“I wish I’d had more than one night in this Cape Town hotel”

Striking local art and swish rooftop cocktails make this new boutique offering stand out

The 32 bedrooms at Gorgeous George have a “warm industrial” style – cool but still cosy
The 32 bedrooms at Gorgeous George have a “warm industrial” style – cool but still cosy

My Uber driver was not happy. We had spent more than 30 minutes driving in circles trying to find the entrance to Gorgeous George, a new boutique hotel in Cape Town where I was planning to spend my last night in the city. We finally worked out that the hotel entrance was positioned on a pedestrian-only stretch of St George’s Mall, a beautiful, tree-lined street in the city centre that was bustling with vendors selling everything from African bracelets to biltong. This did mean I had to cart my motley crew of non-wheeled luggage a considerable distance, but what an entrance. 

Delft-inspired tiles set off the thoughtfully appointed rooms
Delft-inspired tiles set off the thoughtfully appointed rooms
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Gorgeous George consists of two restored historic buildings – one Edwardian, one art deco, the latter offering soaring original brass doors (where help with the aforementioned cumbersome baggage was happily on hand) leading into an atmospheric, intimate lobby. I was instantly struck by the installation of 1,800 handpainted Delft-inspired tiles depicting a map of Cape Town. It is the work, I learnt, of local artist-cum-architect-cum-set designer Lucie de Moyencourt –  one of the South African artisans in a team led by interior designer Tristan du Plessis to have decorated the hip 32-room property, which also turns up furniture by increasingly international Johannesburg-based company Dokter and Misses and abstract murals by Capetonian artist David Brits in the bedrooms. 

The hotel is in two restored heritage buildings in the heart of Cape Town
The hotel is in two restored heritage buildings in the heart of Cape Town
The rooftop restaurant serves seasonal, local dishes created by executive chef Guy Bennett
The rooftop restaurant serves seasonal, local dishes created by executive chef Guy Bennett

I wish I’d had more than one night in my room (from R2,200 a night, about £117), which was tastefully appointed in what I’d call a “warm industrial” style – cool but still cosy –  with original panelled windows offering views of the historical buildings lining the mall. Unlike other rooms I’d encountered on my African travels, this one worked on every level – from the king-sized bed and heavy curtains that blacked out the light, to a shower with excellent water pressure and even a pair of ear plugs strategically placed on the nightstand (necessary, as street vendors set up stalls early). 

The GiGi Rooftop, with bar, restaurant and swimming pool
The GiGi Rooftop, with bar, restaurant and swimming pool
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In the evening I retired to the rooftop, where the poolside restaurant was bustling with a seemingly mostly local crowd. I chatted with Jody Rahme, a Johannesburg native who created the hotel’s cocktail menu – his Green Elixir (about £5) mix of gin, celery juice, green chartreuse and a dash of sauvignon blanc was both boozy and delicious. He even enlightened me on the secret coconut-washed Campari technique used in his El Pulque (about £4.80) creation – something I will most certainly be trying out this summer to remind me of this superlative stopover.

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