Chic stays: Mount Nelson, a Belmond Hotel

In a city where almost everything provides an elegant walk through history, the Mount Nelson, grand and magnificent, fits right in. That’s not to say the ‘Nellie’, Cape Town’s grande dame dating back to 1899, doesn’t stand out. If anything, its now-iconic pink façade is the most eye-catching in this regal city. With excellent staff, understated opulence and all the perks – its noble hospitality heritage meets guests’ needs and desires. 

WHERE TO STAY 

Mount Nelson, a Belmond Hotel 

If 360-degree indulgence is what you’re after, the Mount Nelson is your ideal Cape Town perch. From its prime position below Table Mountain, the historical pink jewel hotel exudes an air of dolce vita-style glamour. The white pillared gate; wide, palm-lined driveway (very Beverly Hills); English country-garden setting; and men in top hats ready to open the doors, carry bags or wish guests a good day combine into a pampered world all its own. We were lucky enough to snag the Rose Cottage, a one-bedroom Garden Cottage Suite, which isn’t entirely representative of a typical hotel stay because of its many perks. Hidden behind balls of box hedge beyond the adults-only pool (there’s also one for families in front of the hotel’s Oasis Bistro), the restored Victorian-era cottage is the most private room of all. Panelled in wood, it’s been given a bit of a contemporary makeover, with a refreshed colour scheme of soft greys, subtle blues and greens. The effect is one of tranquility – every inch of the interior is seriously indulgent. But for all of that grandeur, what most seduces are the intimate touches, from the heavenly bed made up with a feather duvet to the bathroom stacked with Charlotte Rhys minis. Those special perks aside, all of the hotel’s 198 guest rooms are classic cocoons with romantic interiors and wonder views. However, the public spaces are what make us want to book this undeniably fabulous hotel for every trip. Walk past the immaculately uniformed doorman into the lobby for old-school afternoon tea in the lounge or drinks on the terrace above the manicured greenery. White-jacketed waiters serve classic negronis and summery mojitos on the jasmine-scented terrace to the backdrop of a tinkling piano and the sun setting behind the mountain. But heads up for guests – having a room doesn’t guarantee a seat! For breakfast, definitely order a perfectly poured mimosa and the eggs royale topped with buttery smoked salmon and a classic hollandaise sauce. The serenely beautiful pool is the perfect place to work it all off afterwards. 

76 Orange Street, Gardens 

021 483 1000 

www.belmond.com 

WHERE TO EAT 

Grand Pavilion 

With laidback vibes, colourful cocktails and sublime views of Sea Point Promenade, Grand Pavilion delivers an extraordinary mix of fun in the sun. At this bright, airy spot on Beach Road, you’ll find some of the city’s best salads, seafood, sushi and steaks, plus excellent vegan dishes. The restaurant’s sidewalk seating area is ideal for a quieter date night, while its lively front patio is perfect for people-watching and munching on Parma ham and melon salad, linguine vongole, Mozambican-style prawns or sumac-spiced tofu steak. If you’re unsure where to begin, the staff are incredibly knowledgeable and yet un-stuffy – just what you want. While à la carte dishes are available, we recommend the three-course set menu. In essence, everything is good. The beef carpaccio starter – matured Chalmar Beef sirloin served with radish, spring onion, sesame seeds, Japanese mayo and ponzu sauce – is alarmingly simplistic but still shockingly good. For mains, the fresh line fish lives up to the hype. With a vibrant and complex salsa verde, garlic mashed potato, green beans and rocket, those flavours are electric. The decadence continues with their legendary dark chocolate tart with homemade tonka bean ice cream – a touch of smoked salt really sets off the salted caramel, Valrhona chocolate ganache and Speculoos crumb. The food is artful, inventive and walks the perfect line between comfort flavours and fine dining. When you’re sipping by the sea, there’s always time for one more. So, order an Aperol Spritz and prepare for the hours to slip away while you create sun-tinted ‘wish you were here’ Instagram moments. Not ready to leave by late evening? Make your way to Harry’s Bar – a dim-lit, whimsically decorated bar full of vintage art and chandeliers at the back of the restaurant. The sultry, sophisticated bar has plenty of corners to cosy up with your date. 

277 Beach Road, Sea Point 

021 206 6360 

www.grandpavilion.co.za 

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