“A light, uplifting and fabulously friendly boutique hotel on a quiet backstreet in Tamboerskloof”
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
- 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
- No children under 12 are permitted
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Hotel
- Breakfast only (+ restaurants nearby)
- Restrictions apply
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
Derwent House has 10 guest rooms, divided among the main house and the 2 garden annexes. There’s also a self-catering Apartment and Designer Studio Apartment, which have a bit more space. 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.
- Air conditioning
- CD player
- Central heating
- DVD player
- Honesty bar
- Ipod dock
- Safe box
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.
- 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
- Museums / galleries
- Shopping / markets
- Traditional cultures
- Wine tasting