Exploring Cape Town and Ellerman House in the Secret Season

May 21, 2023 by Laura Fishman

Photography Courtesy of Ellerman House

Cape Town is having a moment. While this vibrant South African city is known for its contemporary art and music scene, world-class dining, fynbos horticulture, and its outdoor pursuits, it is also a healing destination that attracts spiritual travelers and soul searchers from around the world. Here, natural beauty is the centerpiece with its dramatic coastlines, soaring Signal Hill mountains flanked by Table Mountain and Lion’s Head, and diverse wildlife and fynbos. Cape Town is also a growing destination for wellness travel, as the iconic Table Mountain, which is around 5 million years old, is considered an earth chakra, which are spiritual lines of energy and healing.

Tucked away in Cape Town’s residential neighborhood of Bantry Bay, Ellerman House is a soulful family-owned Relais & Chateaux property that embodies pure serenity and ignites the senses. Hidden Doorways’ Laura Fishman recently returned from exploring the Mother City, and she shares a few helpful insights about how artistically and esthetically special this property is. 

Photography Courtesy of Ellerman House via Felix Studios

Ellerman House Feels Like Home:

Ellerman House takes your breath away the moment you arrive. Walking around the corridors, there is a sense of coziness to the property that just feels like home. With just 13 guest rooms and suites, each lovingly-designed with hand-selected artwork from the owner’s collection, it feels utterly intimate. The bathrooms are equipped with luxurious products and a candle with personalized fragrance designed specifically for the property by South African beauty line, Charlotte Rhys, that adds a thoughtful touch to the already comfortable room. 

Photography Courtesy of Ellerman House

For those seeking more privacy, there are two 3-bedroom villas with access to full hotel amenities. Children 12 years and older are welcome to stay at the hotel, although the villas can accommodate families with younger children as well. 

Photography Courtesy of Ellerman House

Ellerman House’s team feels like family from the moment you arrive with their warm welcome, graciousness and genuine hospitality. Their attention to detail is impeccable, and they take pride in looking after their guests, some of whom who have been working at Ellerman House for over 15 years. Before arrival, the team sends their travel advisor an In-Take form so they can curate the most personalized stay for each guest. 

Photography Courtesy of Ellerman House

Also for those searching for a snack during the day or evening, their guest pantry is filled with homemade baked goods and treats plus a barista machine to make lattes, cappuccinos, or other beverages where you can slip in at any time to grab a snack and feel right at home.

Photography Courtesy of Ellerman House

Visit During The Secret Seasons: Spring and Fall:

While Cape Town is known for its glorious, sun-kissed summers beginning in late November-mid March, April and May is a great time to visit to experience the fall harvest. While some days can have overcast and rainy, the majority of the time will have blue skies and sun with a gentle breeze and temperatures in the high 60’s/low 70’s. September-October is another delightful time to visit, as it marks the start of their spring. The fynbos and vineyards are in full bloom, and it is easier to get a reservation at any of the city’s sought-out restaurants.

Photography Courtesy of Ellerman House via In Situ

Ellerman House is an Art Lovers Paradise:

Ellerman House is deeply rooted in art. Its South African owner, Paul Harris, shares his love for South African art with his guests by displaying his private art and sculptor collection throughout the property, garden, and personal gallery. There are over  1,000 pieces of South African art and sculptures spanning from the 1820’s to now. It truly feels like you are sleeping in a gallery, because there are magnificent paintings on display in every corner and guest room of the hotel.

Ellerman House also offers its guests complimentary art tours guided by a local South African art curator. For those who prefer to stroll on their own, there is an app where guests can take a photo of certain pieces of art and read about the history. Touring their art collection deeply connects you with South Africa’s complicated history and vibrant culture.

If you do not have time to visit Cape Town, it is a great way to experience unique pieces. Their Concierge team can arrange private tours of local galleries, museums such as Zeitz MOCAA, sculptor gardens such as the Norval Foundation, or meetings with local artists for those who want to purchase art for their own collection.

Photography Courtesy of Ellerman House

Soaking In Cape Town’s Healing Energy:

Ellerman House’s serene ocean setting elevates the healing elements of nature. There are a lot of intimate cozy areas to relax in the hotel garden, whether it be on the outdoor lounge chaises, or in the chic library, or comfortable living room. For those who want to take a dip, there is an outdoor heated pool (long enough to do laps). Guests can hear the ocean waves crashing from their guest room, birds chirping, and palm trees gently rustling in the breeze. Don’t miss the gorgeous sunrises over Table Mountain and sunsets over the Atlantic Ocean. Here, you truly feel present in every moment.

Photography Courtesy of Ellerman House

Boasting Exceptional Gardens:

Garden lovers will love Ellerman House’s sweeping hotel garden. Situated on the slopes of Lion’s Head, the gardens offer views of the Atlantic Ocean and the bustling city below and are impeccably manicured, dotted with striking sculptors, and a colorful array of indigenous plants, including proteas, fynbos, and succulents, which were inspired by the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, one of the greatest botanical gardens in the world. Find the perfect spot for sunbathing with a chilled G&T in hand, take a dip in the pool, or just enjoy the breathtaking views. There is also a terraced vegetable garden, providing fresh produce for the hotel’s award-winning restaurant.

Photography Courtesy of Ellerman House

Mixing Up Cape Town:

Cape Town is a dining destination. A proud member of Relais & Chateaux, the dining experience at Ellerman House’s  restaurant is exceptionally inspired by international dishes. Head Chef Kieran Whyte and his culinary team create new daily dishes that rotate on their menu using the freshest ingredients. Guests have the option to dine in the dining room, on the terrace, or choose in-room dining. For those staying more than one evening, make a reservation at FYN restaurant, an internationally-acclaimed restaurant helmed by Ellerman House’s Culinary Director, Chef Peter Tempelhoff.

Photography Courtesy of Ellerman House

Other wine tasting and mixology experiences include:

  • Ellerman House recently launched the Gin Academy exclusively partnered with Inverroche Gin at their wine cellar. Guests can create their own crafted gin using botanical essences inspired by South Africa’s fynbos.
  • The Wine Collection offers 9,000 South African wines. Complimentary wine tastings are offered every evening. Their Wine Cellar is very chic and thoughtfully designed. One of the walls is made from samples of the terroirs of the Cape Winelands, the famous cork installation for the wine and an art installation of a Pinotage vine. 
  • Bar Roc offers a variety of cocktails. Don’t miss the golden hour and sun downers + canapés at Bar Roc. Their mixologists offer refreshing cocktails made with any variety of spirits, like the signature Gin and Tonic made with Ellerman House Botany Bay Gin infused with botanicals from the fynbos by Inverroche Gin.
  • Steps away from the pool, guests can get a refreshing cocktail at the Belvedere Vodka Bar cart that is self-served during the day.
Photography Courtesy of Ellerman House

Recovering from Jet Lag at Ellerman House’s Spa:

Ellerman House’s Spa offers luxurious, rejuvenating treatments, massages, and hydrating oxygen facials with a world-renowned line from QMS. It’s the best way to recover from jet lag and the long flight. Their estheticians and massage therapists are excellent and so friendly. It is best to book an appointment ahead since they have four treatment rooms (including one double room for couples). Their Spa also offers a sauna, steam room and sensation shower.

Boulders Beach. Photography Courtesy of Ellerman House

Exclusive Access:

The Concierge’s is really connected and can get guests reservations at sought-out restaurants, wine tastings at vineyards in the Winelands, outdoor activities, and touring the Cape to see the Penguins at Boulders Beach. Not-to-miss outdoor activities include seal snorkeling, kayaking to Boulders Beach, cycling around the peninsula, hiking Table Mountain or Devil’s Peak. They use Whatsapp to communicate with guests with any needs from in-room dining requests, reservations and or any guest requests.

Photography Courtesy of White Desert

Ellerman House has a partnership with White Desert for adventurous travelers who want to add-on a trip to Antarctica.

Getting Around Cape Town:

Ellerman House is set in a quiet, upscale residential neighborhood called Bantry Bay right off of a winding Kloof Road in Cape Town. It is located just 10 minutes away by car from the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, and it is a 40–45-minute drive from Cape Town International Airport (CPT). Guests can walk to Clifton and Camps Beaches, while the hotel can arrange complimentary transfers to the coastal city center within a 10-minute radius. Guests can also take an Uber (which is $5-$10 USD one-way).

Photography Courtesy of Ellerman House

Uplifting Local Communities and Children with the Click Foundation:

Ellerman House is proudly committed to serving Cape Town’s vulnerable communities. The owners, The Harris family, have established Click Learning; a non-profit education initiative that deploys online literacy and numeracy programs in under-privileged primary schools across the country. Formed in 2012, Click Learning was built on the idea that the correct use of technology can shift the education paradigm in an efficient, cost-effective and scalable manner. Ellerman House has also opened its doors to host the annual charity art auction, ArtAngels, for the benefit of Click Learning. Each year’s event includes a limited auction of fine art pieces, kindly donated by some of South Africa’s most revered artists.


Ellerman House

Email: info@ellerman.co.za

Website: https://www.ellerman.co.za

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