The Governor Suite at Labotessa is larger than most inner-city flats. Ranged over two floors, the 300m² penthouse has three en-suite bedrooms, a Smeg-fitted kitchen, a plunge pool, and views that take in Cape Town’s CBD, Company’s Garden and Lion’s Head. Facing away from the Atlantic Ocean, it’s unusual for the vista of CT luxury to not include a sweeping-sea or city view, but then Labotessa is a little unusual.
Created by Johan du Plessis, the seven-suite city hotel moves beyond “boutique” to be a definitive inner-city lifestyle option. Du Plessis, originally from the Free State, went to the Swiss hospitality management school EHL before spending 15 years with the Hyatt chain, working his way through Andaz, the Hyatt’s boutique offering. His last stint, before realising his dream, was as operations and hotel manager at the Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht, where he worked closely with design god Marcel Wanders to create a hospitality masterpiece.
“I always knew I would open my own hotel,” he says, sitting on a velvet, rust-coloured sofa (in front of a teal panelled wall).
“I’ve spent the last 10 years gathering ideas and working out what best serves the guest. When this building became available, I knew it would be perfect.”
Bought with a silent partner (who happens to be a childhood friend), the townhouse is one of South Africa’s oldest buildings: a one-time city residence for Cape Town’s first governor, Simon Van Der Stel (hence the penthouse moniker), and later, a meeting place for the Groote Kerk congregation.
“I could have made 32 hotel rooms in the space,” says Du Plessis, “But it was important we retained the soul of the building, and I wanted to create something that was absolutely luxurious, decadent, and yet ultimately convenient.”
Penthouse aside, each floor has only two rooms, individually accessed by a private lift. The minibar is complimentary, the toiletries are Dyptique, the Wi-Fi is personal, and there’s a plethora of charging points. The décor is high end: wallpaper is Cole & Son, light fittings imported, and all furniture custom-made.
For those wanting to take home a touch of this style, the lobby houses a mini boutique where a selection of Dyptique, L’Artisan Parfumeur, and Penhaligon’s items are for sale.
Does Cape Town have space for yet another hospitality option, you may well wonder. Well, a week after its soft launch the Governor Suite was booked by international dignitaries in town for the World Economic Forum. Found through Google, they obviously know a good thing when they see it.
• From the October edition of Wanted 2019.