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    Mar 2014 · James Bainbridge

    With blue heritage plaques flanking its front door, this grand mansion on the slopes of Table Mountain has a long...

    With blue heritage plaques flanking its front door, this grand mansion on the slopes of Table Mountain has a long and refined history. The swashbuckling Scottish-Dutch commander and explorer Robert Jacob Gordon lived here from the 1770s, when the manor house was named Schoonderzigt (‘clear view’) for its sweeping views of Cape Town. The exotic floral specimens Gordon exported from his garden to Europe are remembered in the hotel’s address, Flower Street; the property’s current name is a reference to its street number and the trio of peaks visible from the roof terrace, Table Mountain, Lion’s Head and Devil’s Peak.
    Having changed hands between the great and the good of colonial society, the house was eventually converted to a Spanish villa before falling derelict. In 2010, owners Justin and Natalia scraped off the ill-advised scalloped plasterwork, opened up the front to take advantage of the views, and created a modern 15-room guesthouse. The pillared two-storey veranda, with its black-and-white tiled walkways and wrought-iron furniture outside the rooms, forms a light and breezy facade.

    One criticism is that, given the backstory of both this residence and the city that experienced colonialism, slavery, apartheid and the advent of democracy, more could be done to emphasize the sense of history. There is the odd exposed stone wall, antique dresser and curly banister, but the overall feel is contemporary. This is especially true of the modish black- and white-themed rooms, although the complimentary decanter of sherry helps to offset these qualms. Amenities include DSTV, air-conditioning, hairdryer, safe, and en-suite bathroom with satisfyingly large shower head.

    On the ground floor are secure parking and a pool, overlooked by a fat clump of palms, and an honesty bar stocked with Cape wines. A larger lounge area to enjoy the local reds would be welcome, for when the city’s notorious southeaster makes sitting outside unpleasant. Help with tours and activities is available, as is a computer for guest use, and the long breakfast menu extends to a banana smoothie with a shot of espresso. Wi-Fi blankets the property, although it was temperamental when we visited. This is a residential area, with only a few restaurants within walking distance, but many more a short drive away.

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