Derwent House

Tamboerskloof, Cape Town, South Africa Book from

A light, uplifting and fabulously friendly boutique hotel on a quiet backstreet in Tamboerskloof
Derwent House is a colourful, friendly and light-filled boutique hotel, which consciously embraces the spirit of the new South Africa. The hotel’s muted pale-grey facade looks conventionally Cape-Victorian, but to the rear a spectacular double-heighted loggia, a wooden-decked pool and 2 garden wings of rooms bring Derwent House straight into modern mode.

High, south-facing windows pour light into the open-plan lounge/diner, where angular leather sofas, kudu-covered chairs, huge Xhosa paintings and signed prints of Mandela’s Robben Island sketches, are juxtaposed with subdued white-and-grey walls and floors of buff sandstone. The brightness of the decoration is matched by the vibrant neighbourhood. Kloof Street is just around the corner, abuzz with cosmopolitan bars and restaurants, making this a fabulous base from which to fall for this fabulous city.


  • This is a great part of town: a stone’s throw from the bars and restaurants of Kloof Street
  • Some rooms grab a view up to Table Mountain and its cable car
  • The garden, with its shaded loggia and decked pool, is a great place to chill out, and the lounge/diner has an instant feel-good factor
  • We loved the homely touches like the honesty bar and complimentary sherry and cake at teatime
  • The separate self-catering apartment is a great option for parents with one or two well-behaved younger kids who are happy on a sofabed


  • There's been a change of ownership since our last visit, so we're yet to experience the hotel's latest incarnation first-hand
  • You occasionally hear the comings and goings of other guests from the rooms in the main house
  • Some of the rooms are a little on the small side
  • The continual piped music in the dining area might not be to everyone’s taste

Best time to go

With its mostly mild climate and so much happening in the city, you’re guaranteed a great stay at any time of year. The busiest months are those of the South African late spring and summer (November-March). Come earlier if you’re keen to whale-watch and at any time from March-November if you don’t mind the occasional spot of rain or wind, though the temperature will be much lower. Expect the sea to be cold on the Atlantic-facing beaches throughout the year: by simply hopping over the hill to the False Bay beaches you’ll be rewarded with a much warmer sea.

Our top tips

Before you have your wake-up shower, run the hot water tap in the sink first. This will help speed up the process of heating the water from the solar panels. Or have a dip in the pool first - it gets the morning sun and is nicest before noon.

Great for...

City Style
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 10
  • Breakfast only (+ restaurants nearby)
  • Restrictions apply
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room: Fabulous Room


Derwent House has 10 guest rooms, divided among the main house and the 2 garden annexes. There’s also a self-catering Apartment with a bit more space, making it a great option for families. We stayed in one of the first-floor Beautiful Rooms (4) in the main house, with great Table Mountain views from our bed and bathtub; other Beautiful Rooms have small balconies overlooking the pool. All rooms score top marks for comfort, and Fabulous Room 10 has a private deck.

The decorative style sticks to a muted mushroomy-grey colour scheme, pepped up by bright lamps, more of Mandela’s Robben Island prints, and jazzy voile floor-to-ceiling drapes. Beds are enormous with percale duvet covers and a triple bank of pillows and cushions. All rooms have large fitted wardrobes and a full quotient of modern conveniences.

The functional and uncluttered bathrooms vary quite a bit, though most have both a bathtub and a shower. All have bathrobes, hairdryers and goodies from the popular (and Cape Town original) Charlotte Rhys range.

Open-plan and spacious, the self-catering one-bedroom apartment is located in a small block next door to Derwent House. It has a a fully equipped kitchen and a comfy living room with a double sofabed, plus a dedicated parking bay and views of the Cape Town Skyline at night.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Dvd player
  • Hairdryer
  • Honesty bar
  • Ipod dock
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • Tv
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet


Your Cape Town day gets off to a flying start with a Derwent House breakfast. A big buffet is laid up to one side of the open-plan kitchen and you choose between a table in the dining room, out on the veranda or beneath the potted citrus trees by the pool. Amongst other good things on offer are homemade muesli and porridge with honey, a big fruit salad, dried fruit and yoghurts, a choice of 4 or 5 cheeses and, if you want, a cooked breakfast - we recommend the smoked haddock and scrambled eggs.

Please note that the rates for the self-catering apartment do not include breakfast, although this can be provided for an extra charge.

A small selection of red wines are racked up in the kitchen and an honesty bar is stocked with rosé and white wines, champagnes, beers and soft drinks. Tea and coffee, as well as delicious homemade cake, are available from lunchtime onwards.

There is no lunch or dinner menu, but the chances are that you’ll prefer to dine just around the corner on Kloof Street anyway. Check Derwent House’s comprehensive restaurant guide with its helpful price range indications.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Cooking classes
  • Restaurants nearby


  • Take the cable car to the top of Table Mountain, hike across the National Park (good birding) and descend via Skeleton Gorge to the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

  • Walk down Kloof Street, then take a cab to the Waterfront to eat and shop next to the sea

  • Take a boat out to Robben Island and see where Mandela drew the sketches that decorate Derwent House

  • Cruise the galleries in Church Street, home to some of Africa’s most innovative contemporary art

  • Go fishing from the V&A Waterfront or charter a boat; serious sailors will prefer to sail from Simonstown (30 minutes away)

  • Walk along Noordhoek beach, after a spectacular drive along Chapman's Peak

  • In season whale-watching can be had all around the peninsula, or go 90 minutes to Hermanus which has the best access

  • There are numerous golf courses around the city - the nearest one is 10 minutes’ drive. Or play tennis at the Gardens Tennis Club, 5 minutes away

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cooking classes
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Shopping / markets
  • Surfing
  • Tennis
  • Traditional cultures
  • Wine tasting


The hotel is only suitable for children aged 12+ but the apartment welcomes all ages and you can use the pool and honesty bar at the main hotel (just bear in mind that the peaceful ambiance is more suited to couples).

Family friendly accommodation:

The separate self-catering one-bedroom apartment is a great option for parents with one or two well-behaved younger kids (under 12 years old) who are happy on a sofabed. Rates exclude breakfast but you can use the pool and honesty bar at the main hotel.

Kid Friendly: Apartment

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