1. Housed in heritage
Situated along a pedestrianised downtown strip between St George’s Mall and Greenmarket Square, this trendy hotel in Cape Town is spread across two restored heritage buildings of different, but complementary, architectural styles: one Art Deco and the other New Edwardian. The stately buildings have been connected since the 1940s, with Cape Town-based architects Urbane Citizen keeping the original façades largely intact. Though both buildings contain guest rooms, the stone-grey Art Deco landmark is where guests enter via colossal floral-trimmed brass doors – manned by friendly doormen – while the white, corner-based New Edwardian counterpart hosts its well-loved public rooftop venue.
2. Industrial-chic interiors
Johannesburg-based Tristan du Plessis is the maestro behind the hotel’s design. Exposed steel piping and raw concrete salute the original buildings’ legacies and are brilliantly combined and contrasted with subdued tones, such as dark olive-coloured chesterfield sofas and black high-end designer lighting seen on the rooftop, alongside contemporary artworks and assorted African curios of decades past. Verdant plants and warm lighting help strike a perfect balance between comfort and cool.
3. Lofty living quarters
The defining design aspects of the public areas flow into the spacious studios and one- to two-bedroom suites. Each room features generously high ceilings, offering additional canvas space for the artworks and textured concrete columns. While amenities such as Marshall Bluetooth speakers and a three-option pillow menu are of the present, the rotary-dial telephones, velvet sofas, classy drinks trolleys by local design firm Dokter and Misses and Victorian-inspired chinaware suggest that room aesthetics are also led by the past.
4. Rooftop respite
Multi-functional hotspot Gigi Rooftop, based on the sixth floor, attracts staying guests and smartly dressed locals in equal measure. Distinct, impeccably designed zones in this self-proclaimed “living room of the neighbourhood” flow into one another: the indoor bookshelf-lined lounge shares space with the cocktail bar and dining area, which then leads to a lush dining and drinking conservatory with plant-filled baskets suspended from the ceiling. The most eye-catching feature is the wooden lounge deck, fronted by a megawatt “Hello Gorgeous” sign and a glass-walled plunge pool.
5. A showcase of local talent
From the architects picked to transform the establishment’s classic buildings to the emerging artists whose framed paintings adorn the public spaces, Gorgeous George is a proud showcase of contemporary South African art and design. This impression is immediately felt in the small but standout reception area, where 1,800 hand-painted ceramic tiles by local artist Lucie de Moyencourt depict a map of Cape Town. Each guestroom also includes a custom “scribbled” hand-painted mural by mixed-media artist and Capetonian David Brits. The combination of these and other creative elements produce a refined yet irreverent aesthetic throughout the property.
This article was originally published in the April 2020 issue of SilverKris magazine