Sitting high on a hill in Bantry Bay and enjoying views of what must be one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world, the Ellerman House is South Africa’s finest boutique hotel. Enormous picture windows in each of the seven sumptuously furnished guest rooms keep the views center stage while letting in streams of sunshine.
The hotel was built in 1912 as the private home of a British shipping magnate; a maximum of fourteen fortunate guests are pampered in exquisite settings and with topnotch dining. The feeling is something akin to that of a French Riviera hideaway, although here the artwork is by a virtual who’s who of prominent South African painters. Patios and impeccably groomed terraces lead down to a pool whose color matches the dazzling sea.
Cape Town is a ten-minute cab ride away, so head for high tea in style at the city’s Mount Nelson Hotel. Ever since it opened its doors in 1899, this pink stucco grande dame has been welcoming Cape Town’s most illustrious, colorful, and preeminent clientele. Mount Nelson is the hub around which the city’s social life traditionally revolves, and if you have only one high tea in the country, have it here. Tea is served indoors or on the gracious garden veranda. It’s a bacchanalia of pastries, cakes, and dainty nibbles in surreal quantities.
The English ambience remains delightfully intact and, despite its central urban location, you are luxuriously surrounded by 6 acres of gardens, full of lush rose beds and hibiscus the size of trees.