No visit to Cape Town is complete without a trip to the 5-star Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel in Gardens. This iconic hotel, easily identified by its dusky pink exterior, is situated at the foot of Table Mountain and offers easy access to the highlights of the city.
Affectionately called "The Pink Lady", the Mount Nelson is steeped in history and dates back to 1743 when the land on which it stands was granted to Baron Pieter van Rheede van Oudtshoorn. The land was known as Oudtshoorn Gardens; a time when the term "garden" was used to describe a small farm. The land was once a beautiful garden home to deer and fountains until it was purchased by shipping magnate, Sir Donald Currie, in 1890 with the aim of building a hotel as elegant as those in London, to cater for the Union-Castle Line's First Class Passengers. The Mount Nelson Hotel opened on 6 March 1899 and was the very first hotel to offer both hot and cold running water.
During the Second Boer War, the hotel was used as a headquarters for military campaigns (1899), was declared a plague-free zone during the influenza virus (1919), welcomed the Prince of Wales (1925), and was purchased by Orient-Express Hotel (1988). In 1993, an electrical fire caused the hotel to close for 6 months.
Today, the hotel is still a world class venue. It offers an old world charm with beautiful bedrooms, a fitness centre, signature boutique, a hair salon, 2 heated swimming pools, a teens lounge, and a family friendly program of activities. It also hosts a daily Afternoon Tea that is not to be missed!
Served in the lounge, on the terrace, or around the fountain in the garden, the stately high tea is a memorable and royal event. Teas include leaf and flowering teas from Nigiro Tea Merchants like Darjeeling, Kenya, Assam, Keemun, Yunna, and Ceylon. Don’t forget to try the signature Mount Nelson Tea which is a blend of 6 teas with rose petals from the hotel’s own garden.
You can look forward to live music and snacks like cocktail sandwiches, chocolate cake, lemon meringue tart, scones with cream and preserves, and South African milk tart. In winter, you can enjoy a selection of warm eats like mushroom espanadas, tomato tarts, and chicken pies. The dress code is smart casual. Please note: The Morning Tea is a slightly lighter affair, while the Afternoon Tea offers the full experience. It’s the perfect way to catch up with the girls or celebrate a birthday or happy occasion.