Yes, believe it or not this IS a hotel room, or rather a villa suite. It’s Rose Cottage on Sydenham Terrace, part of MOUNT NELSON, A BELMOND HOTEL, looking down on Cape Town.
In 1889 Sir Hamilton Ross, then owner of the Mount Nelson estate, erected a spiffing new main house and somehow little streets evolved around the house. The roads were named for English areas, including London suburbs, hence Sydenham Terrace.
Today, the seven-acre estate is being given an edgy upgrade, thanks to owner LVMH. Visionary hotel boss Tiago Sarmento, originally from Porto, has masses of ideas contributing to making this a 198-key inland resort to be taken seriously.
Last Friday, for instance, a subterranean room that had been empty and un-loved for 27 years opened as the Red Room. This pan-Asian restaurant is a partnership with celeb chef Liam Tomlin and David Schneider, working as Chefs Warehouse.
Girlahead actually dined in one of the three rooms of the hotel’s main lobby, which stretches from near check-in to an outside terrace overlooking the gorgeous gardens. Want a typical Cape menu? How about Springbok carpaccio, followed by a big black cast-iron cauldron holding plump Saldhana Bay in a cream sauce, with the absolute essential, hand-cut fries. And, of course, a Pinotage.
No problem in sleeping after all this. Rose Cottage is a cosy home, oozing history and culture: hardbacks include Sebastian Faulks’ Human Traces, and Union, The Heart of Rugby. You can get out of the cottage at the rear, to a terrace, and the living room’s French windows open to the dinky, beautifully trendy front flower garden.
Nature is omnipresent at this place. Walking to the excellent 24/7 gym, occupying the three downstairs of another cottage. You might go through a big white-wood gazebo, imagining cocktail data. The gazebo’s new, as is much of the art generally. It’s rumoured the former Planet room will become yet another new restaurant – and you can dine anywhere, in the chefs’ organic garden, next to the tennis court. The choices are endless. The hotel’s cheery chef, George Jardine, is a Scottish import, and passionate about mentoring aspiring youngsters, and it’s notable how cheery, for instance, the brigade is setting up the really outstanding breakfast buffet at Oasis.
Little details abound at ‘The Nellie’. A VIP cocktail might be a tray of make-your-own gin & tonic, complete with pink gin, and a pink flower, a reminder that this is the quintessential ‘pink hotel’, painted in its exterior entirety at the end of WWI. After a sunny day of brunch and two sittings of afternoon tea, there’s not a speck of untoward debris anywhere, inside or out, in the gardens (the venue for Brideshead types who appreciate the best, naturally).