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The Mount Nelson was opened in 1899 by the shipping magnate Sir Donald Currie to accommodate elite travellers making transcontinental voyages - and there is still a feeling of privilege as you check into one of the world's great historic hotels. With its refined ambience, enthusiastic staff and venerable gardens, this is a city-centre oasis that is both a destination in itself and a sophisticated base for exploring South Africa's 'Mother City'. Most guests stay three nights which allows time to appreciate its large spa, two pools, intimate bars and absorbing collection of art and memorabilia. Acquired by Orient-Express Hotels in 1988, the property is now part of the global Belmond collection of hotels, trains and cruises who cherish its illustrious past while ensuring the comfort level is firmly 21st century.

Your expert reviewer

Nigel Tisdall
Freelance travel writer and photographer
Nigel Tisdall is an award-winning travel writer who contributes frequently to leading UK titles such as the Telegraph, Times, Mail and Financial Times. He has visited over a hundred countries and specialises in luxury, adventure, heritage and the Caribbean.



There are eight acres of hotel gardens with magnificent trees including palm, oak, fig and Norfolk pine. A free guide is available at reception.

You're in the heart of the city; the Museum of Good Hope and the Bo-Kapp Museum are a short walk away.
By plane: direct flights from London Heathrow to Cape Town take 12 hours. The hotel is a 20-minute drive from the airport. Free parking available.

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Style & Character

The hotel suits fans of heritage hotels and the Belmond brand; lovers of tea, gardens and civilised grandeur. 'The Nellie' is also popular with Capetonians who pop up for a beer in the bar. We loved the engrossing memorabilia displayed in the corridors including vintage travel posters, huge model ships and contemporary South African art.

Service & Facilities

Relax by the kite-shaped main swimming pool where Egyptian geese sometimes take a dip. Framed in lawns, it offers smart loungers with staff in attendance from October to April.

  • Restaurant
  • Bar
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Fitness centre
  • Swimming pool
  • Spa
  • Kids' club
  • Free parking
  • Free Wi-Fi


The eight Garden Cottage Suites are private and elegantly furnished, while the rooms on the third floor of the Oasis Wing look on to the main pool and gardens. Sleep is taken seriously here - guests have a choice of seven different pillows.

Superior, Deluxe, Junior Suite, Studio Suite, Suite, Deluxe Suite, Presidential Suite, Garden Cottage Suite
Facilities include: ensuite bathroom with toiletries, bathrobes and slippers, TV, air conditioning, free Wi-Fi

Food & Drink

Afternoon tea is an art form and comes with two dedicated sommeliers, a choice of 40 teas and a cake-stand loaded with sandwiches, scones and mushroom empanadas. We recommend the tangy lamb curry with sambals and poppadoms followed by treacle tart with vanilla ice cream.

The Lounge: cosy lounge and terrace restaurant. Informal dining, serving salads, sandwiches and light meals. Open daily, from 12pm.
Planet Bar: chic bar and lounge, intimate ambience. Serving wines, champagnes and cocktails. Open daily, from 12pm.

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