Satisfaction can come in many forms. It can manifest itself through relaxation. Or happiness. Or pure quiet. But it’s funny how sometimes it is the simplest things that really catch your attention, and give you the greatest bit of indulgence in that feeling.
When entering our room at the privately owned Ellerman House, it is not only the jaw-dropping viewpoint overlooking the sea, nor the unlimited supply of top quality South African gin and whisky that catches mine and my partner’s eye. There, beside the oversized, luxurious bed, sit international plug points. That’s right folks. International plug points. BESIDE. THE. BED. It’s something so simple. So easy. And as someone who travels so constantly for work, something I’m fully aware that even the most upmarket of hotels miss out on all the time. A plug beside the bed, in this day and age of constant reliance on phones, goes a long way to creating satisfaction.
But back to Ellerman House – as a property situated in the most exclusive Cape Town enclave of Bantry Bay, international plug points are, for most, unlikely to be a top selling point. The 11-room, 2-suite hotel, which once belonged to shipping magnates Sir John and Lady Ellerman, has an unbelievable eye for detail and everything the luxury traveller could wish for: an incredible modern art collection, complete with iPad tours you can take individually; a proudly South African wine cellar with 1500 bottles; panoramic views of the rocky Atlantic coast; 1.5 acres of tiered grounds and terraced walkways leading to a perfect pool; a sumptuous restaurant with breakfast to drool over; warm and welcoming staff; and, a room kitted out with every possible goodie you could wish for. Outside of international plug points, our favourite surprise had to be the ‘Gin & Tonic’ drawer, complete with mini granite chopping board, paring knife, fresh lemon and stirrers, to make up a refreshing drink from the free bar stocked with a favourite craft gin called Inverroche.
Once our heart rates calm after the initial overwhelming joy at the room’s perfection, we retire to the large balcony to watch the world go by as we sip our perfect G&Ts. In that moment feeling so relaxed that it’s hard to conceive of a more stunning place to watch the bulbous South African sun droop below the horizon.
On our way to dinner, we stop to admire some of the art. Every bit of wall space is taken up by an ever-growing collection of the most eclectic range of works, while every table has another eye-catching sculpture. We’re so distracted that we arrive late to our table, though the ever-chivalrous staff don’t note it for a second. Over a five-course tasting menu – created especially for us on the night – we indulge in everything from crab and apple remoulade with pea shoots, mint cucumber and avocado mousse, to Cape Malay prawn curry and a dark chocolate mousse with lemon puree, honey comb and white chocolate sorbet.
Each dish is paired with a local wine, a perfect way to tour through the ever-growing range of world class wines that South Africa is currently producing. Our favourite is a rubbery, mineralic 2014 Riesling from Wilde Haf, a winery in the Elgin Valley just over an hour’s drive southeast of the hotel. By the time we waddle out of the restaurant, it is with a heaviness in our eyes and belly but there is one more surprise to go – the hotel staff, noting it was our anniversary, have laid out our room with rose petals, candles and a bottle of sparkling wine, complete with hand written card wishing us the best. It’s so touching, I nearly cry.
Instead – having had our fill of wine – I put on my pajamas and, as if it were my home, head down to the open bar to get a couple of whiskies for a night cap. The alcohol is all included at the hotel, so it’s hard to resist a good Scotch. A dram for our dreams, as it were.
The next morning a muted sunlight filters in through the large glass fronted doors and we awake with a feel of divine comfort. The waves are crashing below, and the clouds have come in a bit, but nothing can dash our happy hearts. Over what is one of the most beautiful breakfast spreads I have ever seen, we lament the fact we have to leave so quickly. Whilst nibbling my asparagus and cress omelette, we make a plan of action: we’ll check out of our room, but spend the day by the pool, so long as the staff agree. And, of course, they do – it seems no wish is too much for the Ellerman House team, and I thank my lucky stars every minute longer I get to spend wrapped in the hotel’s embrace.
The ongoing mantra on social media for Ellerman House is #NeverLeave, based on their confidence that guests will ‘Never want to Leave’ after setting foot in its midst. It’s no wonder. Our 24-hour stay was far too short, and I fear anyone visiting the hotel may see less of beautiful Cape Town than they’d like. As a mermaid entrances the lost sailor, so too Ellerman House entranced our souls – we only wish we could go back again, and again.
For more information about Ellerman House, including details of rooms and experiences, visit www.ellerman.co.za.