The charm of an olde worlde effect relies on a perfect balance between old and new. While maintaining the architectural integrity and décor style of an historic building, crisp clean fittings and fabrics help to avoid a musty Miss Haversham feel. This balancing act is well achieved at Kleinkaap Boutique Hotel in Centurion. Due homage is paid to the original 1820 manor house, with warm Cape Dutch antique furniture. Almost Shaker in look, the beauty of the golden and amber wood wardrobes are finished with oversized smooth round handles. Original patterned tile floors are offset with glossy bathrooms and the softest white bathrobes. The beds are inviting with white cotton linen and gentle bedside down-lighting. Freshly baked biscuits in the room, tea and coffee facilities, airconditioning and flat screen TV complete the welcome.
Outside the main building, a shiny red antique car poses in the courtyard next to a pretty fountain. Although this is a sizeable wedding and conference venue, the layout of the buildings and the helpful staff achieve a friendly impression.
I am in Pretoria on business and I arrive at the Kleinkaap Boutique Hotel feeling anxious and overwhelmed by the work I have just agreed to undertake. I pace restlessly around the room, berating myself. Yet each time I sit on the bed in my upstairs room, I find myself looking directly out onto enormous old trees. It is Spring and these massive, solid structures are bursting forth with millions of tiny, delicate, light green shoots. I cannot help but smile and be filled with a sense of hope. It becomes my pattern for the afternoon - each time I get caught up in my stressy thoughts, I remind myself to look up and out at the hopeful trees. This is the power of a character stay – to draw one’s attention out of one’s head into the physical, present world, which, more often than not, is a less scary and more lovely place to dwell.