Cape Town & The Western Cape
Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel
Perched elegantly at the foot of Table Mountain, like a glamorous movie star who has hung up her heels to reflect on a sparkling bygone era, the Mount Nelson – or ‘Nellie’ as she’s affectionately known to the locals – sits in a rose tinted hue surrounded by elegant colonial style balustrades, fragrant gardens and babbling fountains.
The Grand Dame of the five star hotel scene in Cape Town, she is a destination in her own right and the likes of Winston Churchill, the Dalai Lama and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle have crossed the threshold. Celebrities and locals alike are drawn to the grace and decorum of the old world elegance, the tranquillity of the setting and the warm welcome of the discreet staff, most of whom are considered family. Whilst the stars of today head straight here for the resort-style ambiance and glittering guest book, it’s the home-from-home atmosphere that make it a haven for families and holiday-makers alike.
Facilities & Activities
The hotel’s sprawling but beautifully manicured grounds are a tranquil haven – it’s hard to believe down-town Cape Town lies just outside. Tinkling fountains and emerald green lawns house two swimming pools; the Oasis (one of the largest heated pools in South Africa) is great for families and swimmers and the Cottage pool is for more leisurely bathing, being secluded and reserved for over 16’s only. To really work up an appetite, hit the state-of-the-art fitness centre with a personal trainer or book a tennis, golf or swimming lesson with a professional coach.
The Librisa Spa is considered ‘world-class’ for its holistic treatments. Beautifully hidden inside Victorian-style buildings, the opulent spa is a sanctuary of tranquillity and restorative calm. Head to the Finnish-style sauna and steam room before finishing off with a refreshing cup of tea in the sunny conservatory. There is also the option of leaving the younger family members at the Nellie and Nelson Activity Centre or the Teen’s Lounge during your treatment, leaving you to relax and enjoy at your leisure.
The hotel also offers a number of interesting excursions that offer an up-close and personal view of this fabulous city. Choose from the Historical Walking Tour that takes you through historic streets and past some of the iconic landmarks. Or, dig a little deeper and take a Township Tour; led by local residents, the tours are an authentic and informed insight into these communities. Last but by no means list we have to of course mention the Winelands – choose from specific red, white or Cap Classique tours or just sit back at your leisure and enjoy a taste of them all.
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It really is destination dining here (even in a city that is renowned for setting the bar high). First up is the iconic Planet Bar and Restaurant. Colloquially known as ‘Cape Town’s most stylish venue’ this elegant, chic establishment draws a glittering crowd who enjoy the fresh local ingredients, lovingly put together by famous chef, Rude Liebenberg, and accompanied by live Jazz. Start the evening with a sundowner in the shape of a home-made cocktail on the trendy Planet Bar terrace and enjoy some people-watching as the sun sets.
Later in the afternoon, tuck into the ‘best afternoon tea Cape Town has to offer’. Feast on delicate sandwiches, fresh, warm scones and strawberry jam followed by decadent, rich chocolate cake, light-as-a-feather lemon meringue and melktert – a traditional South African tart. It’s all served up on the terrace and in the gardens below, for those of you travelling with smaller companions who prefer not to sit still.
There are charming Deluxe Rooms in the main house which offer spacious accommodation with king-sized beds, separate sitting area and walk-in closet along with lovely views over the gardens, the pool or out to Table Mountain itself.
Alternatively, there are a choice of exquisite suites. The Junior Suites have large bedrooms, spacious sitting areas and balconies overlooking the gardens or with a mountain view. The Deluxe Junior Suites are large and open plan or the Studio Suites offer a kitchenette and a wet bar.
Then there are the grand One Bedroom Suites with their huge entrance halls, separate bedroom, large living spaces, separate dining room and cloakrooms – all set to the back drop of Table Mountain or vistas of Cape Town. Or for a true splurge, stay in the sumptuous Presidential Suite and enjoy the soft hues, silk fabrics, marble entrance, private dining room and a wet bar along with a large private sun-drenched balcony.
The Garden Cottage Suites are a little row of historic hideaways found next to the tranquil pool. Tucked behind storybook rose gardens they offer a sumptuous home-from-home with Venetian glass, four poster beds and huge sink-into couches – perfect for enjoying a glass of wine in front of the open fireplace.
Take a Video Tour
Despite its glittering guest list and sumptuous ambience, the Nellie welcomes families with open arms. The warmth of the staff and the many child-friendly touches make this a lovely choice for a family with little and not so little ones.
After they’ve read their personal welcoming letter, outlining all the fun things to do in Cape Town, they’ll be running to the enormous pool (heated) and exploring the beautiful gardens. There is a dedicated program of activities on offer, such as cricket matches, face-painting, storytelling and treasure hunts or even spa treatments for minis. The Kids Club, for children aged 4-12 years, houses games and toys and there are organised activities throughout the day.
The restaurants offer child-friendly menus and there are high-chairs should you need them. Bedrooms are spacious and some suites offer kitchenettes and interconnecting room options, along with child-sized bathrobes and slippers. The complimentary warm milk and cookies at bedtime is sure to appeal too! If parents want to sample the glitz and glamour of the nightlife here, then babysitting is available.
The Belmond Mount Nelson is involved in a variety of responsible tourism efforts including the “Soupathon” which came about during the Covid19 pandemic. This initiative involved the hotels chefs cooking hearty soups for the homeless every week. They also operate a Worm Farm which helps dispose of the hotels organic waste and also provides fertiliser for the hotels gardens.
Excess food is donated to vulnerable children and families as well as to a neighbouring orphanage. They are also supporters of Uthando. Uthando is a global award-winning Responsible Tourism NPO which creates a unique link between tourism and community development projects.
Opened in 1899 to the elite British passengers of the great liners, it occupies prime position at the foot of Table Mountain with the vibrant and cosmopolitan delights of Cape Town are on the doorstep. Fashionable Kloof and Long Street are a leisurely stroll away, with their restaurants, bars and atmospheric markets and the iconic Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is just 15 minutes’ drive in the hotel’s complimentary shuttle. Cape Town’s International Airport is 20 minutes away and taxis can be organised on your behalf. The concierge will also organise car rentals if you prefer to explore independently.
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