There’s a balance to be found when it comes to inner-city hotels. Too often they’re stuck away in anodyne high-rise towers, all glass and steel, which, aside from the great views, feel disconnected from the city below. Sure, they’re packed full of facilities, but close the curtains and you could be in Cape Town, London or Tokyo. When travelling I prefer places that feel more grounded; more immersed in the city.
Places like the Cape Cadogan Boutique Hotel. Set just steps from the buzzy bars and eateries of Kloof Street, it’s the perfect springboard for discovering what Time Out rates as one of the 33 coolest streets in the world.
But, it’s also a little apart, away from the bustle, with manicured gardens offering a buffer from the buzz to create a serene urban bolt-hole. Throw in a new on-site restaurant, 19 chic rooms and suites, and a gorgeous courtyard swimming pool and you have a hotel that’s of the city yet offering a calm haven after a day out exploring. The best of both worlds.
The Cape Cadogan is no newcomer to Cape Town though. As part of the MORE Family Collection — which includes safari lodges in SA and Zimbabwe — it’s been welcoming guests for more than a decade, in a certified national monument that dates back to the 1800s. But a top-to-bottom refurbishment in 2022 has given the property a glorious new look and feel that makes it well worth a revisit.
The new décor is courtesy of Caline Williams-Wynn of Artichoke Interior Design, who has deftly balanced the history and heritage of the property with a colourful and contemporary aesthetic.
“It was about using the building as the inspiration and then enhancing it,” says Williams-Wynn. “We really leaned into the details of Victorian design, but it was important that it was our own contemporary take on it.”
As you step through the vintage iron gate and indoors, the most striking element is her use of bold statement wallpapers, from the jungle scene — search for the hidden frogs — in reception to the pencil-sketch flamingos in the lounge. Top tip? There’s a complimentary afternoon tea laid out here for guests each afternoon.
Her bold use of colour and pattern extends outdoors to the revamped pool courtyard. Though it’s street-facing it feels like a secret hideaway, with a tiled plunge pool (another nod to Victorian design), opulent loungers and charming scalloped-edge umbrellas adding to the sense of classic yet contemporary charm.
The same goes for the 19 rooms, ranging from comfortable Classic to more spacious Superior Luxury, which boast both a private lounge and outdoor terrace. Williams-Wynn has infused each with a sense of understated indulgence, whether it’s the classic tiling in the bathrooms or towering deep-button headboards that frame the king-size beds. She’s given careful attention to fabric, texture and touch here too, with plush throws and silky velvet creating a beautifully tactile experience. The addition of bespoke MORE coffee and complimentary minibar snacks is a nice touch.
But don’t fill up. A highlight of the new Cape Cadogan is the addition of Upper Union restaurant next door, where chef Amori Burger brings a seasonal approach to a menu of inspired small plates. While the Southern fried chicken with kewpie sriracha competes with grilled Karoo lamb and baharat sauce for the best meaty options, perhaps most impressive is her selection of vegetarian plates. You’ll never see squash the same again after a bite of Burger’s candied summer pumpkin, while the addition of fragrant fennel jam transforms a bowl of burrata. Upper Union is reason enough to visit but treat yourself and stay the night.
Or, if you’re planning a longer stay, you might also consider More Quarters. A short walk down a cobbled alleyway from Cape Cadogan, this collection of self-catering apartments is clustered around a quiet cul-de-sac, with kitchenettes and lounges offering a more comfortable space for extended sojourns in the city. The exclusive-use Cape Cadogan Residence is also due to open end-May, offering villa-style accommodation for up to six guests.