Mount Nelson – South Africa
Hotel Type: 5* luxury classic hotel.
Location: In the centre of Cape Town within easy reach of all its attractions.
Style: English colonial.
Rooms: Uber stylish rooms, suites and garden cottages.
Ideal For: The beginning of your South African adventures.
Swimming: There are two heated outdoor swimming pools, with poolside service available from October to April. A swimming coach can be arranged on request.
Dining: Guests can enjoy a mix of fine dining in classic dining rooms and light lunches overlooking the gardens at Mount Nelson. Foodies can also take part in a Chef’s Table experience, learning the secrets behind each dish on a seasonal menu.
Children: There is great attention to detail when it comes to children’s facilities at Mount Nelson, from the kids club and family swimming pool, to the option of babysitting, a laundry service and the child-friendly room service menu.
Activities: Discover everything Cape Town has to offer with its beaches, Table Mountain and art galleries. The hotel also organises guided walks tailored to your interests, while you can also enjoy a tour of the winelands or snorkelling around Cape Town’s shores. Back at the hotel, there’s a spa, two tennis courts to practise your serve, or dabble in yoga in the gardens.
Spa: The Librisa Spa is designed for ultimate relaxation with eight spacious treatment rooms, a steam bath and Finnish sauna as well as a plunge pool.
Low Season Price From: £342 for a Double Superior Room including breakfast.
High Season Price From: £342 for a Double Superior Room including breakfast.
Open From: All year round.
Under the towering Table Mountain is another Cape Town landmark – the Mount Nelson Hotel. This glamourous and very pink colonial hotel has been welcoming guests for over a hundred years, in great style and with impeccable service. The starry visitor’s book over the years tells a story. Set in established gardens with the pulsing city on its doorstep, and within a short distance of Camps and Bantry Bay, it’s a calm and welcoming oasis. Palms line the drive and the nine acre grounds overflow with magnificent flower beds, fountains and sculptures, whilst the interiors are all quintessential splendour with many of their 19th century features. Pink and white striped towels line the pool and the terrace is made for sipping champagne. For old style glamour and sophistication, Mount Nelson is hard to beat.
Each room, suite and cottage is individually designed and styled, and they all have sumptuous beds and marble bathrooms. Spread across the main building, the surrounding wings and throughout the gardens, they each have different aspects and views, and many have a balcony or terrace. The Superior Rooms are cosy and elegant and can interconnect with other room categories, making them perfect for families. The larger Deluxe Rooms are contemporary in style with views out over the gardens or Table Mountain and come with a living area. They can also interconnect. For even more space, the Junior Suites offer a very comfortable haven. Beautifully decorated, with a large living area, and most with a balcony, they either look out over the gardens or Table Mountain and can sleep two adults and a child. The Deluxe Junior Suites are larger still, with similar captivating views. The Studio Suites are elegant and very spacious and airy, sleeping two adults and a child on a rollaway bed, whilst the larger Deluxe Studio Suites are even more luxurious. With their separate bedroom and living area, the One Bedroom Suites all come with a balcony. Many can interconnect with other room categories and can sleep two adults and a child. Perfect for couples, the Deluxe One Bedroom Suites also feature a dining area, a walk-in dressing room and a wet bar. Set in the magnificent manicured gardens you’ll find the very quaint Garden Cottage Suites and Deluxe Garden Cottage Suites. The former are a row of restored cottages, each one surrounded by a picket fence and a host of scented roses. The interiors are fabulous – English colonial meets contemporary design with toile wallpaper and large decorative mirrors. There are two Deluxe Garden Cottage Suites, that are both exquisitely furnished and come with a private terrace or balcony. The Presidential Suite harks back to Cape Town’s past, with 1930s detail and the original desk from 1899 when the hotel first opened. Utterly luxurious, it has a large balcony with loungers and fabulous views of Table Mountain.
Dining at the Mount Nelson takes you back to times gone by. The Lord Nelson Restaurant is in the original dining room with its wooden panels, minstrels’ gallery and pressed ceiling, with classics including Beef Wellington on the menu. Delicious breakfasts and light lunches are served in very elegant surroundings, overlooking the gardens and pool, in the Oasis Restaurant, whilst picnics can be enjoyed in a quiet spot in the grounds. And for the very best afternoon tea in town, make sure you book a table at the very refined Lounge. Mount Nelson has also gained a reputation for its Chef’s Table – where guests can watch the action in the heart of the kitchen, learn the secrets behind each dish, then feast. In the evenings, reminisce on the day at Planet Bar – a popular venue with the locals – the hotel’s terrace is arguably one of the best places in the city for sundowners. Or head out to one of the many fabulous eateries or bars in the city.
Almost everything has been thought of when it comes to families staying at Mount Nelson. The children’s club has a dedicated playroom and a range of activities, games and toys for young guests aged between four and 12. The large family swimming pool is heated, whilst the resident tennis pro is on hand to give lessons. There’s babysitting, a laundry service for children’s clothes as well as a room service menu and the perennial favourite of milk and cookies at bedtime.
The Mount Nelson is a luxurious base from which to begin or end your travels to South Africa. The hotel has two pools – one for families and another in a quiet spot by the Garden Cottages for guests over 16. There’s a tennis court where you can improve your swing with a pro; the Spa is one of the best in the city and each weekday there are yoga sessions either in the wellbeing studio or gardens. When you’re not relaxing in the hotel and its grounds, you can explore everything that Cape Town has to offer, from the galleries and shops, to the beaches and Table Mountain. There are tailored guided walks from the hotel, encompassing all that interests you, and if you’re a nature lover, there are sunset fynbos walks on the lower slopes of Table Mountain – a fabulous chance to see of the country’s flora and fauna. One of the best experiences has to be a day with a marine biologist, discovering the underwater world off Cape Town’s shores. Snorkel through the kelp forests and with friendly sharks, rounding the day off with a seafood picnic. Depending on your itinerary, a tour of the winelands can also be taken from here. And for something totally offbeat, there are classic car tours, and our favourite – sidecar adventures – a trip around Cape Town and its environs in a chauffeured side car. We also recommend the Township Farm Tour to Moya we Khaya. There’s something for everyone.