At the end of a grand avenue lined with palm trees stands Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel, accessed through a colonnaded entrance created to mark a visit from the Prince of Wales in 1925. The beautiful grounds were first developed by Sir Hamilton Ross who owned Mount Nelson from 1843 for many years, and was a keen gardener as evidenced by the eye-catching gardens.
The guest rooms, which are among the finest in Africa, tell their own story. Their spaciousness harks back to the colonial era, when guests often stayed for months at a time – bringing their own bone china and fine crystal. Each one varies in size and shape, enjoying different views, with oak floors, dark wood and leather furniture, antique-style mirrors, and local rugs and artwork, yet with no two decorated the same.
For the ultimate in luxurious seclusion, eight Garden Cottage suites are housed in perfectly restored Victorian cottages, ideal for honeymooning couples. Each is set in its own rose garden with a white picket fence, with easy access to the swimming pool. Their sumptuous decor features toile wallpaper, Venetian mirrors, four-poster beds and working fireplaces.
While there is an equally extensive range of culinary options, such as the Dining Planet Restaurant’s farm-to-fork cuisine helmed by Chef Dion Vengatass to the Chef’s Table hidden away in a private alcove with a bird’s-eye view of the kitchen, one of the most iconic experiences in Cape Town is the hotel’s afternoon tea. So much so that there are now four sittings each day, including an evening tea, which features biltong and a selection of cheeses, in addition to the famous sweet treats.
When you’re not indulging, or catching rays at either of the outdoor swimming pools, the award-winning Librisa Spa is an ideal place to unwind, with two of its eight treatment rooms featuring balconies with views of Table Mountain. Housed in a restored heritage building, the changing rooms boast a courtyard with a heated plunge pool, and you can relax in the conservatory before or after treatments. www.belmond.com