I was grateful to be invited for a sponsored 3-night stay at 12 Apostles Hotel & Spa on my recent trip to Cape Town, South Africa. The highlight of my trip was being able to learn about all the outstanding philanthropic work 12A was doing with various local community organizations, but especially with The Amy Foundation. I was delighted to be asked to visit Amy Foundation and speak with students and staff about the ways in which 12 Apostles was working with this incredible organization to help make a difference in the lives of underprivileged youth in the community. The 12A establishment is more than just a luxury 5-star hotel, they are committed to supporting sustainability and community development which is evident in their daily business operations.
They donate a portion of the profit on every guest account to the Amy Foundation and to its Green Initiatives program as well. The proceeds from sales of the cookbook authored by Red Carnation President and Founder, Bea Tollman, are also generously donated and in addition, they purchase products made directly by the students from The Amy Foundation as well. The hotel arranges a project or outing once a year for local children through the foundation.
Before I write more about my experience, it is important to understand the current unemployment rate and how 12A is helping to transform youth in Cape Town.
Current Unemployment Rate in Cape Town
Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world known for the harbour, the stunning natural landscapes – rolling cliffs, oceans, Winelands and landmarks such as Table Mountain. It is the oldest city in South Africa and coined as the “Mother City.” But as beautiful as Cape Town is, the city currently has a 27.1% unemployment rate – there are 6.1 million unemployed people between the ages of 15 and 64 in South Africa. One of the major roadblocks to employment is education. There are nearly 1.4 million individuals aged 18-24 who have never attended school, primarily because they couldn’t afford the fees to do so. And of those who do make it to school, only 43% make it all the way through Grade 12. The combination of lack of education and unemployment is leading to a spike in drug use and street crime, especially amongst teens. Reports indicate that patients as young as 10 years old are seeking treatment for hard drug abuse. It’s easy to think that government officials are the only ones with the power to turn things around, but Cape Town has found strong support and ally from 12 Apostles Hotel & Spa.
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How 12 Apostles Hotel Gives Back to Cape Town:
The Amy Foundation
The Amy Foundation (formerly Amy Biehl Foundation) helps prevent youth violence through a holistic approach to youth and community development in at-risk communities. The organization was founded 22 years ago, with the mission of helping children and young adults make positive life choices and productive contributions to society.
The Foundation was named after Amy Biehl, an American student and activist who helped voters register for South Africa’s first free elections in 1994 and worked tirelessly with local organizations on the country’s new Constitution and its approach to women’s rights. She was tragically killed in 1993 as an act of political violence. The Foundation honours Amy’s love of South Africa and her belief in the truth.
The Amy Foundation works with youth and young adults through a selection of afterschool programs that focus on creativity and on making learning enjoyable. These programs include Academic Support, HIV/AIDS & Peer Education, Creative & Performing Arts, Greening & Environment, and Sports.
There is also the Youth Skills Development program designed to help young adults prep for employment.
Two After School Youth Skills Development Programmes (YSD):
- Younger Youth Development Program – ages between 5-18 years
- Older Youth Skills Development Program – ages between 18-35 years
a) Hospitality – hotel staff, chef, etc., currently approximately 20 students enrolled (this is where 12 Apostles Hotel’s hospitality program comes from).
b) Beauty & Wellness (also falls into entrepreneurship) – nails, massage therapists, etc., currently 23 students enrolled.
c) Craft & Design – sewing and designing products like the Amy dolls (sold to raise money for the organization), currently 23 students enrolled.
How It Works
Before students get placed into the various category programs, they must go through soft skills training first (ex. learning basic English). Unemployed youth that enter the program are usually between the ages of 18 – 35 years; and once they complete the soft training, they are placed into the disciplines that they choose. It is important to note that even though The Amy Foundation is affiliated with companies to help with employment, it is not a job agency. The Amy Foundation focus is to help prep youth with the necessary resources in order to prepare them for the working world.
-Underprivileged youth are recruited from local communities where there is poverty, drugs and gang-related problems.
-The Amy Foundation has a great reputation among youth and they trust the organization will help them.
-On January 2019, out of 10 internships, 43 were employed at 12 Apostles and the rest of 64 were hired at other hotels and vineyards (ages between 18-35).
Length of the Program
It is a 3-month long program and upon completion, the Foundation offers assistance in helping students look for a job.
–Schedule: Training days are 2-3 days a week which includes soft skills training (ie. how to work in the corporate world and the occasional motivational speaker may come into speak).
–Hours: Not a full day, students start at 9:00 am and finish between 2:00 pm to 2:30 pm
Transportation is a challenge for the students because they just can’t afford to get to and from the centre. The Foundation provides some financial assistance and an allowance is given so they can transport themselves back and forth.
Food is another factor, so they make sure to offer the students something to eat when they arrive. In a recent survey, the students reported that food is one of the main reasons they come to the program.
Building a Community
The program provides a sense of community and a family-like environment. Youth come to the program and form a supportive bond with each other and the teachers.
How You Can Help
Currently, there are over 200,00 non-profit organizations, therefore funding from the government is very limited. The Amy Foundation relies on mostly private funding to support its programs.
Here are some ways in which you can help:
a) Amy’s Bistro, experience a South African cultural & eating experience at a private dining restaurant!
b) Amy’s Cultural Tour, learn more about the programs and see the programs in action at multiple schools.
c) Make a straight donation here.
d) Support products, such as The Amy Biehl Relate ‘R’ Bracelet.
e) Rent the facility: the conference room and the volunteer accommodation are available for use.
f) Volunteer your time!
g) Be a sponsor, organize an event or support one!
Visit The Amy Foundation at www.amyfoundation.co.za for more information on ways you can help!
Pack for a Purpose
The 12 Apostles Hotel also supports Pack for a Purpose, a non-profit and global social responsibility project, Pack for a Purpose has a motto of, “Small Space. Little Effort. Big Impact.” Pack For A Purpose encourages travellers to make a little room in their luggage for supplies to donate to local schools or medical clinics when they get to their destination.
These donations are focused on education, health, child welfare, animal welfare, and socioeconomic development. The organization was started in 2010, and, though it has made an impact in Cape Town, Pack for a Purpose has expanded to collect over 281,000 pounds of supplies in 60 countries.
Additionally, 12 Apostles also supports conservation efforts on its property and beyond. The hotel promotes water conservation by asking guests to adhere to its list of 40 water-saving activities. And the hotel has a dedicated Water Team, culled from its Green Team (which is part of its participation in The Green Carnation Project). 12 Apostles reduced its water consumption by 42% from 2016 to 2017.
The Green Carnation Project designates Red Carnation Hotels around the world. These hotels are committed to saving and preserving the environment, and their collective efforts have helped achieve several environmental milestones, such as planting 1800 cedar trees throughout Africa and tracking the conservation of Cape Leopards in South Africa.
In keeping with its commitment to environmental responsibility, the 12 Apostles has implemented a system of efficiently measuring and managing its energy needs, reducing demand for energy with state of the art technology, and protecting and conserving the flora and fauna of the nearby Table Mountain National Park, a World Heritage site. The care for Table Mountain National Park includes clearing the area around the hotel of invader plants, which could disrupt the environmental balance of the park.
Guests are recruited to the green initiative, through in-room cards that inform them about how each person can lessen their impact on the environment and leave a smaller carbon footprint. The 12 Apostles has also invested in the latest green technology, including a customized air extraction system that features a UV filtering process to remove odours and turn some of the kitchens greases into ozone, an environmentally-friendly waste product. With this system, the hotel can provide healthy air quality and ensure comfortable working temperatures in every season throughout the year.
The hotel is leading the way in energy conservation, becoming the first hotel in Cape Town to install energy-saving LED lighting technology in all public areas. Projections are that this will account for up to 70 per cent of electricity savings eventually.
“Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle” is a constant mantra at the 12 Apostles, and the hotel is committed to sustainable practices, including managing its waste streams to maximize recycling and minimize its landfill needs.
This is completely in accord with its parent company’s mission. The Red Carnation Hotel Collection’s Green Standards instruct staff to use the RCH slogan: “Recycle products, Conserve resources, Help the environment.” Staff are asked to share transport (walking when possible), turn lights and office equipment off before going home, and conserve water.
About the 12A Property
12 Apostles Hotel & Spa is an award-winning luxury hotel located above the Atlantic Ocean, with gorgeous views, luxurious rooms, and exquisite dining. It’s known for its Azure Restaurant, The Leopard Bar, and its holistic spa. The hotel property boasts elegant, individually designed rooms and has received several prestigious honors, including a number three ranking on the list of the Top 20 Hotels in Africa, as decided by the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards 2018 and the title of Luxury Sea View Hotel & Spa of the Year in 2018, courtesy of the Luxury Travel Awards.
An award-winning resort that focuses on conservation, youth development.
The hotel is fully involved in sustainability, conservation, and giving back to the local community. Its most impactful achievement is its commitment to serving and saving the city in which it’s located. Every guest that books accommodations there is actively conserving Earth’s natural resources and contributing funds toward making Cape Town a safer and more equitable place for the city’s children and young adults.
My 3-Night Stay at 12 Apostles Hotel & Spa
Located in the affluent area of Camps Bay, 12 Apostles Hotel & Spa is a 5-star luxury hotel and a 30-40 minute drive from Cape Town International Airport. It is perfectly situated between Table Mountain National Park and the Atlantic Ocean.
There are 70 guest rooms with vibrant colours, wood accents and contemporary African decor. The accommodation resort comes with everything from an award-winning spa and restaurant with majestic sunset views and stellar service!
Amenities & Services
When you arrive, you’ll be greeted by a doorman, who will take your bags, and welcome you with a bottle of water and/or a glass of champagne if you choose!
The 12 Apostles Hotel & Spa is well-known for their seven treatment room spa, featuring an ethereal, white interior and a team of award-winning therapists.
For those that enjoy cinematography, check out the private 16-seater cinema, which plays movies five-times per day!
High-speed WiFi is complimentary throughout the hotel.
They also provide complimentary mineral water, tea, and coffee-making facilities, in-room DVD players, expansive beds, and wine tastings all day long at the Azure Restaurant!
Restaurant – View, Views & More Views!
The 12 Apostle’s Hotel is home to the Azure Restaurant is recognized as one of South Africa’s top places for wining and dining. Situated with a terrace that looks out at the Atlantic Ocean, capturing magnificent sunset views, this modern French menu with South African offerings is owned and managed by Chef Christo Pretorius.
By morning, the restaurant also hosts a breakfast buffet that serves everything from fresh oysters to Mimosas! My favourite part of the day was waking up to the views of Table Mountain and taking in the fresh air!
For those looking to eat a meal with a more laidback scenery, there’s also The Café Grill downstairs (see below for photo) that has a 24-hour accessible menu for guests and a gorgeous outdoor patio.
The Leopard Bar is one of the most scenic spots in Cape Town for evening cocktails and it has the best views of the sun setting. What better way than to sip on your favourite beverage while witnessing the beautiful pink skies! During the winter, enjoy the fireplace, a cozy blanket, and a glass of wine or two!
This is a must do!
Tips & Perks!
- The hotel comes with an hourly, complimentary shuttle service to Camps Bay and the Victoria and Alfred (V&A) Waterfront between the hours of 8:00 AM and 9:30 PM. There is also a helipad onside for those wishing to fly in.
- Although the hotel comes with sweeping beach views, there is a shuttle that will bring you directly to the beach for convenience – the infamous Camps Bay Beach and Clifton Beach are nearby.
- The breakfast buffet & the complimentary à la carte menu is out of this world! It includes a large selection of breakfast items including fresh oysters, champagne and if you’re a picky eater like me, you can customize your own meals for your liking!
- A guest preference form will be sent to you to beforehand to ensure you’ll be comfortable during your stay. Everything from choosing the type of fillings you want inside your pillow to setting up flowers for a special occasion to scheduling your airport pick up – you will be spoiled with the best service!
- The staff is exceptional, very friendly, accommodating staff that reflect the true hospitality of Cape Town!
- There are two pools if you want to take a dip in the water, which overlooks stunning sunset views of the pink skies.
My Room – One Bedroom Suite + Patio
The Café Grill Restaurant
The 12 Apostles has all the amenities of a first-rate hotel, delivered by a well-trained staff that is skilled at pampering its guests. It has world-class dining, beautiful rooms, a luxurious spa, and many other attractions. Anyone would be happy to spend time in such a sumptuous setting. However, it is also a hotel with a conscience, and guests can feel good about staying at a hotel that has such a strong commitment to helping its community, and also to benefit the environment. It makes a hotel visit a lot more gratifying when you can do yourself well but also do good for others!