Lunchtime on the second Sunday of November, the temperature is nudging 80F, and every outside table is accounted for at the restaurants and cafes that line one of the world's most spectacular promenades. Those in the best seatscan see the waves breaking on a palm-lined beach; those facing the opposite direction have to settle for a mile-long sweep of mountains, a crisp chardonnay and some very fresh seafood.
The atmosphere at Camps Bay, Cape Town's most fashionable beach resort, has something of the laid-back, low-rise glamour of Los Angeles about it, a feeling only heightened when the waiter mentions that Tiger Woods dined here the previous night, Vinnie Jones was a frequent visitor the week before and Jean-Claude Van Damme is currently relaxing between shoots on his latest movie at a luxury hotel a mile or so down the road.
The list of celebrity visitors has been growing ever since the Western Cape became a favourite location for film-makers and commercials directors, and it comes as no surprise to learn that Cape Town is a regular body double for LA, Monterey and San Francisco.
The diverse scenery, dramatic light and almost guaranteed clear skies have an obvious part to play in this. But equally enticing is the fact that it's a cheap place to film. Locals are fond of telling you that the southern tip of Africa combines a first-world infrastructure with third-world prices. This means you can enjoy king-sized platters of seafood, wines from world-class local vineyards such as Constantia, Paarl and Franschoek, and five-star accommodation - although regular visitors won't find it as absurdly cheap as it was a couple of years ago when the rand hit an all-time low.
When it comes to accommodating the stars, Cape Town offers elegant luxury in the form of the Mount Nelson hotel; while, at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, the Cape Grace and Table Bay hotels will be joined in the next few years by Sol Kerzner's latest One&Only six-star venture. Those who prefer the more informal and hipper draw of Camps Bay are limited to just the Bay Hotel and The Twelve Apostles, where Van Damme is staying.
The reason for the paucity of choice is that, nestled between the sea and the Twelve Apostles rocks, there is precious little beachfront left to develop in Camps Bay and, being a prime residential suburb, the cost of buying up plots for redevelopment is prohibitive. The "most desirable property in South Africa" starts at around R4.5m for a three-bedroom house with a pool - three times the price of a couple of years ago.
However, ever since South Africa took centre stage as a holiday destination when it hosted the rugby World Cup in 1995, canny Camps Bay residents have been opening up their enviable homes to paying visitors. And over the years, the degree of sophistication and level of service has risen enormously, so that we can now enjoy a taste of penthouse living at almost guesthouse prices. Heart-stopping views, the roar of the surf and the waft of grilled shellfish comes in at around £150 - £250 a couple per night.
This one stretches the definition of guesthouse, and would more comfortably be described as a luxury guest villa, set in the foothills of the mountains and a 30-minute walk from the beach. But it's well worth the walk. Modern, linear and with every designer comfort imaginable, you feel pampered as soon as you walk through the doors of Atlanticview.
Every detail was designed to maximise the views of the sea and the mountains - from the floor-to-ceiling windows that span the length of the villa to the positioning of the beds which offer dual vistas without twisting, turning or craning. Owners Greg Boki and Rainer Pires even buried telephone lines and planted tropical trees by crane to enhance the views. The Rock Room, for example, incorporates a large boulder that straddles the interior and exterior of the full-frame window.
There's an infinity pool, pool-side bar, braai and pizza oven, and an outside shower. Inside, there's a steam shower with views of Table Mountain, and all en-suite bathrooms are limestone with Philippe Starck-style fittings. The four guest rooms have huge beds with top-of-the-range linens and feature state-of-the art flat-screen monitors with in-house DVD channels showing the latest movies.
While this sounds almost too cool to be comfortable, Atlanticview manages to avoid being cold thanks to the judicious use of local ornaments and colourful art on the walls - there are even zebra-inspired fabrics on the chairs. And then there's cocktail hour. At 6.30pm, guests get together to watch the sun go down over wine and home-made hors-d'oeuvres on the deck. Not just any old plonk and nibbles, mind, but generous amounts of Longridge chardonnay accompanied by foie gras, and on Saturday evenings, champagne with lobster.