Leafy luxury at the newly revamped Cellars-Hohenort

09 November 2023

— by Clare Van Rensburg —

From the grand old lady to the graceful green goddess, the Cellars-Hohenort Hotel and Spa has been transformed by the new design of her elegant restaurant and public spaces. The five-star boutique hotel, located in the historical Constantia Valley, has unveiled the extensive re-design of The Conservatory Restaurant and Terrace, as well as the Lounge and Bar area.

Lovers of biophilic design will receive a serene and leafy welcome with the many verdant shades of green in the refreshed interior. The refurbishment project heralds a new chapter in the hotel’s illustrious story and promises a stylish ‘city stay’ on the doorstep of the Mother City’s top attractions. The Cellars-Hohenort is situated in the lush Constantia Valley, close to Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens, Table Mountain, and the V&A Waterfront.

The rejuvenated Conservatory Restaurant has adopted a light and airy feel. It is now seamlessly connected to the idyllic terrace and the estate’s award-winning gardens. Diners can enjoy a sophisticated springtime brunch or languid breakfast mimosas in the new-look space. The refreshed á la carte menu features seasonal, fresh produce picked from the estate’s gardens as well as firm favourites, including some of Liz McGrath’s recipes. The opulent bar has become a refined space to enjoy an aperitif, and the refined lounge continues to blend old-world elegance with modern convenience.

Stepping into the Conservatory Restaurant, one is reminded of a luxurious arboretum. This is not surprising, given the design focus adopted by HotCocoa Interiors and Design. The renovation was inspired by the Cellar’s breathtaking gardens and ancient Camphor trees, which date back 300 years, to a time when Cellars-Hohenort was still known as Klaasenbosch Farm.

Massive floor-to-ceiling picture windows bathe the Conservatory Restaurant in natural light and look out onto the camphor grove. The openness gives diners a sense of floating in the leafy tree canopy. The design team took further inspiration from the stump of a 200-year-old oak tree which occupies a small atrium at the centre of the dining area. The remains of this forest giant are softly clothed with mosses, lichens, and climbing vines and surrounded by the glossy, scalloped leaves of a bed of Monstera deliciosa. Huge picture windows offer views of this giant terrarium.

The intricate leafy mural on the Conservatory’s ceiling pays homage to historical owner, Liz McGrath. Her love of nature was legendary, and the detailing offers a touch of whimsy and theatre. An abundance of lush greenery creates the impression of an indoor oasis, with over 100 potted plants and trees offering soft textures.

Accent walls in The Conservatory Restaurant continue the glasshouse theme, with verdant green stucco layered against upholstery, in eye-catching shades of forest green and emerald. Modern tables with marble tops and simple settings add to the sense of understated elegance. A rich layering of eclectic patterns elevates the soft furnishings. The colourful Passionflower patterned banquet seating is a personal favourite. This layering is again underpinned with a mixture of charcoal and white patterned and geometric tiles. The dining area flows out onto a comfortable terrace space. The newly constructed pergola will be clothed in climbing jasmine in years to come. It will provide a refreshing space for relaxed alfresco dining and an ideal venue to sample the impeccable selection of wines from Constantia Valley.

The foliage theme continues into the lounge where sumptuous seating is swathed in jungle-inspired fabric. The connection to nature is further enhanced with large potted palms and ornate, bronze, oak leaf light fittings. The clever use of arched mirrors ensures that natural light fills the space.

As one of only three South African “Small Luxury Hotels of the World,” the Cellars-Hohenort offers guests a true experience beyond expectation. This five-star hotel features 51 elegant guest rooms and suites, each decorated to reflect the property’s rich heritage. All rooms boast breathtaking views of the hotel’s extraordinary gardens, while accommodation options include a 2-bedroom villa and the exclusive, 3-bedroom Madiba Villa.

Viewing the magnificent transformation of the interior spaces, one has a sense that this renovation has truly enhanced the classic heart of this historic hotel. The new-look interior honours the Cellar’s cherished past, while embracing new possibilities and a new sense of place.




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