Wersha Bharadwa discovers effortless romance in abundance at luxury boutique hotel The Cellars-Hohenort, in Cape Town.
Grabbing South African romance and culture back at Liz McGrath’s legendary five-star Cellars-Hohenort hotel is easy. There’s lots of Dutch colonial allure including leafy plazas, a white manor farmhouse with whirring fans and wooden panelling all set besides an unimaginably beautiful parkland on the slopes of Table Mountain.
The property also brings the tried-and-tested coterie of winding country lanes, wine and farmlands, cinematic views (Table Mountain in this case), gardens, luxurious spa and Michelin star restaurant to another level of romance. As one of South Africa’s first wine estates dating back 300 years, it’s now a perfect affiliation for the big-on-luxury Relais & Chateau group and soon clear why Hollywood stars such as Meg Ryan choose to stay.
The Suite at Cellars-Hohenort, Cape Town
All 52 rooms are awash with refined elegance. Our suite is a pleasure seeker’s dream: a freshly cut bunch of roses from the garden scent the air and our sash windows and a door lead to a private balcony from which we see white ducks frolicking in the grounds below. The plush carpets in the living area and bedroom are complemented by light florals and stripes on fabrics including heavy blackout curtains. The huge roll top bath and a walk in shower come stocked with Molten Brown toiletries. The three-bedroomed Madiba Villa – inspired by Mandela’s clan name – contains a curated library of books about the leader and a private pool.
The thing is, Cellars make romance so comfortable and effortless, we’re truly given time to focus on ourselves. Nothing else matters. Of all my memories, sitting eating the most perfect fish and chips (OK, so we’re talking Michelin-starred fish and chips delivered to our room) with DVDs we don’t even finish will go down as one of my all-time favourite life memories.
Michelin-Starred Dining at The Cellars-Hohenort
A main attraction, is The Greenhouse – frequently voted as one of South Africa’s best restaurants – where chefs around the globe make sure to book a table at whenever they’re visiting the city. And, by the way, tables do need to be booked up to weeks in advance. Here, you’ll have the most delicious and memorable meal of any honeymoon in Cape Town.
Before food, we enjoy mixologists shaking up grapefruit and pink peppercorn martinis in the elegant Greenhouse Bar. Head chef Farrel Hirsch’s tasting menu includes experimental quail served with egg, kimchi and teriyaki and signature classics such as seared springbok with shiitake tempura and hakurei turnips. Many ingredients are grown in the hotel’s own large kitchen garden.
The hotel has it’s own boutique dessert wine, Vin de Hohenort Limited-Edition, produced from 950 vines in the estate. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried the battered Kingklip fish and triple cooked chips at The Conservatory – it’s the best we’ve ever tasted. Flanked by fairylights, it’s a quiet corner of heaven as we sip Sauvignon Blanc while gazing out into the gardens.
Every morning, breakfast is a delight with homemade scones and smoothies and you’ll love guided tours in the award-winning gardens, which start with a glass of bubbly and end with a Malay, British and South African influenced picnic lunch. The magic of The Cellars-Hohenort is how Tahir and the staff are so passionate about food and Cape Town – they’re hands-down the best Cape Town insiders we meet – while providing movie-star service.
What You’ll Love…
- The gardens are a national treasure and do important conservation work saving plants facing extinction.
- The salt-water heated outdoor pools lead you outwards to a stunning 300-year-old forest filled with ancient oaks and African YellowWoods.
- The putting green is designed by Gary Player and there are two heated swimming pools, including one outside.
- Tahir Devries and the team are hospitality superstars, ensuring we are treated like VIPs.
Must See: A Visit to Table Mountain
One of the best ways to do Cape Town is self-driving – especially because of all the scenic road trips to be had. We hired a shiny new 4×4 Hyundai Tucson from Avis Rent A Car and got a great deal by booking the car well ahead of the trip. An International Driver’s Permit from your local Post Office is essential, FYI.
So after some R&R at the Cellars, we set off to conquer the iconic Table Mountain. Now listed as a new wonder of the natural world the area is well preserved. It takes four hours to hike up to the top, but we’re short on time and take the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway where we reach the summit via a brilliant revolving cable car giving 360 degree views as we ascend. Drenched in the most blissful of views over Cape Town, Table Bay and The Cape of Good Hope, the 260 million year old mountain rises over 1,085m above sea level and we spend the morning (since it’s the least windy then) navigating rocks and boulders.
Hire a car at Cape Town Airport via Avis Rent a Car before departing the UK for the cheapest rates and availability. Our shiny new Hyndai Tiguan was a dream drive for the week and provided lots of luggage storage space too.
South African Airways flies daily from Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport to Johannesburg. The airline is a Star Alliance member so you can cash in on those handy Avios points. Check in is easy and it’s worth upgrading for access to the beautifully-designed Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge at Heathrow Terminal 2. Onboard, our seats have ample legroom and comfortable seat recline which make for a decent night’s sleep.