First impression Imposing and grand.
Food & drinks So much choice.
Bed & bath Comforting and cosseting.
The crowd Erudite and appreciative.
In a nutshell A local hero bringing together the best of South Africa.
Set the scene
This glorious mansion is both intensely private and incredibly warm, with one of the best private art collections in South Africa. Where many historic properties were demolished to make way for architecturally daring concrete-and-glass homes, Ellerman House is an original Cape Edwardian mansion that dates to 1906. Standing on the veranda is not unlike being on the deck of a grand ship.
What’s the story?
Privately owned by ex-banker Paul Harris, who is also a director of an influential art gallery. His vision in bringing a boutique hotel to a prime location in Cape Town was to showcase the very best of South Africa – wine, food, culture, art – to a global clientele, while sharing the history of his country.
What can we expect in our room?
Room Nine is a very good place to hole up and soak in the Atlantic view from the balcony.
Everything in the mini bar is complimentary. Understated, slightly quirky touches with original South African art, handcrafted ceramics and a small table. The split-level bedroom/sitting room leads onto a generous balcony with gunshot ocean views. In the bathroom there’s a black facecloth for cleaning make-up, rather than using the white cloths.
How about the food and drink?
Plenty of off-menu choices, from burgers to Cape Malay chicken curry. The restaurant is only open to guests, so there is no scene – every meal feels like a private dining experience. There’s an exceptional wine list, several local gins, and a separate Champagne cellar with a slab of rock from the Champagne region. Breakfast is included – smoked salmon and fantastic nutty granola, smashed avocado with poached eggs on wholemeal toast.
Anything to say about the service?
Overseen by the lovely and very personable Paul Bruce Brand, all incredibly competent and capable too of holding a conversation about the art or food scene in Cape Town.
What sort of person stays here?
Several English and German families, and established regulars who book the same rooms again and again.
What’s the neighbourhood scene like?
Quite residential. The closest competition to Ellerman is Compass House or Cape View Clifton, but this is a cut above.
Anything we missed?
While the ocean feels close, you have to either walk to Clifton’s beaches or drive a short distance. Best to take an Uber.
And anything you’d change?
It would be amazing if the Wine Gallery was an alternative restaurant rather than just a place to taste vintages. It’s a cosy, intimate space, with views to the white wine cellar, shaped like a giant corkscrew.
Is it worth it – why?
You’ll experience the very best of everything South Africahas to offer, from food and wine to art and the staggering natural beauty of mountain and ocean. It’s not hard to believe that some guests never leave the property. By Jane Broughton
This hotel is one of our favourite in the world, and included in our Gold List 2019. Discover more of the best hotels in the world 2019 now.
The 78 best hotels in the world: the Gold List 2019