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Cape Town's iconic Pink Lady: Checking in at The Mount Nelson

Cape Town's iconic Pink Lady: Checking in at The Mount Nelson

The City of Cape Town largely originated due to its strategic geographical location and has a fascinating maritime history. As it steadily expanded from a traders' outpost to a colonial stronghold, intercontinental ocean travel to its shores intensified, and with this the demand for lodging. Amongst those who needed a place to rest their feet were some pretty important folk. Hence, in 1890, a Scottish Lord and ocean liner magnate had the vision to build a grand hotel for 1st class passengers, and so began the Mount Nelson's story... 

 

Location 

Despite its famous flamboyantly pink facade, the hotel successfully hides in the very heart of Cape Town, with Table Mountain as its dramatic backdrop. Officially opened in 1899, the Mount Nelson has been setting the standard of luxury service and etiquette in the Mother City for over a century. The romantic Georgian building and several restored cottages are situated in an expansive private estate, and has become an iconic downtown venue, often hosting the rich and famous. A blanket of green lawns, classic fountains, idyllic palm trees and fragrant flowers cover the elegant property, which is just across the street from the oldest public gardens in South Africa, The Company's Garden. This significant compound is surrounded by many important landmarks like the Houses of Parliament, National Gallery and St George's Cathedral.

The journey from Cape Town International Airport takes around 25 min by car, and from the hotel you can easily explore the downtown area by foot.

© Traverate 2016

Room

The hotel has 198 luxurious rooms and suites and my deluxe room was located in the Oasis wing. The minute I crossed the threshold I knew that I was going to relish every moment in it - lush carpets underfoot, gorgeous thick drapery, an enormous king sized bed and a classy marble bathroom. From its balcony there was a delightful view of the main pool and surrounding gardens. The decor suitably comprised a soothing colour scheme of light green, grey and beige with elegant contrasting finishes like velvet and beechwood. Other notable features were the large mirrored closet space, completely silent AC and local Charlotte Rhys bathroom amenities. 

© Traverate 2016

Facilities

After an enervating day exploring the exciting city, I was almost ecstatic to return to the peachy Grand Dame for some R & R. The sky-blue pool beckoned and I had it all to myself as my fellow residents were probably horizontal, post afternoon High Tea. Subsequently I had a look at the fitness centre, installed in a small historical house within the gardens. It had a decent selection of free weights, training machines, cardio equipment and a small yoga studio. Next door, the characterful Librisa Spa is set in 3 late-Victorian buildings with 8 treatment rooms, and offers a selection of bespoke treatments using African skincare products. Pity I had no time to fit a massage into my schedule, as I've been told that the spa is one of the finest in town.

Relaxing at the main pool © Traverate 2016

The characterful gym © Traverate 2016

Dining

© Traverate 2016

Oasis Bistro is famous for their superb breakfast buffet and it's easy to see why - a paradise of different edibles beg to be put on your plate. There simply is such a tremendous selection of food, it takes quite a bit of willpower to stop yourself from getting carried away... To think that the same thing happens all over again at lunch time! However, the real culinary highlight is perhaps one of the most celebrated High Tea spreads on the continent. No visit to Cape Town is complete without playing posh in the Nellie's historical lounge for this time-honored afternoon binge.

© Traverate 2016

Come dinner time you can sample a gourmet meal at the swanky Planet restaurant or something more casual in The Lounge. The hotel also offers a unique interactive food and wine experience - reserve a space at the Chef's Table in the hotel kitchen and watch culinary magic unfold. 

Coffee in the garden © Traverate 2016

Service

As you would expect from a hotel of this stature, the service was mostly first-class. The check in procedure was smoothly carried out and a welcoming member of staff escorted me to my room. On the first night I ordered supper at 21h45, and it arrived within 25 min. Later, my request for a firmer pillow and a blanket was promptly seen to by the housekeeping division. At breakfast the waiting staff were courteous and proficient, yet I found the service at my late dinner in The Lounge rather slow, even though the place was quiet. Other personnel I met in and around the hotel were genuinely agreeable and eager to assist. 

© Traverate 2016

My thoughts 

Whilst offering the seclusion of a private estate, the property's downtown location is a definite practical perk. Luckily the hotel's renowned status as an iconic luxury establishment has not curbed its unique historic character and warm demeanor. As a young and modern traveler I admire the preserving charisma of the Pink Lady, and she gets a chivalrous tip of the hat from me.


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All photos and opinions are mine. © Traverate

 
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