The Belmond Mount Nelson is a window back to South Africa’s colonial era, but only its finer aspects. A statue of Mahatma Gandhi presides over the entrance. A lavish, quintessentially English high tea spread is served each afternoon. And the oh-so-proper service might inspire guests to curtsy (but please, don’t feel obliged). The imposing pillars at the gate conceal acres of rolling lawns and tennis courts befitting a landmark as fêted as the Pink Lady, as the rose-tinted grande dame is fondly known. Dating back to 1889, the Nellie has been a fixture on the Cape Town hospitality scene ever since, and it continues to be a sought-after setting for society events, from weddings held on its manicured grounds to cocktails at the plush Planet Bar.
Many of the 198 elegant rooms have recently been redone while keeping their character intact: rooms have marble bathrooms, and many are laden with antiques and chintz fabrics.