Rothman Manor: Our full report
Situated in the in the heart of the Overberg town of Swellendam, Rothman Manor offers modern accommodation ...... in a traditional Cape Dutch house, set within 3.5 hectares of lush park-like gardens, with resident springbok and zebra.
Rothman Manor was originally built in 1834 and is split into three thatch-roofed buildings: two of the original buildings and a later addition. German owners Andreas and Franziska Göbel have stamped their personal quirky mark on the property, with paintings by Franziska displayed throughout.
One of the original buildings houses the lounge and dining room. The other two each have three of Rothman Manor’s six individually decorated rooms.
In addition to one ‘cosy’ single bedroom there are two standard rooms, two larger ‘luxury’ rooms and one very spacious loft suite, with a separate lounge area and a small kitchen. This room takes up the whole loft area of the newer building.
All the rooms are individually decorated in a quirky, very contemporary style, with bright colours and modern furniture, which blends very well with the original buildings and their traditional features. Each room has air conditioning (with heating function), a satellite TV, personal safe, iPod docking station, direct-dial telephone, tea/coffee-making facilities and a stocked minibar. The en-suite bathrooms have underfloor heating and are equipped with heated towels rails, bathrobes, hairdryers and complimentary toiletries.
On a recent visit in May 2014 I was allocated a very spacious ‘luxury’ room, with wooden floors and bright paintings by Franziska on the walls. The bedroom was very spacious with a double bed, white and pink bedcovers and cushions, and pale blue walls. A separate lounge with a white leather sofa and chair and a cowskin rug on the floor had two sets of french doors, one leading onto a patio with garden furniture overlooking the garden, and another to the side with access to the path leading to the main building. In the en-suite bathroom, with a corner bath, separate shower, twin basins and a toilet, the black-and-white checked floor tiles were echoed by the tiles around the vanity unit. Soft white fluffy towels and toiletries are provided.
Inside the main building, the lounge at Rothman Manor has original pieces of yellow-wood furniture mixed with modern white leather sofas and armchairs around a stone fireplace. Some of the walls are painted green, accentuated by splashes of green on the cushions. The stone floor is topped with a large coir mat, and African artefacts are dotted around.
French doors open from the lounge on to a paved patio area around a large oak tree. Breakfast is sometimes served here, and it looked as though it could be a really nice spot to relax with a book on a sunny day, but as it had been raining during our stay, we ate indoors.
The small breakfast room, off the lounge, is decorated in white and orange and has individual tables. At breakfast time, guests help themselves from a buffet laid out on the yellow-wood sideboard and dresser in the lounge.
The park-like gardens at Rothman Manor are a highlight. Within the rolling grounds are a salt-water swimming pool with sunloungers, a large lily pond stocked with koi, a small dam and an elevated outdoor Jacuzzi and sundeck overlooking the adjoining reserve. The reserve itself is stocked with zebra, ostrich and springbok, and the birdlife here is great, too.
Swellendam is the second oldest town in South Africa after Stellenbosch and has a lot to offer visitors, so a stay at Rothman Manor is worth more than just one night. Visit the Drostdy Museum, the nearby Bontebok National Park, with some lovely walking trails, and Marloth Nature Reserve with waterfalls in an indigenous forest. Further afield are De Hoop Nature Reserve and Cape Agulhas, the most southerly tip of Africa.
Rothman Manor is a contemporary guesthouse in a traditional manor-house – a pleasant surprise! The gardens are a real treat to explore. For comfortable upmarket accommodation in Swellendam, it is a good place to stay.
South Africa expert
- Swellendam, South Africa
- Ideal length of stay
- 2 nights, or possibly more, to explore everything that Swellendam has to offer.
- Rothman Manor is on Swellendam’s main Voortrek Street, at no 268, and is easy to find once you are in Swellendam.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Bed & Breakfast
- Food quality
- Rothman Manor serves breakfast daily between 08.00 and 09.30am. There is a large buffet with a selection or cold meats, cheeses, different flavoured yoghurts, fresh fruit and fruit juice, cereals, fresh bread and rolls, and a selection of pastries and muffins. A cooked breakfast of your choice is also available.
Lunch and dinner are not served but there are many restaurants to choose from in the area, with a pizza restaurant right next door.
- Dining style
- Individual Tables
- Dining locations
- Indoor and Outdoor Dining
- Further dining info, including room service
- Room service is not available
- Drinks included
- Drinks are not included in the rate. Stocked minibars are available in each room with soft drinks at R12, spirits R25–30 and bottles of wine at R120–150. Crisps and nuts are also available in the rooms at R10 each. The rate of exchange at the time of writing was R17 to the UK pound.
- Attitude towards children
- Children of all ages are welcome at Rothman Manor.
- Property’s age restrictions
- There is no age restriction.
- Special activities & services
- There are no childminders on site but Rothman Manor can arrange this on request.
- Cots and highchairs are available and extra beds can be placed in the ‘luxury’ rooms as well as the loft suite.
- Generally recommended for children
- Although Rothman Manor accepts children of all ages we suggest it is more suitable for children over five years old.
- Children will need supervision around the pool and ponds as well as in the rolling grounds towards the reserve.
- Free internet access is available and the rooms are all equipped with telephones. There is good cellphone reception too.
- TV & radio
- Each room has a satellite TV.
- Water supply
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- There are doctors as well as a hospital in Swellendam.
Quadbike warning: quad-biking is sometimes available as an activity in this area. As with any potentially dangerous activity, it’s vital that you take responsibility for ensuring that you have adequate travel insurance prior to getting involved. Be aware that some insurances cover quad-bike activities only for bikes with lower engine ratings: check such clauses particularly carefully before you get on a bike.
- Dangerous animals
- Low Risk
- Security measures
- There are security gates and guests are given a key to let themselves in after hours.
- Fire safety
- There are fire extinguishers at every room as well as in the main areas.
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- A full laundry service is available at an extra charge. Prices range from R10 to R30 per item (approx 50 pence to less than £2)
- All rooms are fitted with electronic safes. No currency exchange is possible but there are many banks and ATMs in Swellendam.
- Accepted payment on location
- Amex, MasterCard and Visa credit cards are accepted as well as cash payments in South African rand.
Other lodges in Swellendam
Alternative places to stay in this same area.
Schoone Oordt C. House
Schoone Oordt is a warm and friendly guesthouse in Swellendam and makes a good, relaxing halfway stop between Cape Town and the Garden Route.
Bontebok National Park
Part of the Cape Floral Kingdom protected area, Bontebok is South Africa's smallest National Park and home to around 200 bontebok as well as many other bird and mammal species.
The Hideaway Guest House is a delightful little owner-run guesthouse in the historic town of Swellendam.