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Hotel Highlights

  • Handy location just off Kloof Street
  • Relaxed, welcoming atmosphere
  • At the foot of Table Mountain

Overview

Seductively simple, Welgelegen hotel is a boutique B&B in Cape Town a short stroll from chic Kloof Street. Comfortable rooms in serene colours are a soothing retreat from the nearby buzzing bars and restaurants.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Welgelegen with us:

A bottle of wine or port on arrival

Facilities

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Hotel Welgelegen - Cape Town - South Africa

Need To Know

Rooms

13: one mini deluxe; four deluxe; eight superior.

Check–out

11am but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $92.17 (ZAR1,075), excluding tax at 14 per cent.

More details

Rates include breakfast.

Also

Welgelegen has a treatment room with massages, manicures and other therapies on offer; book in advance.

At the hotel

Plunge pool, satellite TV, air-conditioning, massages on request.

Our favourite rooms

Most superiors have balcony/terrace/mountain view. 1 is romantic, with fireplace and large oval bath. 5 is cosy, overlooking the plunge pool and Table Mountain. 6 has a mountain view from the bed. 8 is large and sunny with a large balcony and wrought-iron bed. The passages in Welgelegen aren’t carpeted and the exposed wooden flooring of the old house magnifies the noise. If you’re a light sleeper, an upstairs room is your best bet.

Packing tips

A pashmina or light sweater for when the wind gets up. Shoes that combine chic and comfort – you’ll want to walk to bars and restaurants by night.

Children

Two of the superior rooms sleep up to three or four guests; family superiors have up to four beds. There’s a baby crib for use in any of the rooms. A R200 charge for children of six and older applies. Babysitting is charged at R30–R40 an hour.

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Food & Drink

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Hotel Welgelegen - Cape Town - South Africa

Hotel Restaurant

Only breakfast: a buffet of juices, fresh fruit, cheeses, cold meats, yoghurt, home-made cereals and bread, plus cooked specialities (we loved the French toast).

Hotel Bar

Complimentary port is served each evening in the dining room from 5pm.

Room service

Not available.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Wear whatever you feel relaxed in.

Top table

Breakfast can be served on your private terrace.

Local Guide

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Hotel Welgelegen - Cape Town - South Africa
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

The Table Mountain nature reserve is only a stroll away, so take the cable car to the top for spectacular views, as well as a look around the blooming marvellous Floral Kingdom.

Adrenalin junkies can get their fix over and over again, with golf, mountain biking and walking, boat and kayak trips, sailing, surfing and windsurfing all on tap. Companies to consult on keeping busy include Cape Rainbow Tours (+ 27 21 551 5465; www.caperainbow.com) and Navigators 4-WD Adventures (+27 (0)21 689 1825; www.navigators4wd.co.za). Something unique to this city, and which many would argue is unmissable, is a visit to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was held prisoner (www.robben-island.org.za). The tours of this former prison by inmates are not only fascinating, but also incredibly touching.

Daytripper

Drive half an hour north to the lush wine region, where hundreds of vineyards offer tastings and lunch in their postcard-perfect surrounds. At Spier, near Stellenbosch (www.spier.co.za), you can sample five wines for about £1, eat pan-African fare in Moyo, and stroke one of the furry inhabitants of their cheetah outreach. Stop in the colonial town of Franschhoek, where a romantic boozy lunch at the hillside La Petite Ferme is a must for gourmands (+27 (0)21 876 3016). Another bright star in this culinary capital is Reubens (+27 (0)21 876 3772). Lunch in its large courtyard is worth lingering over; have the sommelier match a glass of wine to each course. Haute Cabriere, the restaurant at the Cabriere Estate (+27 (0)21 876 3688) is another must for epicureans.

Best beaches

Find your own deserted sandy discoveries and sheltered lagoons among the miles of unspoilt coastline. Be warned though: those Atlantic waters can be icy, even if the sea loses its cool as you head east towards the Indian Ocean. Delightful spots in which to catch some rays are the coves in Clifton, overlooked by Table Mountain; or try quiet Llandudno, a far cry from its Welsh namesake. A 15-minute drive from the city, Hout Bay is great for people- and parasurfer-watching. Locals walk their dogs or bring their broods here at weekends.

Local restaurants

Panama Jacks on Eastern Mole Road (+27 (0)21 447 3992) is a fantastic seafood restaurant in the Waterfront area. It's advisable to book ahead. Manolo on Kloof Street (+27 (0)21 422 4747) is a very stylish Cape Town bar and restaurant set in an old Victorian house with a sleek and exquisitely crafted interior. The menu blends East and West with some decidedly South African twists like the springbok carpaccio. Also on Kloof Street, Ocean Basket (+27 (0)21 422 0322) serves excellent seafood; the fresh squid and prawns are particularly delicious. Further down on Kloof Street, Manna (+27 (0)21 426 2413) is another great restaurant, where everything from the service and all-white decor to the coconut bread and beef fillets, is exceptional. Miller’s Thumb on Kloofnek Road in Tamboerskloof (+27 (0)21 424 3838) is a popular seafood restaurant with a casual atmosphere and an emphasis on Cajun and Creole flavours. Ginja on Castle Street (+27 (0)21 426 2368) has a French brasserie ambience and an inventive East-meets-West fusion menu.

Local cafés

Café Maxim on Waterkant Street is a little bit of Paris transported to southern Africa. The menu is a simple and delicious French bistro fair. Try the handmade Poilâne bread.

+ Enlarge
Kloof Street central

Welgelegen

6 Stephen Street, Gardens, Cape Town, 8001

Planes

Cape Town’s airport is a half-hour drive from the hotel. A shuttle bus runs to Cape Town Civic Centre every 15 minutes (or half hour off peak) between 4am and midnight. From here, it’s a 10-minute journey by car on to Welgelegen.

Trains

The hotel is a 10-minute drive from the city’s main railway station. Travel to Worcester, Beaufot West, Kroonstad and Bloemfontein with luxury companies Blue Train (www.bluetrain.co.za) and Rovos Rail (www.rovos.com).

Automobiles

A car will come in handy for reaching nearby Camps Bay and Clifton. There’s secure parking at the hotel. Welgelegen is situated in the centre of Cape Town, near the Company Gardens. From the airport, take the N2 and M3.

Reviews

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Hotel Welgelegen - Cape Town - South Africa

Anonymous review

By Mr & Mrs Smith.

Fishing is boring, unless you actually catch a fish, in which case it is revolting. We were reminded of this as we stared at our lunch options in Panama Jacks, one of Cape Town’s best-known eateries, in Table Bay. The problem with eating any sort of shellfish is – follow me closely here – they look like shellfish. Whereas most establishments stretch to a tank with a couple of sor…
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Welgelegen

By Mr & Mrs Smith.

Fishing is boring, unless you actually catch a fish, in which case it is revolting. We were reminded of this as we stared at our lunch options in Panama Jacks, one of Cape Town’s best-known eateries, in Table Bay. The problem with eating any sort of shellfish is – follow me closely here – they look like shellfish. Whereas most establishments stretch to a tank with a couple of sorry-ass shrimps pootling about, Panama Jacks had taken shellfish selection to a new level with a sea pool occupying a quarter of the restaurant. Here, there were giant lobsters and, God help us, live abalone – huge, prehistoric-looking molluscs clinging to the side of the pool like a trophy girlfriend on a Russian oligarch. As a digestive come-hither, thrashing lobsters and pulsing pores are not for everyone.

All around us though, happy locals were tucking in merrily. We’d been in Cape Town for an hour and we were starving. If we were ever going to make it to our boutique bolthole in Kloof Street, we’d need to eat. It was time to skip the squeamishness and get ordering. As an introduction to the city, it was typically South African, and as a meal it was, in fact, sublime.

After lunch, we grabbed a cab and headed with bags and bursting bellies to our hotel. ‘Welgelegen’ means ‘beautifully situated’ and that’s no misnomer. The guesthouse is on a quiet lane, a two-minute stroll from trendy Kloof Street, with its many restaurants, boutique shopping, hip new bars and Cape Town’s best coffee shops. Everyone, without exception, seems youthful, fresh-scrubbed and healthy. You could cast a Coke commercial here in ten minutes.

Cape Town’s typically Mediterranean climate means that winters tend to be cool and wet, like Brighton in British summertime, but with fewer fish 'n' chip shops and better-looking locals (sorry, Brightonian boys and girls). The locals hibernate and the city is relatively quiet – preparing for the long, hot summer ahead. I had convinced Mr Smith that a few nights here would be just the thing to restoke the fires of romance. A blue, crisp Cape day had served as a good omen for the fine time that lay ahead of.

The hotel is housed in two small Victorian houses linked by a lovely courtyard and small plunge pool. The decor is an eclectic mix of modern, Victorian and African styles – with the perfect selection made in every case. (Let’s face it: when you’ve chosen a boutique hotel, the last thing you’re looking for is Victorian-era plumbing.) The bathrooms are a cool, clean designer delight, and the furniture a mixture of colonial British and local themes. Although clearly high-end, Welgelegen has an overall feeling of class and restraint. Contrast this with the price-comparable five-star hotels dotted around the city, their rooms filled with over-ornate objects you would expect to see in an article on one of the Bee Gees’ beach houses.

Mr Smith breathed a sigh of relief when he spotted the extra-length king bed. His six-foot-plus frame challenges most hotel beds, ending up in comical feet-out-the-end situations. Generally, this presents no more of a problem than some night-time giggling for me. However, our previous tropical trip saw a particularly hungry mosquito settle in for a full meal overnight, leaving the poor chap with an oversized foot the next day. Since then, big beds have been key to a harmonious holiday.

Our bathroom, with its power shower, deep claw-footed bath, candles and Rooibos bath products, was a delight. We tipped in a whole bunch of scented foaming whatsits and enjoyed a luxurious soak. There’s also a well-stocked minibar, hairdryer and fluffy white towelling gowns, perfect for Hollywood star-style sauntering. Mr Smith muttered something about the television, which, to be fair, only had access to local stations and no international news. This soon became something of a humorous plus point though, as the local newsreader, who looked as though he’d been dipped in creosote, had a look of acute surprise every time the camera panned back to him. We wondered what he could be up to during the pre-recorded sections.

It was now well into afternoon-snack-o’clock, so we went off to explore De Waterkant, a newly restored neighbourhood on the edge of the city centre, which overlooks Table Bay. This cosmopolitan area houses fabulous galleries, eateries and impressive, MTV Cribs-style private residences. We spent a happy hour simply checking out the mansions and deciding which would best suit us when we finally make our millions. Well, a woman can dream…

We headed for Café Maxim, new to the area, discreetly tucked away at the far end of Waterkant Street. The chef, Anna, flies in Poilâne bread from Paris and makes the most delicious tartines, which we followed with some great coffee and lemon tart. Sated after this masterclass in simple, delicious cooking, we decided it was time to enjoy a similar level of expert artistry by visiting the latest show at the Michael Stevenson Gallery (Hill House, De Smidt Street). Artists from Ghana, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Cameroon were exhibiting when we visited.

You can have plenty of other rewarding moments on the same street as the gallery, although these will tend to be rather less rarified. Yup, we’re talking shopping. In the same building as the gallery is Cape Cobra, one of the best-kept secrets of Cape Town, with its fantastic showroom containing an extensive selection of skin handbags. Just a little way down Waterkant Street is top-end craft store Africa Nova. We purchased a few beautiful plates and, wahey, a ring for me! We also checked out Nope Private Collection, a few doors down, for its range of Indian items – from four-poster beds to cute mini chandeliers – and the quirky Cape to Cairo, also great for home furnishings.

Welgelegen welcomed us back with a roaring fire in the lounge, complimentary sherries and wine on the sideboard, and a general air of bonhomie. It wasn’t long before we found ourselves in need of a pre-dinner nap and, after careful analysis, we figured out that it must be the sherry. That’s what your grandmother drinks at Christmas, right? And who always falls asleep after the Queen’s speech? Exactly. We rest our case.

Come breakfast time, as if on cue, the ‘cloth’ of cloud started to cover Cape Town’s most famous landmark, providing the perfect South African moment (or, in our case, photo op). Mr Smith even stopped wolfing down fresh croissants long enough to look at the view and make some vaguely complimentary comparison between its beauty and my own. Believe me, this is unusual. But it you’re not bursting with romance after a weekend here, get yourself along for a medical check-up pronto – there is a distinct possibility that you are clinically dead.

The Guestbook

Reviews of Welgelegen from Smith members

Whenever you book a stay through us, we’ll invite you to comment when you get back. Read the Guestbook entries below to see what real-life Mr & Mrs Smiths have said about this hotel…

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The stay was fantastic! I liked everything from the decor, breakfast, location, staff to the common area with an honesty bar. I also thought the nightly weather reports delivered to the room for the next day were a nice touch. 

Don’t expect

I thought the hotel could have provided a little map of Capetown but that is a very minor thing. 

Rating: 10/10 stars