Found in the heart of Sea Point in Cape Town, Ellerman House has been a landmark in the city since it was built in 1906. The pinnacle of Edwardian architecture, it combines elegant luxury with feelings of home for a Cape Town getaway that is truly unforgettable.
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Located a stone’s throw from the city centre, right where the edges of the Atlantic Ocean meet the slopes of the Lion’s Head near Bantry Bay, Ellerman House boasts breathtaking views of Sea Point and Camps Bay.
But it wasn’t just the views that attracted us to Ellerman House. The house itself offers plenty to do, including a stunning original South African Art collection, gin and wine experiences, a swimming pool, a tranquil Ellerman House spa, and an on-site restaurant.
Our weekend at Ellerman House was a quintessential urban retreat and a stay to remember!
History of Ellerman House
Built in 1906, Ellerman House was originally named Florida House. For almost 100 years, it served as a private residence that stood quietly on the slopes of Bantry Bay overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Over the years, the house saw numerous owners, the most prominent of which was Sir John Ellerman, after whom the house was renamed.
Ellerman was the longest-standing owner of the house, second only to the Harris’ who currently own the property.
It was the current owners who gave the property its final transformation, converting it into the enchanting property and opening it as a luxury hotel in 1992. Despite the changes, the Harris family paid homage to the house’s origins, retaining many of the original features and historical elements of the house.
Since Ellerman first took hold of the property, its core focus of Ellerman House has been on traditional South African hospitality and culture.
Unique cuisine and fine wine are the icings on the cake, and the principles first poured into the property are ones that remain today. Ellerman House might constantly be evolving, but some things will never change.
The hotel is home to thirteen individually styled rooms and two ultra modern villas complete with a private pool, dining area, and a private chef for complete exclusivity.
We spent our weekend at Ellerman House in the Deluxe House Room, which featured a private terrace with spectacular Atlantic Ocean views.
The breathtaking ocean views were the highlight of our stay. We loved having breakfast on the terrace just as much as sunset drinks to cap off the day. The views of indigenous terraced gardens and waves crashing into the ocean cove below offered a sense of tranquil seclusion. The French doors that led out to the private space let plenty of light flood into the room, and the understated decor only added to the ambience.
The room itself featured a comfortable king-size bed in addition to a sitting area, coffee and tea-making facilities, a complimentary minibar, free wifi, air conditioning, and a luxurious en-suite bathroom.
Other Rooms in the Hotel
The hotel offers four other room styles.
Classic House Room
Classic House Rooms don’t offer ocean views or a private terrace, but it does provide a comfortable space for sleep and relaxation, as well as gorgeous decor.
Superior House Room
Superior House Rooms don’t have a terrace, but it does have expansive ocean views that will take your breath away. The decor is incredibly homey without losing that luxurious feeling, and the fireplace is a stunning addition to the interior design.
Deluxe Spa Room
Deluxe Spa Rooms are tucked away in the tranquil oasis of the world-class Ellerman Spa surrounded by indigenous gardens and tropical plants. The two rooms offer all the same amenities as the rooms in the main house but come with an additional perk of their own gorgeous swimming pool and a private sun deck – ideal for couples travelling together.
Ellerman House Suite
Ellerman House Suites are the definition of exclusive luxury and are certainly the most impressive rooms at the hotel. The suits boast 1100 square feet of space and feature prized examples of South African art from the owner’s extensive collection.
Amenities & Facilities
The amenities found in the rooms at Ellerman House are what you would expect from a luxury boutique hotel, but the on-site facilities and activities far exceeded our expectations.
The Ellerman House art collection is a unique feature of the property boasting the best South African art on display in its dedicated gallery. It’s free to visit (although bookings must be made in advance) and is a must-do for any art lover.
The on-site library is a lovely getaway when you need some time to yourself with a good book. The Collection provides the opportunity to buy beautiful handmade gifts that reflect South African traditions.
The Pool & Gardens
The heated lap pool is great for a bit of relaxation, and the gardens with views of the Atlantic Ocean offer the perfect place to laze around during the day.
Spa & Fitness Centre
The spa is run by a small but highly experienced team of therapists offering a menu of skin care therapy and body treatments. The space is complete with a sauna and steam room.
The Pantry, a small room tucked away in the heart of the house, was one of the most fun details of the hotel. Offering fresh sweet, and savoury snacks right from the kitchen the room is where you’ll find complimentary snacks – perfect for when you’re feeling peckish.
The Ellerman House wine gallery and cellar house an impressive collection of 9,000 bottles, including several South African vintage wines.
Food & Drink Experiences
Food and drink are integral parts of the Ellerman House experience, and the hotel restaurant is regarded as one of the best in Cape Town. The contemporary South African cuisine was exquisite, and we loved every dish we sampled. The dining room is tucked away inside the house for that intimate home dining feel.
Breakfast at Ellerman House is included for all guests, and we were excited to try the renowned Eggs Benedict alongside traditional continental treats. The eggs were absolutely flawless; the yolk was perfect and runny – just the way we like them.
The warm pastries were served alongside a selection of seasonal fruits – all of which were fresh and juicy, leaving them packed with flavour.
Dinner featured modern cuisine and was served a la carte. We opted to dine in house on one of the nights and were not disappointed. The food was excellent! The current head chef Kieran Whyte has clearly put his heart and soul into each of the unique dishes he created.
The complimentary wine tasting was another highlight of our stay at Ellerman House in Cape Town. The experience is offered every day but must be booked in advance. Led by an expert sommelier, our tasting featured a blind wine-tasting experience that was custom designed to expand our wine taste and introduce us to some new South Africa wines.
The Inverroche Gin Academy at Ellerman House is a truly immersive way to spend your time during your stay at the hotel. The gin experience is free but needs to be booked in advance.
For many guests, the best part of the experience is an opportunity to make their own gin and take it home with us in a unique bottle. We didn’t get a chance to try the process firsthand, but enjoyed sunset gin sampling on the Ellerman House terrace instead.
Sustainability at Ellerman House
As with every stay on our travels, we always choose properties that focus on sustainable operations, and Ellerman House was no exception. In 2016, Ellerman House announced its “Going Green” initiatives in a bid to help prevent irreversible damage to the environment. In an attempt to reduce its carbon footprint, the hotel has made several impressive changes to its operations.
The first of these is the installation and use of solar panels to produce renewable energy and offset the reliance on the already strained South Africa electricity grid.
The heat pumps that fuel the underfloor heating system ensure less energy consumption, the improved recycling system prevents excessive waste, and the water capture systems are now used to irrigate the estate.
The hotel has also implemented the use of earthworm farms on the property. All of the kitchen and garden trimmings are fed to the farm so that they can be broken down naturally. This process turns the materials into compost which is then used in the hotel gardens.
The Bottom Line
We loved our stay at Ellerman House! The hotel’s beautiful Cape Town location and spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean are what brings many guests to this property, but it’s the Ellerman House team and their heartfelt hospitality, along with unique wine, gin, art and food experiences, that entice so many to come back for more.
Disclaimer: Our stay at Ellerman House in Cape Town was provided complimentary but, as always, all opinions expressed in this article are our own.