The birth of the Instagram #traveller in an era of “experiences-not-things” has reshaped the travel landscape. Modern explorers want freedom, flexibility and unique experiences; to be embedded in a city, rather than just a tourist on the periphery. They’re discerning. They want options and exclusivity.
In a nutshell, they want The Marly.
For one thing, there’s its world-class location. Camps Bay manages to catch the last glimpse of the sun as it sets, and then sensuously basks in the dusky afterglow, making it the ultimate sundowner destination. Beautiful people spill out of trendy beach bars along the main strip. Hidden in plain sight, The Marly is right in this mix, discretely located on the top floors of a vibrant shopping and dining precinct. From up here, the panoramic views of the sparkling turquoise Atlantic and amphitheatre of mountains are sensational.
Then there’s The Marly’s unique offering. Originally an 11-bedroom hotel, a five-month-long upgrade saw the addition of 27 suites, a spa, a boutique, a state-of-the-art gym and – its crowning glory – a roof deck. Crowning being the operative word: the Château de Marly was the Sun King Louis XIV’s decadent countryside residence within the Versailles complex, where he took his family to escape from the bustle of the main palace.
Twenty-first-century travel royalty wants choice, and that’s what makes The Marly stand out. It’s part of the Kove Collection’s hospitality portfolio, which includes several popular restaurants in Camps Bay, each with its own personality. Rather than dining at a dedicated hotel restaurant, The Marly’s guests can choose one of the Kove Collection’s seven restaurants, all located in the centre, allowing a different experience with every meal and the feeling of a personalised itinerary.
“The success of The Marly formula is actually quite simple: Our guests can have it all” – Paul Kovensky
“The success of The Marly formula is actually quite simple: our guests can have it all,” explains founder and MD of the Kove Collection Paul Kovensky, who settled on the name while sitting at the Café Marly at the Louvre Museum in Paris. “We’re catering to someone who appreciates unbeatable ocean and mountain views, five-star luxury accommodation in close proximity to the city, a world-class spa and gym, Camps Bay beach across the road, and seven incredible restaurants and bars to choose from in addition to the rooftop pool and lounge.” Of course, guests would be forgiven for not wanting to leave the sea- or mountain-facing suites, so there’s always room service.
Inspiration for The Marly’s design came from travel and research, says Paul. “I knew I needed to combine this timeless old-world story with Camps Bay seaside cool.”
There’s been a contemporary, sexy interpretation of French classicism. Ornate panelling has been flattened and stylised, and turned into a two-tone wall covering used throughout. In the bedrooms, Piero Fornasetti-inspired cloud wallpaper runs up the wall behind the bed and onto the ceiling in a dreamy, modern trompe-l’oeil. White-on-white is fresh and suitably coastal – and the perfect backdrop for minimalist mid-century-inspired designs, white and cream leather, blonde wood, chrome, marble and mirrors. The walls are adorned with charcoal portraits. A Scandi-style lampshade chandelier replaces a more ornate version, and slim spotlights illuminate quirky room numbers: individually crafted hands painted in a Delft style hold the sleek chrome number cards.
“We want the guests’ first impression to be about the decor, views and all-round luxury,” says Paul. “But what we want them to remember is the staff, service and care they received from the team. Creating memorable guest experiences – that’s what will bring people back.”
Is more expansion on the cards for The Marly boutique hotel and spa?
“I believe in Cape Town and in Camps Bay,” says Paul. “If the opportunity presents itself and the project feels exciting, expansion is always on the cards.”