The gal never knows what she is going to find at Belmond Mount Nelson, Cape Town’s iconic pink luxury hotel, ‘The Nellie‘ as she is still affectionately known by her many followers. This year, the Everard Read gallery’s temporary garden sculpture exhibition includes a more-than-lifesize plastic man with a camera round his neck, namely Whistling Tourist by creator Frank van Reenen. Also, hidden in the gorgeous undergrowth dotted around the seven acres of grounds, is this Morphous Mask by Lionel Smit, a Pretoria artist born 1982, who specialises in deconstructing the face, in flat and three-dimensional artworks.
I also had a lovely surprise this year in that I stayed in the Oasis Wing, the new-block that is just that, a block – not a mansion, like the original house built in 1899 for the Hamilton Ross family, and not one of the little houses that were formerly terrace rows. I absolutely loved Oasis room 174, compact, well thought-out and with a brilliant colour scheme by Alexandra Champalimaud, who of course always produces wonders. The Oasis wing is also incredibly handy for the Oasis restaurant on the ground floor, always a help for those who are hurrying to breakfast.
The Oasis Wing is also most handy for the Librisa Spa, and for the 24/7 gym which, as the photo shows, is one entire little-old-house. Oh what a blessing to find good equipment (Technogym, of course) and, rare in South Africa, BBC World on the equipment televisions – and all seemed to be in working order, at least the ones I tried. There are stocks of water, and a studio where a lively personal trainer gives lessons. For more exercise, run down the hotel’s magnificent front drive to its ceremonial-arch gate, and across the road and down through Company Gardens to Parliament and St George’s Cathedral.
Or stay home, admire the luxury hotel’s gardens, and swim in the heated pool, or merely lounge around it – there are ice-filled help-yourself glass samovars of water when it is hot. Another reason for staying in the Oasis wing is that some rooms, like 174, have a marvellous view of the pool.