Oliver Spencer is charmed by an incredible art collection and a wine cellar with wow factor at Cape Town’s finest bolthole
Ellerman House Panoramic Views
The only problem with Ellerman House is that it can be so difficult to get a room. Not because it’s some buzzy, hyped-up new place, but because it’s been around for 30 years and it gets booked up by the same people who come back year after year.
Go and you’ll see why. It’s certainly one of the very best hotels I’ve ever stayed in. It’s an old house that sits on the hill and it is structured in tiers: walk up and down external stairs and you’ll find verandas, lawns, swimming pools, restaurants, all of them with incredible views over the Atlantic, and over to Robben Island. There are only 14 rooms, but each one is glorious and, throughout, the building is decorated with the owner’s collection of South African art.
Their approach to food is indicative of the ethos of the place: nothing is ever too much trouble. One night, we requested that the chef make Cape Malay, a South African curry with Malaysian roots, which he did, to perfection and especially for us. It’s South Africa, so obviously they take the wine seriously. Their vast wine rack is the shape of a giant corkscrew, and it fills the room it’s in like a Louise Bourgeois sculpture. I drank Neil Ellis Cabernet Sauvignon and a lovely bottle of white from the Babylonstoren Winery.
The real draw of the place, though, is its atmosphere, which is the result of it being a long-term passion project of its owner, Paul Harris, and it’s a place that he clearly loves deeply. For all its luxury and polish, he’s made it incredibly homely, albeit the kind of home you could never afford.
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