Finishing touches added with finesse at Sea Point icon

by Media Xpose

The Winchester Hotel, with its gracious Cape Dutch-style gables and palm-lined balconies overlooking the Sea Point promenade, has long been a landmark of Cape Town’s Atlantic Seaboard region.

By: Gareth Griffiths
Images: Dook Photography & Gareth Griffiths

Recently, new interior refurbishments and fit outs were completed, including the opening of an in-house spa and a lavish new accommodation suite. Harvey’s Bar and the hotel’s well-known Shoreditch restaurant were also relaunched following a stylish refurbishment.

According to the CEO of Newmark Hotels & Reserves, Neil Markovitz, The Winchester Hotel underwent a R90 million refurbishment in 2021, which coincided with Newmark Hotels & Reserves taking over the management of this characterful property. This refurbishment focused on modernising the hotel and its rooms in line with the needs of the contemporary traveller.

“Now, two years later, the finishing touches have been added to complete The Winchester Hotel’s transformation. During both this and the 2021 refurbishment, much care has been taken to honour the history and nostalgia of this 100-year-old property. We are incredibly pleased with the results”, says Markovitz.

One of the standout features of this grand refurbishment includes the adjoining building, the Arcadia heritage building, a former residence of the existing property owners. Within this annex is the new Sanctuary Spa, which has been fitted out to new standards of design while echoing the heritage of a bygone era.

At the same time, upstairs, a new accommodation suite was added and the space can be used as a standalone facility or split into two separate suites.

The refurbishment and fitout

During development much consideration went into retaining the heritage of this building with its sweeping wooden staircases, art nouveau stained glass windows, pressed ceilings, and vintage tiles.

The Spa boasts a peaceful sanctuary of only three treatment rooms (individual or couple treatment configuration options) that combines classical style with modern wellness treatments.

The Arcadia Suite

The first floor of the heritage building is now home to the luxurious new Arcadia Suite. Two airy ensuite bedrooms open onto a plantation-style balcony furnished with deep wicker armchairs and white linen shade curtains. The suite’s lounge is another pleasant and reposeful space for guests to enjoy, which features couches, bookcases, reading lamps and occasional chairs.

The upstairs suite is breathtaking, combining modern luxury with a nod to the heritage of the building.

Shoreditch Restaurant

According to the designers, Reddeco (www., they embraced a minimalistic approach in which the space is a captivating blend of contemporary design and old-world charm, aiming to offer patrons a unique and luxurious dining experience.

The colour palette is a symphony of rich contrasting tones, creating a visual feast for patrons. Banquette style seating is adorned in sophisticated greys, complementing dining chairs in petrol blue leather and muted brass, setting the stage for an opulent atmosphere.

The leather booths and charcoal-coloured walls are illuminated by oversized parasol-style lampshades in a vibrant coral hue, adding an unexpected twist and cocooning the space.

“We meticulously curated an ambiance that reflects both modern luxury and timeless appeal. Muted brass wall lights playfully reflect on grey stucco walls, elevating the overall aesthetic and infusing a sense of sophistication. The result is a space that seamlessly marries the contemporary with the classic, providing an inviting backdrop for patrons to savour culinary delights,” says a Reddeco press statement.

French doors open onto the balcony overlooking the Atlantic Ocean where the coastal-colonial feel is reinforced by towering palm trees interspersing the tables.

A beautiful marble bar opens from the restaurant onto the Winchester Hotel’s courtyard. This area, with its vivid magenta bougainvillea and monochrome patterned floor tiles, is potentially one of Cape Town’s most Instagrammable dining spaces. A newly introduced buffet area doubles up as a drinks bar. This practical and functional solution not only enhances the overall versatility of the space but also adds a dynamic element to the dining experience, where form meets function.

“In line with global fire cooking trends and South Africa’s ongoing love affair with the braai, the refurbished restaurant’s new menu will continue to enhance the flavour of all of its dishes through the open-flame and coal style cooking that the restaurant is known for.

“Our signature dishes include unique meat cuts, such as our dirty rib-eye steak cooked directly on the coal beds for an intensely smokey taste”, says Shoreditch Restaurant’s owner-operator, Rory Jossel.

Harvey’s, the bar

Meanwhile, Harvey’s Bar at The Winchester Hotel is a place where Capetonians have gathered for decades for sundowners and celebrations. The refurbished venue is now more resplendent than ever, featuring a gleaming Art Deco bar, ochre stools, leather-upholstered booths, green marble terrazzo tables and hand-painted canvas ceiling murals.

Central to the bar’s redesign is the sleek white stone bar adorned with modern bar chairs in rich leather and muted brass. The
combination of elements creates an inviting atmosphere that encourages socializing and relaxation.

Patrons are drawn to a beautifully crafted deep red couch designed by local furniture artisan Thabisa Mjo from Mash.T Design Studio, providing a popular spot for relaxation and indulgence, while overhead are hand-painted canvas ceiling panels. These unique and valuable additions elevate the entire ambiance of the place and facilitate an immersive and visually stunning experience.

According to Nina Janse van Rensburg, interior architect at Reddeco in Pretoria, the firm was briefed to design an understated sophisticated, elegant space that does not compete with the heritage of the hotel.

“We wanted the overall design to respect the heritage of the building, while trying to create a new contemporary yet timeless take on the rich history of the area, fauna and flora of Cape Town. This influenced the colour choices”, she adds.

As designers, Reddeco is an internationally recognized Interior Architecture and Design practice, specialising in commercial, retail and hospitality projects. According to Janse van Rensburg, the firm does “a lot of work locally and internationally”.

All in all, the project demonstrates the importance of building on heritage. It is clear that another grand dame of Cape Town is good to go for another decade.

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