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Wills and Kate are conquering Canada and the States – if we were noble newlyweds we’d be South Africa-bound, honeymooning in colourful Cape Town, animal-watching on safari and sampling the fruits of the winelands. In this lust for sunshine, big game and glamour, our hotel of the week spotlight falls upon Rodwell House, a poised 1930s mansion fit for a future king and queen.

Style Fine art, fine food, fine wine
Setting Boho St James fishing village

Why this week? The hotel is currently feeling generous, and is offering lucky Smith members a boutique hotel deal: 20 per cent off their stay…

Our favourite bits? In no particular order, we heart: the parquet floor, marble columns, clipped lawn, 20th-century art, huge wine cellar and the two passionate hosts, who will do their utmost to give you ‘whatever you want’. Electric Orange, the dining room, is a pumpkin-coloured, teak-floored corker hung with stunning canvases. Food is fresh, flavoursome, and cooked with finesse. In terms of sleeping quarters, our current favourites are the romantic Rodwell Suite for its sea-view balcony and antique leather recliners, or Kalk Bay for its open-plan bathroom, entered through an arched wooden door. Smaller, quieter Mountain is very pretty and sunlit in the afternoon. Finally, we love the fact that there’s plenty here for the active – gardens, courtyard, gym, library, wine cellar, boules pitch – along with a gorgeous pool that encourages you to do, well, absolutely nothing.

Mr & Mrs Smith say ‘St James is unlike parts of Cape Town we’ve stayed in before, and it feels like a sleepy, upscale residential neighbourhood in Europe. It’s especially incongruous here in this African enclave to discover at the end of a cul de sac, a respectable hotel. Occupying a prime position on the peninsular coast. 500km in the car melt away as we’re met warmly by Chris the manager, and made to feel instantly relaxed. The decor of Rodwell House is more traditional than many of the self-conscious boutique hotels on the circuit, with an array of 20th-century masterpieces around every corner. Stone statues, African carvings, and modern impressionist South African oil paintings are some of the owner, Robin’s valuable collection…’

Read our full anonymous review of Rodwell House, South Africa.

You say ‘We’d really recommend getting chef to make up a picnic, asking Ren or Robin to pick out a bottle of wine, and then heading to Kirstenbosch National Park for a romantic picnic at the base of Table Mountain. It’s also worth asking Robin to organise a tour of nearby Constantia and Cape Point vineyards and meeting the wine-makers. We spent a morning at Groot Constantia learning about the terroir and techniques used and found it fascinating. The wines we sampled were excellent as well and I’d recommend this as the best place to buy your pinotage.’

(Rohini, BlackSmith, stayed on 8 Oct 2010)

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