In Miami, duplex and triplex penthouses may be the latest and greatest, but in South Africa’s Cape Town, one architectural team has quietly bested them with a five-level unit overlooking the ocean. SAOTA designed the striking stepped-back architecture of the 10-apartment Clifton Terraces, built in 2018, to take full advantage of the clifftop location on Lion’s Head. Indeed, the panoramic views from penthouse 601 extend from the city’s iconic flat-topped Table Mountain and the 12 Apostles range to the white sands of Clifton’s sheltered beaches edging the Atlantic.
The drama of the setting is echoed in the bold contrasts of the 10,000-square-foot interior, between the stunning double-volume entertaining/living area and the serene intimate spaces—a family lounge, four en suite guest bedrooms and the 1,200-square-foot primary bedroom suite on the top floor. Throughout the villa, the luxurious appointments in stone, metal and wood are enhanced by bespoke furniture by Cape Town studio Okha and a well-curated collection of paintings and sculpture by South African and international artists. The furnishings are included in the asking price of $7.757 million, with more information available from the developer, Taupo Holdings Ltd.
The open-plan main level has an inviting, sensuous feel, thanks to the sitting area with a curvilinear Repose sofa, circular rugs, contoured armchairs and a Textra coffee table made of three separable “tectonic plates.” A geometric Martin Doller chandelier illuminates the marble Morpheus dining table, while the Poggenpohl front kitchen, emblematic of the home’s state-of-the-art appliances and technology, is complemented by a back kitchen and scullery with a service entrance—ideal for catering the large parties the residence is designed for.
With 12-foot-high glass doors, the living area naturally extends to the 2,000-square-foot patio with a heated pool and another dining and barbecue area perfectly located to enjoy Cape Town’s colorful sunsets with a cocktail in hand. The architects preserved and enhanced the environmentally sensitive hillside, planting native flora that doubles as a lush divider between this unit and its neighboring twin.
Penthouse 601’s next two levels accommodate spacious guest bedrooms and a family lounge that opens to a back yard with private access to the hiking and running paths of Clifton’s scenic Biskop Steps.
Crowning the home, the primary suite occupies the entire uppermost level, where the custom bed—flanked by carved walnut nightstands and Lee Broom pendants—enjoys an ocean view. Unusual pine-green French panels, timber cladding, brass screens and book-matched marble add texture and warmth to the ambience of the suite, which includes a marble-clad bath and a capacious walk-in wardrobe.
Two additional spaces on the reception level may be transformed into a theater, wine cellar or private gym and spa, according to the owner’s wishes. A tinted bronze-glass staircase connects this floor with the two above it; a private elevator unites all the levels, which rise to the heights of haute living.