Mount Nelson Hotel: Our full report
The Mount Nelson Hotel – or 'Nellie', as locals call it – is a real institution.It is Cape Town's oldest and most famous hotel; a place to be seen. Set in the heart of Cape Town's cultural centre, it is close to the lively Victoria & Alfred Waterfront and some of the city's stunning beaches.
The Mount Nelson Hotel boasts 201 spacious rooms & suites, located in four individual accommodation wings separated from the Main Hotel's wings. Accommodation options range from Superior and Luxury rooms, over Junior, Executive and Deluxe suites, to Luxury and Penthouse suites. Beside this, the hotel has two Disabled rooms, to accommodate guests with special needs.
Each of the 144 bedrooms and 57 suites are individually decorated, and furnished with twin or king-size beds, writing desks, and seating facilities. They all have air conditioning, digital safes, clock radios, satellite TV, internet access, direct-dial telephone, and well-equipped en-suite bathrooms.
The Mount Nelson's main facilities include two restaurants, and a stylish champagne & cocktail bar. The Librisa Spa, with eight treatment rooms, a sauna and steam bath, offers a variety of treatments, such as hot river stone massages, anti-ageing facials, manicures, and pedicures, and the hair salon, which also offers Destress and After Sun treatments.
There are two heated swimming pools, set in neatly landscaped gardens against the dramatic backdrop of Table Mountain. The Oasis Pool is reportedly one of the largest pools in South Africa), and the Cottage Pool is reserved for guests older than 12.
For those keen on sports, there are two flood-lit tennis courts, where tournaments are held for guests during high season, an on-site golf practice net, and a well-equipped fitness suite. Professional trainers and coaches are available on request).
Whilst staying at Mount Nelson Hotel, there's a variety of activities to do. Located at the foot of Table Mountain, in the centre of Cape Town, the hotel is a perfect base from which to explore the area. After practising golf at the hotel, you may want to try one of the seven world-class golf courses located close to the hotel, or stroll along V & A Waterfront.
Cape Town has a lot of entertainment and natural attractions to offer: visit Cape Point, take a boat trip to Robben Island, watch the penguins at Boulders Beach, taste the regions award-winning wines on a wine tour, or experience local art works at museums and art galleries – you will never run out of things to do.
If you like stylish grandeur and old-world charm, then the Mount Nelson Hotel will suit you perfectly. Large rooms, elegant dining, and the best address in town – though you can always stay elsewhere and drop in for the best high tea in Cape Town!
South Africa expert
- Cape Town, South Africa
- Ideal length of stay
- 3 - 4 nights
- Accessible by
- Self-drive or Fly-and-Transfer
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Bed & Breakfast
- Food quality
- Mount Nelson Hotel has two restaurants:
At the Oasis Restaurant, Continental or full English breakfasts are served daily from 7h00 to11h00. Breakfast includes fresh fruits and juices, homemade muesli, breads and pastries, as well as hot dishes. The restaurant also serves lunches from 12h30 to 15h00, including a variety of sandwiches, pizza, pasta, and classic light meals. During high season, lunch is served as a buffet, whereas you get to choose from an a la carte menu during low season.
The Cape Colony Restaurant serves a combination of classical and contemporary cuisine, inspired by Eastern Europe, Asian and Africa. Every dish displays the Cape's seasonal products and guest get to choose from a variety of award-winning local wines. It is open for dinner every day from 18h30 to 22h30. Once a month, the restaurant features an evening of live music and classic cuisine, whilst winemakers present the area's best wines.
In addition, the Planet Champagne & Cocktail Bar serves a vast variety of the finest champagnes, wines and cocktails, in combination with canapés and light meals. You can enjoy a refreshing drink on the terrace in summer, whilst warming up in front of the fireplace in winter. The bar is open daily from 17h00 until late (on Fridays from 15h00 until late).
For Mount Nelson guests, it's possible to enjoy a four-course dinner at the 'Chef's Table' in the heart of the kitchen, including sparkling wine at the Planet Bar after dinner.
Mount Nelson Hotel is famous for its Afternoon Tea, served daily in the lounge area, the garden and around the Lord Kitchener Fountain, from 14h30 to17h30. It includes all kinds of delicacies, such as smoked salmon, local Malay specialities, petit fours, a selection of cakes, as well as more than 30 fine loose leaf teas. In the mornings, a lighter version is served from 9h30 to 12h30.
- Family holidays
- The Mount Nelson has a vast array of family friendly facilities and activities, but it is the large swimming pool and extensive, beautiful grounds that make it stand out for us as one of the best family hotels in Cape Town.
- See ideas for Family holidays
- Timelessly elegant with English colonial décor, Mount Nelson Hotel is perhaps South Africa’s top hotel and offer classic luxury in a tranquil setting. The hotel’s soft pink exterior, heated swimming pools and indulgent afternoon teas highlight the hotel’s attention to detail.
- See ideas for Luxury
- Attitude towards children
- Children are welcome at Mount Nelson Hotel.
- Property’s age restrictions
- There are no age restrictions.
- Special activities & services
- Mount Nelson Hotel offers a variety of family friendly facilities and services, starting with welcome gifts and welcome letters for its little guests. Kids have access to the hotels toy-box, the restaurant offers a special children's menu, the Signature Boutique sells trendy children's gear, and during high season (November to February) a lifeguard is on duty at the Oasis swimming pool. Beside this, Mount Nelson has an annual Festive Season Holiday Programme (December to January), including cricket matches, swimming, and treasure hunts.
Upon request, hot milk for babies, bedtime cookies, book and games, colouring-in books and crayons, child and baby-friendly toiletries, child-size bathrobes and slippers, and baby monitoring kits are available at no extra charge.
Babysitting can be arranged within a 24 hours notice. The hotel will contact Childminders, a company which aims to match the perfect babysitter to every child, and also caters for international languages. The babysitters get paid at an hourly rate, and a minimum of three hours is required.
In addition, Mount Nelson's guest service team will gladly assist you to arrange child-friendly excursions and activities, such as trips to the Penguin colony at Boulders Beach, boat trips to Seal Island, or children's parties and swimming lessons.
- Baby cots and extra beds with specially fitted linen are available (additional charge). The hotel also has highchairs and children's furniture.
- Generally recommended for children
- Mount Nelson is Cape Town's leading family resort hotel.
- Each room has a direct-dial telephone with voicemail, as well as high speed internet access. There's a wireless internet connection throughout the hotel (extra charge for internet usage).
- TV & radio
- There's a clock radio, as well as satellite television and a DVD player in every room.
A Journey of Responsible Culinary Discovery
With a history of 130 years, Belmond Nelson Hotel was home to some of the most famous people, from John Lennon to Winston Churchill who named it a ‘most excellent establishment’. Food and wine culture stands at the heart of the hotel, which is sustainably used to strengthen the relationship between tourists and local communities.
For the past four year, the hotel has been an active supporter of Abalimi Bezekhaya’s Harvest of Hope programme which connects local farmers to customers, and even dedicated it a dish on the hotel menu – the Abalimi Bezekhaya Beetroot and Kale salad.All four on-site restaurants therefore offer a superior dining experience through the use of locally sourced organic ingredients. This way, guests can enjoy dishes from menus that change daily according to the seasonal ingredients available at the small farms nearby. To create an authentic meal experience, visitors are welcomed to meet with the chefs in the heart of the original hotel kitchen and learn all about the provenance of the food. Furthermore, the Belmond Nelson contributes to supporting the local community by arranging visits for guests to local vineyards and offering tours to a township farm which finishes off with a visit to Mama Kaba’s organic vegetable garden.
Apart from hearing Mama Kaba’s story of transforming one small farm into one of the most successful gardening initiatives in the country, visitors get the opportunity to pluck vegetables and bring them back to the hotel’s chefs to be transformed into an authentic farm-to-fork salad.
See more great sustainability projects in South Africa
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- Mount Nelson offers 24 hour medical support.
- Dangerous animals
- Low Risk
- Security measures
- Each room at Mount Nelson Hotel has a digital safe for personal belongings.
- Fire safety
Hot air ballooning
- Disabled access
- In Place
- Laundry facilities
- Full Laundry Service - Extra Charge
Other lodges in Cape Town
Alternative places to stay in this same area.