Cosmopolitan beach hang-out where Shimmy used to be
A room with view
This Cape Dutch original on Sea Point’s Beach Road is just a fifteen minute drive from my house so I wasn’t really expecting it to feel like a holiday. But after spending just a few minutes in the four-star hotel I already have that blissful holiday feeling.
The bottom floor of the hotel includes Harveys – a bar, restaurant, deli and courtyard area each with their own distinctive feel. The bar and restaurant are on the exterior of the building with terraces that look out over the promenade and across the Atlantic (there are also function rooms that you can hire.) It’s early afternoon and Harveys is already buzzing with people soaking up the sun.
The Cape Dutch architecture has been well maintained and updated with a modern feel that doesn’t detract from its history. The three floors are centered around a large rectangular open-air courtyard with bougainvillea framing the arches. Small birds flit in and out of the vividly blooming creeper. You can choose to stay in either ‘the classic’, which are part of the original building or to stay in the top section, which has been added on. The rooms range from standard rooms with en suite bathrooms to double en suite bedrooms that include a lounge, dining area, kitchenette and guestroom.
Ours is a balcony suite in the top section; the room is spacious, and is divided into a lounge and bedroom with a semi wall that allows the living area to really feel separate. The view is incredible: from the dog-walkers and joggers on the promenade, across to Robben Island with waves crashing in-between. Our corner room has a balcony with a table and chairs as well as a window seat next to a large window that opens up to let the sea breeze in. The room is elegant and tastefully decorated with everything you need. There’s even a beaded snack bowl with dried fruit, biltong and peanuts, a nice local touch.
Relax at the Ginko Spa
Before dinner, we head for a massage at the Ginkgo Spa. Tucked away in a corner of the hotel the spa feels very calm. The masseurs create a feeling of relaxation from the moment you walk in, and after an hour treatment I’m feeling it for real. A quick dip in the pool reveals that it’s heated and the deckchairs in the sun make for a lazy reading spot.
When you’re staying in a hotel it’s great to find somewhere central with a buzzing atmosphere, but this often means giving up a quiet space to retreat to. This is what Winchester Mansions have perfected – the rooms are quiet, tranquil and big enough to not feel cooped in, but downstairs there is a busy bar and restaurant, a pool to splash around in and people to socialise with (if you feel like it). Plus just outside is the promenade, and the city is ten minutes away (the V&A Waterfront is just five). It’s the best of both worlds without you having to compromise.
Breakfast is served in Harveys downstairs; you can eat in the courtyard if the weather is good. Stick around on a Sunday for their legendary jazz brunches. We also enjoyed a lazy lunch at Harveys Restaurant. Subscribe to our newsletter, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.