Friday, 7 June 2013

Dutch Manor Antique Hotel, Cape Town


I had been on the road for a few days and was beginning to doubt whether yet another character stay was a good choice, especially since I was in Cape Town on business and needed convenience and maximal efficiency with the limited time I had available in the evenings. And driving into town to the 1812 Dutch Manor Antique Hotel I had a moment of panic that it would be stuffy, musty, dark and noisy in the middle of the city, and that the staff would disappear after I had arrived, leaving me nervous and alone.

All my imagined concerns were completely unwarranted – I find the Dutch Manor Antique Hotel spacious, light, fresh and friendly, with the most helpful and enthusiastic staff. The highest windows I have ever seen let the sun stream in, while original wooden shutters and heavy, lined curtains mute the city sounds. Solid antique Yellowwood and Mahogany furniture and enormous thick old doors grace every part of the hotel. Spacious modern bathrooms, only just renovated, with matching Charlotte Rhys bathroom products, are offset with traditional touches like toiletries which are presented in a white lace-trimmed purse. A 200 year old leather couch sits in prime position in the lounge, with views of the Cape streets below.

What I love about the Dutch Manor Antique Hotel:
  • There is a genuine commitment to the historical theme throughout the hotel
  • Antiques really are everywhere and create a feast for the senses and imagination
  • Heavy local timber doors, windows and furniture lend gravitas to every room
  • Individually decorated rooms have bold colours with traditional Cape Dutch themes
  • The friendliest, most helpful staff are available at any time of day or night
  • The hotel is in a convenient setting, in one of the oldest streets in Cape Town, with easy access to all the major tourist attractions
  • Fine linen, freshly renovated bathrooms and beautiful bath products make this a luxurious stay

Accommodation Experience
My bed is so high it takes me a moment to strategise how to climb onto it. Once there, I admire the spectacular 4-metre high window with its original wooden shutters and thick, extra-length curtains. The bed is a four-poster, which feels solid and comforting, with its thick, chocolate brown posts. The curtained back and sides of the bed, with a ruffled frill around the top create a cosy canopy, in which it is easy to escape to the past.

I imagine travelling in 1812, under harsh and uncomfortable conditions, to arrive at this inviting, beautiful space, and the sense of relief and gladness people must have felt to settle into this lovely room. I sink back into the curtains behind the bed and enjoy a strong cup of coffee in a classically Dutch-shaped coffee cup. I run my hands along the fine thread-count white linen and sigh my own sigh of relief.

This feels like a character stay where people of this place revel in your delight of the antiques, and they seem to do everything possible to make your time here comfortable, convenient and interesting. There is no sense of withholding or tourist trickery here – only a sensational place for a weary traveller to rest and be inspired by the past and present of Africa and the spectacular Mother City of Cape Town.

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