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Amina is not just a boutique hotel stay, it’s an experience
Colourful and artistically-curated historic house
Last updated: Tuesday, 6 June 2023
A historic house that was rescued, lovingly renovated and adorned with precious details – vintage furniture, mosaic fountain crafted from teacups and saucers, colourful walls decorated with a personal art collection – is now a special hotel in one of the city’s most vibrant neighbourhoods. The weirdly wonderful Amina Boutique Hotel is not just a stay, it’s an experience.
Amina in all its glory. Image: Amina Boutique Hotel
A HISTORIC SPOT WAS LOVINGLY REVAMPED
When owners Gal Ezra and Oshri Elmorich bought the house (estimated to be 160 years old), they completely revamped it, from the roof, to the deck and the rooms.
Now, each room in Amina is painted a different colour (as homage to the bright houses of Bo-Kaap) and is filled with all sorts of vintage finds and antique furniture.
Amina is a treasure trove of special finds and unique furniture. Image: Amina Boutique Hotel
BE WOWED BY ALL THE UNIQUE DETAILS
No room is like any other in Amina. All of the furniture, from grand brass mirrors to chandeliers and plush armchairs, are either antique, bought secondhand, specifically made by local companies or are even a part of the house’s original furniture.
By the entrance stands an eye-catching mosaic fountain, made from over 5 000 tiles. The fountain was created specifically for Amina, and the tiles were made from old teacups and saucers found at local markets (a unique way of upcycling antiques). You can still see the delicate pink roses and yellow daisies, remnants from the old-school crockery.
The handmade mosaic fountain. Image: Amina Boutique Hotel
One of the most heartwarming details is that all of the art in Amina, over 20 pieces, comes from Gal’s late grandfather’s art collection. The art varies in style, from small abstract frames to flower sketches. The moody autumnal landscape in the dining room is particularly eye-catching in the otherwise bright space. The mismatched art fits the quirky decor seamlessly.
The hot pink “birth canal” (aptly nicknamed by Amina’s builders and painters) is also an eccentric addition: You’ll know it when you see it.
This piece in the dining room is one of Gal’s favourites from his grandfather’s collection. Image: Amina Boutique Hotel
FEEL IMMERSED IN BO-KAAP CULTURE
A continental breakfast is served every morning, which is a chance to see the many types of guests that choose Amina: Stylish digital nomads, Dutch and German tourists, locals visiting the city for business, and Capetonians seeking an inner-city getaway (it’s only a 10-minute walk from Buitengracht and Bree Street). With only five rooms, it’s a chance to get to know South Africans (and tourists) from all walks of life.
Breakfast is prepared and served by Shariefa Jamalie, one of Amina’s neighbours. Her lively chatter makes mornings at Amina akin to breakfast at your auntie’s house. Sometimes she’ll include a Cape Malay treat in the breakfast fare, like a fresh warm koesister or a spicy samoosa.
Breakfast is served here. Image: Amina Boutique Hotel
Bo-Kaap is a community full of rich culture, character and warmth, and a stay at Amina means that you’re close to the sights and sounds of an inner-city neighbourhood. Lie by the pool, and you might hear cars backfire as they struggle up the steep cobblestone streets that are typical of Bo-Kaap.
Breakfast is accompanied by dogs barking and neighbourhood chatter, because you’re in a bustling and vibrant community. This is part of what makes Amina an experience, rather than a simple hotel stay.
Amina is vibrant and colourful, just like Bo-Kaap. Image: Amina Boutique Hotel
QUIRKY WITH A LUXURY FINISH
The rooms at Amina are eccentric. Room One has bright yellow and green walls, while Room Three is a dazzling orange with a walk-in Mediterranean shower. Room Two has stunning views of Table Mountain and the surrounding community, and the natural-toned Room Five has its own sitting room and kitchen.
There is also an elegant touch of luxury: The wine glasses are delicately thin-rimmed and there’s a Nespresso machine in every room. Charlotte Rhys products feature in all of the bathrooms and there are smart TV’s connected to an inverter system.
Room Four has an opulent bathroom. Image: Amina Boutique Hotel
Each room has a coffee station and mini-fridge, and guests can use the shared kitchen to cook (it’s fully kitted-out). A jar of fresh rusks sits on the counter and floral 1950’s-esque milk jugs, tea pots and bowls stand on display.
The kitchen is a cheerful yellow with a view of Table Mountain. Image: Amina Boutique Hotel
EXPLORE THIS VIBRANT COMMUNITY
Amina has a large garden with a pool, deck chairs and even an infrared sauna with a stunning view of the city.
There’s plenty to do at the hotel itself, but we suggest exploring the community too. It’s a short walk to the most popular parts of the inner city, filled with bustling strips of restaurants and bars.
The view from the garden of Amina. Image: Amina Boutique Hotel
To get more of a taste of the Cape Malay culinary culture of the Bo-Kaap, eat at Against the Grain (they make some of the best koesisters every day). This plant-filled café serves regular coffee shop fare with a Cape Malay influence, like masala scrambled eggs and falooda.
The Iziko Bo-Kaap museum is also closeby. Housed inside a 1768 home (one of the first to be built in the area), it showcases local Islamic heritage and culture.
With Amina as your homebase, there is so much to explore in this iconic neighbourhood.
Fresh koesisters from Against the Grain. Image: Against the Grain
STAY AT AMINA
Find Amina Boutique Hotel: 16 Whitford Street | Bo-Kaap | Cape Town
Contact details: Website, firstname.lastname@example.org, 084 418 1879, @stayatamina
Make a reservation: email@example.com or via Booking.com
Price range: From R1 000 to R2 200 per night, depending on room and season
By Julia Rowley
MAKE MORE UNIQUE DISCOVERIES
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Read more about Against the Grain.
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