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Fodor's Expert Review Winchester Mansions Hotel

221 Beach Rd., Cape Town, Western Cape, 8005, South Africa See on Map

This historic hotel's position overlooking a green belt, popular promenade, and the sea can't be beat - perhaps why it continues to score highly with value-oriented travelers. Its Sunday jazz brunches are legendary (and have to be booked in advance), and the elegant sea-facing terrace is popular with locals for tea and afternoon drinks. Meanwhile, the Mediterranean-style courtyard draped in ivy and bougainvillea makes for an elegant summer refuge from the blazing sun, offering tea and meals around a beautiful wrought-iron fountain. There's limited parking.

room

Rooms are large, unfussy and comfortable, and blend the hotel's history - it's an 18th century building - with modern design pretty well. Some face the sea, some the lovely courtyard, and all come with welcome wine, lime cordial and the initial stock of the minibar thrown in. Design is light and bright, with some cool wildlife cushions.

YOU SHOULD KNOW Room 120 is noisier than the others - most are quiet. Check on booking.

bathroom

Bathrooms fall into two categories depending on the room - classic, in which case they are in white and grey with hardwood, and mostly have baths and showers, or modern classic, with glass bathrooms. Toiletries are by Charlotte Rhys.

lobby

The lobby feels a little old-fashioned, effectively a corridor with an enclosed wood and marble reception desk, but it is saved by opening out onto the courtyard, giving it a pleasant open vibe. The gift shop and bar/restaurant fan out on either side of the main corridor. Staff are very friendly.

pool

The hotel's enclosed outdoor pool lacks views, but is in a sunny spot. The hotel is also close to SeaPoint's gorgeous outdoor pool right by the ocean, a liitle further down the coast.

spa

The small Ginkgo spa smells beautiful and has a nice range of treatments.

One relaxing option to kickstart your holiday is the 'arrival rejuvenation package', available for guests fresh off the plane who arrive too early to check in to their rooms.

gym

There's no gym on-site, but a Virgin Active is relatively nearby.

dining

Harvey's Restaurant and Bar is a buzzy place along the seafront strip, serving South African food with an international twist. Breakfast is great.

The hotel has a lot of extra little touches which are very appealing: complimentary fruit skewers by the pool, children's menus in the restaurant (and babysitting services!), and a complimentary shuttle to the V&A Waterfront.

drinking

Sundowners on Harvey's terrace overlooking the sea are basically a must-do. Drinks or the weekend brunch in the courtyard are also very pleasant.

LOCATION

Getting Around

The hotel is in Sea Point, a pleasant, affluent suburb of the city, close to the V&A Waterfront. Between Atlantic Hill and the ocean, the area is popular with walkers and joggers along the seafront strip, and has shopping inland. It's a short drive into town or to the beaches at Clifton and Camps Bay.

Restaurants

Staff recommend the City Grill Steakhouse (8-minute drive) via the V&A waterfront shuttle, a traditional South African steak joint with great meat. La Mouette (18-minute walk, 6-minute drive or Uber) is a fancy French restaurant in a historic building with a terrace.

Bars

Try The Press Bar & Grill (11-minute walk) on the main strip of Sea Point for great craft beers, good service and tasty classic meals (burgers in particular). Or for one of Cape Town's current coolest hangouts, head for The Gin Bar (12-minute drive or Uber) in the CBD, a small bar with just five cocktails -plus G&Ts, of course - and a cute rickety brick-walled courtyard.

WHY WE LIKE IT

Hotels with a bit of historic flavor can feel quite rare in Cape Town. Throw in sea views, a lovely terrace and a smashing flower-filled courtyard, all for fairly reasonable rates, and we're sold.

QUICK FACTS

Hotel
Views
Casual
Near the beach
Local Flavor
$$

HOTEL INFO

Phones: 021-434–2351

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