co.za).
Cost: Cottage and unit both from R750 for two sharing, R100 per person extra. Two-night minimum stay. Exclusive-use from R6500, minimum stay one week.
Contact: safarinow.com

2. The Dalebrook

kalk-bay-dalebrook

Unlisted
Kalk Bay might not have the beach and surf culture of Muizenberg but it does have a couple of delightful swim spots. Dalebrook tidal pool plays host to a group of early-rising locals who gather here daily in dressing gowns with steaming mugs of tea. Historic Dalebrook Place, a 1920s apartment block, is directly opposite. The apartment makes the most of the sea view with slide-and-fold doors ‒ once open, you feel as if you’re living on a large deck, with the smell of the ocean wafting in (and yes, the sound of trains rumbling past and traffic noise, though it usually dies down by sunset). The apartment is also surprisingly capacious ‒ three bedrooms sharing two bathrooms ‒ and furnished with real flair.
Room tip: The main bedroom at the back is the one to bag. The others are fairly small, so it’s good for a family but not for a group of friends who don’t like pulling straws.
Cost: From R2500 (sleeps six). Minimum two-night stay.
Contact: cape-accommodation.co.za

 

3. Chartfield Guesthouse

kalk-bay-chartfield-house

TripAdvisor No. 1 of 5 B&B/Inns
A surprising dearth of B&B options in this popular village makes the high standard here all the more commendable – not only the best B&B in Kalk Bay, but one of my top picks in Cape Town. Shireen and Florian Blöchliger carved 16 en-suite rooms out of this double-storey home, keeping much of the original turn-of-the-century character and furnishing it in simple, comfortable pieces (a mix of vintage and Weylandts) and well-chosen art. It’s a testament to Florian’s long-standing hospitality skills that this excellent-value B&B feels like a little hotel, with extra details such as complimentary tea and coffee served in bed, a generous pool with adequate loungers, great breakfasts and young, efficient staff.
Room tip: Best is the loft room, followed by the deluxe rooms 4, 5 and 11. Of the standards (no sea views), number 9 is a top choice followed by 10 (taken together, 10 and 11 make a great family unit). It’s a house, so be aware that if you end up with a room in the passages it can be a bit noisy.
Cost: Standard room from R700, deluxe from R890, loft from R990 (all sleep two).
Contact: chartfield.co.za

 

4. Crow’s Nest

crows-nest-kalk-bay
Unlisted
Views are largely a given in a village built on a mountain slope, but this apartment is one awesome eyrie. It’s a stiff walk to get to your front door but well worth the effort when you step into an enormous horizon framed by virtually floor-to-ceiling windows. The main bedroom is situated right behind the lounge, and sliding doors mean you can enjoy the view while lying in bed. Decor-wise it’s a bit ‘stage set’, with quirky antiques that are more about making a statement than comfort, but it’s characterful and fun, with some great details (loved the ‘honesty wine rack’ – a great selection of wines, clearly labelled by varietal and well priced). There are two bedrooms sharing one fabulous open-plan shower room, but the living space is fairly intimate and feels more suitable for
a couple or young family. It’s managed by Chartfield House, so you have the backup of the guest house.
Room tip: If this doesn’t suit you or isn’t available, take a look at the other self-catering options managed by Chartfield House.
Cost: From R1200 (sleeps four).
Contact: kalkbayapartment.co.za

5. Fairwater

kalk-bay-fairwater

Unrated on TripAdvisor
Located in the centre of the village, Fairwater is another of Kalk Bay’s historic gems, artfully renovated by Louise Parr to create a family home- from-home that can comfortably accommodate eight. The downstairs open-plan living space has a large well-equipped kitchen, a lounge with fireplace and spacious dining area. It has no view but opens to a small garden in the front and a protected courtyard at the back; there is also an en-suite bedroom on this level (ideal for grandparents or in-laws if you’re planning a multi-generational reunion). The other three bedrooms are upstairs. Garden space is limited but directly opposite the house is a park with a play area, overlooked by Bobs Bagel Cafe (which, incidentally, serves a very good coffee).
Room tip: The main en-suite bedroom, opening onto a small balcony with sea view, is the plum.
Cost: From R2000 (sleeps eight). Three-night minimum stay.
Contact: thekalkbayportfolio.co.za

6. Theresa’s at Kalk Bay

kalk-bay-theresas

Unlisted
Theresa Lewis has created the most delightful north-facing apartment above her 1925 home, with large steel-frame windows providing picturesque views of both mountain and harbour, and a position that catches the last rays of the sun. It’s furnished with a quirky mix of what the artistic Theresa calls ‘junk’ and contemporary pieces ‒ a bain-marie has been reconfigured into a kitchen unit with sink and hob, a claw-foot bath is combined with an open walk-in shower ‒ producing a space that is both more characterful and cheaper than anything you’ll find in Majestic Village. The location is also very convenient ‒ a two- minute stroll to the harbour and seafront, but in a quiet street set back one block from the main road.
Room tip: Theresa’s is understandably popular, and there’s only one at this price with this view. But in the same price range (around R200 more) is Fisherman’s Cove, a tiny, historic, semi-detached cottage with no views but very cute, managed by Away From Home (see Majestic Village).
Cost: R750 (sleeps two). Three-night or more minimum stay.
Contact: capestay.co.za

 

7. Kimberly House

kalk-bay-kimberly-house

Unlisted
There are lots of lovely grand old houses in Kalk Bay but there is something very special about the atmosphere of Kimberley House. It’s on the St James side of the village, halfway up a semi-cobbled cul-de-sac, and while lots of its original 1895 period features have been retained – mountain stonework, high ceilings, circular windows, oregon pine floors – it’s been sensitively renovated to create the easy-living flow of a modern house. There’s a large entertainer’s kitchen, plenty of doors and windows opening onto a huge, deep, semi-circular stoep with serene sea views, and a protected courtyard out back. The terraced garden is equally inviting, with a lovely shaded seating area. All three double rooms are en-suite, with more French doors. The lounge has a fireplace and sofas that invite you to flop down and gaze at the view ’til your eyelids get heavy. There’s a separate utility room, 10-seater dining room and parking for four cars – ideal if you intend having visitors over.
Room tip: There is a sleeper couch in the TV room so you can add extra guests at a push.
Cost: From R2950 (sleeps six).
Contact: kimberley-house.co.za

 

8. Majestic Village

kalk-bauy-majestic-village

Unlisted
If you’re looking for a one- or two-bedroom apartment with contemporary finishes, hotel-like facilities (pool, spa, gym) and strictly controlled access, book a unit in Majestic Village. A surprisingly large and architecturally textured security complex, the Village embraces both of Kalk Bay’s original 1930s hotels, repurposed into the 18-apartment New Kings and 14-apartment Majestic, as well as an organic mix of purpose-built apartment blocks, each architecturally unique in style and name (Quays, Mews, Middedorp, Millhouse, Townhouses etc). The mix of styles and low-slung design with pretty landscaping works well; wandering along the neat lanes of this faux village (reminiscent of Joburg’s Westcliff hotel), one can’t help but covet an apartment here; luckily you can rent one and just pretend you do.
Room tip: Melissa Jackson (proprietor of Away From Home) manages by far the largest portfolio of apartments in Majestic Village. I particularly like New Kings 6, Quays 6 (aka Harbour View) and Mews 1. Grant Holden has a great two-bedroom apartment simply called The Majestic.
Cost: Most are from R1100 or R1250 (sleep two to four). The Majestic is from R2800. Minimum-stay rules apply.
Contact: The Majestic 0769492480; capestay.co.za

 

9. Lynedoch

I wish there was space to visually feature this delightful, old-fashioned Kalk Bay villa. Sleeping 12 in six bedrooms, it is the biggest house I inspected in the village and represents excellent value. Unrenovated but in mint condition, it is clearly much loved by its UK-based owners and well tended by a live-in housekeeper. Located on a quiet road high up in the village, the views are astounding.
Cost: From R2400.
Contact: airbnb.com

 

10. The Firmount

Another excellent historic home (built 1919), which also enjoys a fantastic elevated location and is well managed by welcoming host Ted Saczek. There’s ample space for six people in three bedrooms and a variety of places (including the outside shower) to enjoy the marvellous views.
Cost: From R1800 (minimum two nights).
Contact: thefirmount.com

 

11. Beacons’ View

If you’re a family of four on a budget, this apartment is a great option. It’s in a small block set back from the bottom end of Boyes Drive, so the views are not as spectacular but you are in walking distance from the village. The apartment is nicely furnished and has real old-fashioned charm. A fabulous bargain if you don’t mind not being in a front-row seat.
Cost: From R940 for four (minimum two nights).
Contact: capestay.co.za

 

12. Spindrift

kalk-bay-spindrift

This is Louise Parr’s new one-bedroom apartment below her own home, neighbouring Fairwater. It has unobstructed harbour views and is another bargain.
Cost: From R1100 to R1500 a night.
Contact: thekalkbayportfolio.co.za

 

13. Eight Bells Delene Burman

Their one-bedroom flatlet is below her home situated high above Kalk Bay on the border with St James. The stairs are steep so it requires some fitness, but it’s very private and has a small, pet-friendly garden with a table shaded by an oak tree. It’s the views that will take your breath away, though.
Cost: From R500 (three- night minimum).
Contact: capestay.co.za

 

This story first appeared in the December 2016 issue of Getaway magazine.

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