Belmond Mount Nelson: The Lowdown

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For over 100 years, the lovely Nellie has been the place to stay in Cape Town and today it remains the grand old lady of the city, with a fantastic sense of history and a gentle colonial charm.

What’s the Mount Nelson really like?

Staying at the Mount Nelson, it feels like there’s a story around every corner. She was painted a striking pink to mark the 1918 armistice, the gates are wide enough for a long-dead Prince of Wales to drive his horse and carriage through, and even John Lennon might not be the best-known former guest. As you can probably tell, the Nellie is no standard hotel.

Amongst the 198 rooms and suites, there’s a fairly bewildering selection (we won’t bore you with the full run-down here), but having seen them for ourselves, we’ll do our best to suggest the right one for you. Safe to say though, even the Superior Rooms, which are the “simplest” rooms were just lovely. It’s worth being aware that there are lots of buildings in the gardens in addition to the main building- cottages, different wings, even a few neighbouring (ex) hotels which have been drawn into the Nellie’s embrace. As a result, rooms are fairly scattered around the seven acres of grounds and the feel is more like a charming resort than an ordinary city hotel.

As you might expect from a hotel this size there are several restaurants- a relaxed buffet-style bistro where breakfast and summer lunches are served, the Lord Nelson Restaurant for elegant evening meals, a Chef’s Table actually inside the kitchen, and the lounge which is the venue for a Capetonian institution- afternoon tea at the Nellie!

Families at the Mount Nelson: The large gardens of the Nellie make it feel almost like a country retreat in the city, so it’s an ideal place for children to race around. In fact, if you have green-fingered children we’re reliably informed that the gardeners are all too happy to have help pulling weeds and planting seeds. There’s a lovely pool (just as an FYI there’s usually only a lifeguard in peak season) and a great children and teen’s activity centre. Your adult reviewer was only a little jealous of the toy penguin and cookies children get at bed time, and on a more practical level, there are a fair few interconnecting rooms that we can book for you as a family. Finally, as a heads up, the Lord Nelson restaurant is only for over 12s, but the hotel can help arrange babysitting if needs be.

What can I do at the Mount Nelson?

When you’re staying at the Nellie you have the delights of Cape Town right on your doorstep and there are scheduled shuttles running down to the Waterfront. The shops, galleries and restaurants of Kloof and Bree Streets are just a short walk away and the hotel itself has plenty on offer within its vast grounds. There’s an on-site tennis court, a fitness centre, a spa to soothe away any post-flight or post-safari aches, and two pools, one of which is adults only. The hotel can also arrange sunset walks to see the fynbos on Table Mountain, visits to a township farm and tours out to the Winelands and the city.

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