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All reviewsleopard barazure restauranttwelve apostlesoystershead conciergecape townshuttle servicehigh teafree shuttlemain restaurantattention to detailtreated like royaltysea facing roomworld classamazing hotelthe atlantic oceanluxury room
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Reviewed March 7, 2009

Every hotel featured on this site has some poor reviews, so I noted the less positive on the 12 Apostles before setting off for a week R&R last month, figuring i would go with the majority view which seemed to be hugely positive.

I want to set the context for my comments 1st, because my needs and expectations might well be different to those who rate the hotel so highly. I was looking for a small resort type hotel with:
- Plenty of private space for lounging around away from too many other guests
- Great, attentive sun lounger service
- Good sized pool
- Coast access for walking (but not necessarily a beach)
- Great fitness facilities with Sauna and steam / spa
- Spacious room with great view
- Nice restaurant to avoid having to go into Town every night
The publicity suggests this is all available at the 12 Apostles, so I dug deep to find the US$800 per night for a sea facing room.

I think my main problem is that everything here is small - and feels it. The rooms, the public areas, the pool location in particular and the spa are all very compact. Its difficult to find space for yourself, and indeed the main pool area (such that it is) has space for maybe only 30 people. When i was there, I shared this space with quite a large mixed family group (perhaps 5 or 6 couples, some with kids). It felt like i was intruding into someone's wedding and it was difficult to avoid them and give them space. I say main pool - but its very small, but is the only 1 of the 2 which has sea view. the other pool (such that it is) is tucked behind the hotel in some sort of mock nature trail, so isn't really an option. Sunbed service was minimal throughout my time there - though there were nice touches of iced jugs of fruity water on stand-by. In short, this would be fine for a quick hour of sunning after a day touring, but not the sort of place to while away a few days - its simply not big enough or spacious enough.

I have to concur with the negative views of the road from other reviewers. Perhaps it depends on the condition of the ocean - when I was there it was flat calm, so the traffic was very audible. I disagree with the manager's response to the earlier review as this is a busy road, perhaps not the 2-lane superhighway the review might have suggested, but nevertheless during the day quite a lot of commercial traffic does pass the hotel. It is noticable as the hotel and all the outdoor space by the ocean is right next to the road. Our sea-facing room was maybe 50 yards from this road. So another reason why you might not want to stay here all day unless the ocean is throwing up a lot of surf to distract you.

A word about the ocean - you cant get close to it. The road is in the way.

If you need fitness facilities, they are tucked in a heavily mirrored attic room - and there is not much to them. Also they are not part of the spa, so forget use of the spa facilities after. The Spa itself was just plain weird - lots of investment in strange indoor rock formations, but no thought to provide decent changing rooms (mens - cant speak for ladies) - i kept hitting my head on the ceiling!

While the rooms were nicely finished - ours was not of a size that matched the price. The bed itself had some sort of four poster thing going on but without the curtains and canopy. So i'm not sure what that was about.

And finally the service - it was all a bit hand-wringing and overly subservient - bordering on the insincere.

I am really at a loss how this hotel earns the reputation it clearly has. I'll simply chalk it down to my needs being different to those who find this hotel so good. The manager was gracious about my feedback and agreed to release us from our weeks booking after staying just the one-night.

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled with friends
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6  Thank Simon R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 7, 2009

We were 3 nights at the 12 Apostles and whilst it was a very relaxing and enjoyable stay, this was enough. The service and staff were great and the hotel clean with very well appointed luxurious rooms. Our room was at the back of the hotel in what I presumed to be a new-ish wing. I am glad it was, as it was quiet and away from the road that runs across the front of the hotel. Apart from the road, the location is ideal. It's close to Camps Bay, which has all the bars and restaurants you could want as well as a stunning beach.

The hotel bar is an ideal place to have cocktails and watch the sun set and the main restaurant is very nice but with a limited menu. It's the same menu that is served throughout the hotel.

The spa is OK. If you have visited some of the best spas in the world, you will probably be disappointed. If you are a novice, you will find its cave-like atmosphere an experience.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank JohnLF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 20, 2009

My husband and I spent 4 nights at the Twelve Apostles - our penultimate hotel during a two-and-a-half week visit to the Garden Route and Cape Town. It was luxury throughout. The room (a superior quality one overlooking the bay) was wonderful; what impressed us was the attention to detail in the design of it: dimmer lights throughout, of course, and a night light facility in the ensuite bathroom; a row of international electric wall sockets, which precluded the need for adaptors; and a small 'lobby' area, with a small table for leaving clutter and a row of coat hooks. The room was practically a suite (albeit a small one, by suite standards - but we had booked it as a superior room so didn't expect it to be a suite), with the bedroom part on the higher area of a split level floor, with settee, desk and arm chairs and a small dining table in the lower half, whose French windows opened onto our own patio area (though not enclosed nor separated from next door's), complete with sun bed, which then gave way to a grassed area overlooking the bay. Flat screen TVs were in both sections of the room - the sections could be separated at night by a thick divider curtain. Although we overlooked the road we weren't bothered by noise from outside (and I am a light sleeper!), but sometimes we were bothered by noise from other guests (particularly children running about) in the corridor right outside our door. An additional inner door would alleviate this problem.
The best thing about this hotel, though, was the service - particularly the attitude and professionalism of the staff. The staff generally call you by name, and they often remember your preferences and regular orders. On one or two occasions the service fell short of the standards we expect of a hotel of this calibre, but what impressed us was the seriousness with which our complaints were taken, and the concern showed by the concierge when, on checking out, he noticed a few small complaints noted on our feedback card, although we had simply handed it over to him and hadn't expected him to read it there and then. He immediately sent for the duty manager, Alex Burgess, who was equally professional, courteous and concerned - indeed, mortified! - to hear the details of the incidents that had caused us to rate them as less than perfect. Moreover, on returning home, I found an email from the hotel general manager thanking me for my feedback and asking for further details on the few issues that we had given less than a perfect score on our guest feedback card. It is this level of service and customer focus that distinguishes a top class hotel, and it is this - among other things - that will ensure that we return and that we recommend the hotel unreservedly.

  • Stayed: September 2008, traveled as a couple
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Thank Smitherson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 19, 2009

If you could specify a stunning location, a hotel designed with ambience and relaxation in mind, plus superb dining and a great spa thrown in, then the 12 Apostles is what you would get - all this plus wonderful staff - its a very special place - we have been twice and will go again - there's a wonderful choice of rooms and stunning views of sea and or mountains - The Azur restuarant is top class and in sunny days breakfast on their terrace is superb offset with a magnificent view of the atlantic. Nothing is too much trouble for the staff here and there is a warm welcome and salutation around every corner. Just heavenly.

  • Stayed: January 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank sweblig
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 18, 2009

My wife and I stayed here for just one night whilst some friends were staying three. We checked in together and had both booked the same standard of room. Our friends room was extremely small whilst ours was a good size with a considerably larger ensuite. We were assured that both rooms were of the same standard but this was not the case in my eyes. We agreed to swap rooms as their stay was longer (though this meant getting a cot in our new room was a bit iof a squeeze), the manager on duty initially said this would not be possible as the larger rooom was reserved after we left....in fairness he did come back and agree but he had little choice and it still meant my wife and I had a small room and had paid just as much as the other couple who were getting much better value.
The hotel is located a couple of miles out of Camps Bay but has an hourly shuttle service. This is complimentory until 8pm from the hotel and 8.45pm from Camps Bay, after that you call them for a pick-up. They don't mention until you check out that this is no longer complimentary and is about 10 times the cost of a taxi - very, very annoying.
The included breakfast is of a high standard but the service was terrible. We had to wait for anything and everything, a coffee, a refill, toast, eggs, your dirty plate being removed so you can fetch something else etc. What was difficlut was simply locating a waiter, whenever you needed something they seemed to have disappeared or were busy setting up an empty table somewhere else rather than serving the guests who were already in the room!! The poor manager of the restaurant was running around trying to help everyone when he would be better advised to get some control over his staff. I certainly would not consider having dinner here.
The reception stafff were very helpful, assisiting with activities, having the rental car picked up saving the trouble of dropping it off, booking us in on-line for the flight home and trying to confirm good seats on the plane.
The hotel has a decent but small pool area, the bar has a good atmosphere with a lovely balcony for the sunsets.
Over all it is a high quality hotel with generally helpful and attentive staff but it all seems a little strained - the experince wasn't relaxing as we constantly seemed to be sorting out little problems and you expect more from a 5 star hotel. Next time I will stay closer to Camps Bay or possibly near the V&A Waterfront which is a more cosmopolitan and less touristy place than it was a couple of years ago on my last visit.

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled with family
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Thank JADB_UK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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