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“Wonderful gardens and quiet location” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of The Cellars-Hohenort

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The Cellars-Hohenort
Ranked #5 of 6 Hotels in Constantia
Certificate of Excellence
Zurich, Switzerland
Level Contributor
388 reviews
119 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 282 helpful votes
“Wonderful gardens and quiet location”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 31 December 2012

Location:
The Cellars is located in Constantia. It takes about 20 minutes to drive to Cape Town centre. The hotel is situated in a very nice and quiet neighbourhood, surrounded by nice gardens and even a small vineyard. There are great views of the Table Mountain from most parts of the hotel. There are 2 pools with lots of shade as well as a tennis court in the gardens.

Hotel in general:
The hotel consists of various buildings. The reception is very small with no space – when I arrived it was very crowded due to some people on departure. I ended up waiting without having a seat.
There is a bar and 2 restaurants. The whole hotel is nicely decorated in a classic style.

Rooms:
The rooms are very nice – they have some rooms in classic style and some in modern decoration. My room was in the classic style and I liked the decoration. The living room was relatively small but with nice furniture. The bedroom was large and had nice views on the Table Mountain. The bathroom was on the smaller side. The furniture and appliances are a bit outdated, e.g. the safe deposit box did not work properly. But overall the rooms are nice and I would rate them on a good Relais&Chateaux standard.

Food:
They have 2 restaurants: the Observatory where breakfast is served and where you can also have lunch and dinner and the Green House, the fine dining restaurant. The food and the service at the Observatory do not meet the standards of a Relais&Chateaux, but the Green House is excellent. For a full review see my separate reviews on both restaurants.

Service:
This is for me the weak point at the Cellars, I personally find the service is not on Relais&Chateaux standard.
The staff at front desk is not very friendly and helpful, in addition I had to wait several times long to be served. However Deanne, the tour guide, was not only very friendly and charming, she also helped out some time I had an issue with front desk which was very much appreciated.
The service in the Observatory restaurant is also not very good: when you order tea or coffee, you won’t get sugar and milk, when you order sandwiches you won’t get napkins etc. – all little things that make the difference. Don’t get me wrong, the staff in the restaurant are mostly friendly but given the fact this is a R&C I would definitely expect more professional service. I must say I personally believe that management should be more present to avoid such issues with the service.

Overall I had a nice time, but most probably would not return – I stayed some time ago at the sister property in Plettenberg and there I was much more impressed and the stay was really a memorable one. I hope the Cellars can improve on the service as it could really be such a lovely place!

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank TandTSwitzerland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
JoMassie, General Manager at The Cellars-Hohenort, responded to this review, 10 January 2013
Thank you for your comments, as well as for bringing to my attention the lack of service in certain areas of the hotel. We strive for service excellence and therefore appreciate feedback such as yours. We hope to be able to welcome you back in the future.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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381 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (62)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
57 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 31 December 2012

We had our Christmas lunch in The Conservatory restaurant which is part of this lovely hotel.

Our table was in a super position in a corner so we didn't have people going past us all the time and we had a lovely view over the gardens. It was a set menu with a Christmas theme and all the food was excellent and very well presented.

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Patrickthehunter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
JoMassie, General Manager at The Cellars-Hohenort, responded to this review, 10 January 2013
Thank you for taking the time to post your review. I was so pleased to hear you enjoyed your Christmas Lunch with us. We look forward to welcoming you back to The Conservatory in the New Year.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London UK
Level Contributor
88 reviews
50 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 109 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 December 2012

The last few years have been difficult for hoteliers in South africa and The Cellars has proved no exception to this rule. In order to increase booking they have dropped their no children below 12 year rule and allowed families to take advantage of this wonderful hotel. This may be a dangerous decision as the hotel tries to come to terms with the change in atmosphere which may alienate some clients who come here for rest and relaxation.

Many of the hotels clients have been coming back for many years and when you arrive you are greeted by front desk staff who know your name. The hotel even keeps a dossier on every clients likes and dislikes, so that when you return they know if you like your breakfast delivered to your room at exactly 7.30 in the morning or whether you like your orange juice freshly squeezed. Returning to this hotel is like your favourite piece of clothing. It fits you perfectly and you fell extremely comfortable and relaxed in it. If you borrow a video to watch in your room, you will get a knock on your door and a waiter offering you a bowl of popcorn to make the experience pleasurable.

The Cellars is part of a group of 3 hotels privately owned by Liz McGrath, the other two being The Plettenburg and The Marine at Hermanus. It is situated 20 minutes drive outside of hustle and bustle of Cape Town, but not too far to go to visit some of the muliplicity of fine restaurants that Cape Town has to offer.

The hotel rooms are divided into three areas. The main building which houses the Conservatory restaurant, the Hoenhort which is a 300 year old Cape Dutch house which houses the Greenhouse restaurant and a seperate section of ultra modern duplex suites.

The gardens are beautiful and if you stay you should take a walk around and marvel at the profusion of trees, roses and hydrangeas and are tended lovingly by an elegant English lady and her team of gardeners. There are also a family of resident white ducks that roam freely and will come up to your table at breakfast to scrounge some morsels of bread which they will devour.

There is one tennis court and a professional coach can be booked by the hour. There is also a spa and not one but two swimming pools. The hotel is trying to keep one for children which will allow the adults to relax in peace and quiet under the shade of the trees of the other, but this is proving difficult to enforce.

The rooms are varied from ultra modern suites to traditional with antique furniture. Our room in The Hoenhort building had amazing views of the mountains and it was a pleasure to throw back the curtains in the morning and take in the breath-taking scenery. Unfortunately, the hotel has limited budgets and have not updated the bathrooms. These have been left in the 1960's with single pillar taps, a bath that had been repainted but the had chips in the paint, cheap tiles with not a hint of marble or granite and a cheap shower that would grace a council house. Not the standard one would expect from a Relais & Chateau establishment. Even the plug sockets are round pin 15 amp, something that went out electrically 40 years ago. None the less they are extremely comfortable and the staff service the room and change the towels twice a day.

This leads me on to the staff. They are all extremely pleasant and helpful, but because the middle management of the hotel is new, their standards have suffered. Nuts and olives which normally came with drinks efficiently take 10 more minutes after you have had your drinks. Toast at breakfast took forever to arrive. Some friends who were eating in the Conservatory restaurant walked out because they could not get the service they expected.

All in all a fantastic 5 star hotel, that prides itself in looking after your every need, but if they are to retain their clients they need to wake up, get their staff trained to perfection and update some of the amenities.

Room Tip: Decide whether you want traditinal or modern rooms. Don't be afraid to go out for dinner.
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank ExplorerLondonUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
JoMassie, General Manager at The Cellars-Hohenort, responded to this review, 10 January 2013
Thank you for your review. We appreciate all your comments. I would like to assure you that they are all being addressed and we will continue to strive for service excellence in 2013.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tel Aviv, Israel
Level Contributor
123 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 December 2012

My husband and I have been coming to this hotel on and off for many years now and we love the hotel for it's personal service and attention to detail. I will deal with the good things first. The rooms are all quite different. There are so beautiful 'Philip Starke' style suites which are terraced and located in the gardens. These are ultra-modern with their own little kitchenette but they have no views to speak of. There is the main building which houses the reception area, lounge, bar and one of the restaurants. Breakfast can be eaten here either outside on the pretty terrace or in the dining room. There is an excellent choice on the breakfast menu - cereals and fruit are buffet style but eggs, bacon etc are all cooked to order. The second building houses our favourite rooms which overlook the gardens and the pool and have a beautiful view over the surrounding area. Our room has a large balcony complete with sunbeds and a small table and chairs. The decor here is very English Country House. We have stayed in one of the smaller rooms on the second floor and although not very large, it was exquisitely pretty with toile de jour wallpaper and which bedspread and furniture. You could lie in the bath and look out at the lovely scenery.

This is a privately owned establishment and the owner, Mrs. McGrath, has devoted a huge amount of time and effort to make sure that the gardens are one of the most stunning features of this hotel. They are extensive and benefit from a lovely walkway which takes guests down into a little forested area and then up through the most beautiful rose gardens. The main building has the most wonderful scent of jasmine as you walk in our out of reception as there is a jasmine hedge just outside the door.

The staff are what makes this place so special. Janet, Michelle and Chantelle have all been here serving us breakfast since we first came many years ago. They are like family now and I even get presented with my own bottle of maple syrup each morning which they obtain specially. I was particularly impressed by a new receptionist this year called Liesle who seemed to have endless patience in arranging some restaurant bookings for me. She was quite delightful and always willing to help no matter how many calls it took to arrange things. All the staff bend over backwards to make your stay wonderful and the smallest problems seem to be dealt with very efficiently and they really CARE.

There is an award-winning restaurant called The Greenhouse. Sadly we have not eaten there as it is fine-dining and we both like a more casual atmosphere. I am told that it is excellent and having read many journals and books on the restaurants in Cape Town, this one seems to be mentioned as one of the top places to eat.

There is a spa here and also a tennis court. A tennis pro can be arranged by appointment.
There are two swimming pools - the larger one is located at the back of the Hohenort building and there is a smaller one in the grounds which is set within a walled garden. There is a large lawned area at the rear of the house with plenty of sun-beds to relax on. The hotel is about 20 minutes drive from the city so it is no problem to drive into town for lunch or dinner and there are plenty of things to do and see there. The water-front is a hive of activity and on Saturdays, The Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock has a great food market as well as an arts and crafts market.

I'm afraid that there are a few criticisms of the hotel. This is a 5-star establishment and some of the bathrooms are most definitely not 5-star. The shower cubicles are rather cheap and nasty as are the tiles. We have a bath that has actually been re-sprayed and the chips still show through - not good enough in a hotel of this calibre! There are no mixer taps on the bath or basins and even the taps in the shower are still old-fashioned individual affairs which mean that you have to fiddle around each time you turn them on to get the temperature right. There have been many improvements which have been slowly carried out over the years but this problem badly needs addressing is the hotel is to compete with others of a similar standard. I would have rated the rooms as excellent but for the problem with the bathrooms.

In our view, the other major change was to allow children of any age here. The whole beauty of the hotel was it's tranquility which has now been totally destroyed. We don't hate children and have three ourselves but this was a haven of peace for us. I had to listen to someone's kids running back and forward for about an hour above my room on one occasion and I finally rang reception to complain.

I also feel that some of the standards of service have slipped a little recently but we have spoken to the management on this front. The gentleman we spoke to seemed to be aware of a problem before we had even opened our mouths and came to see us unbidden.

We would highly recommend this wonderful hotel but it does need to be careful that it doesn't lose hold of some of the things which make it so exceptional. If you have really free-range kids, this is not the place for you as there are no special facilities for children in the way of play-areas etc.

There is now wi-fi in the bedrooms (at long last) but we found it irritatingly slow in the Hohenort building. It works fine in the main building where reception is based. There is no charge for using wi-fi. There are also some computers on a mezzanine gallery above the reception desk.

Room Tip: Rooms at the rear of the Hohenort Building on the first floor are lovely but people book from one ye...
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank lferstendik
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
JoMassie, General Manager at The Cellars-Hohenort, responded to this review, 10 January 2013
Thank you for taking the time to review your recent stay with us. We so enjoyed being able to welcome you back again this year. All your constructive comments are being taken into serious consideration. Best wishes for the new year and we look forward to seeing you in 2014.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cape Town, South Africa
Level Contributor
12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 December 2012

My family and I went for lunch in The Conservatory Restaurant located inside this beautiful hotel. There is some seriously good cooking going on inside that kitchen and the food is imaginative and exquisitely presented. I had the line fish of the day in a light lobster bisque with asparagus tips, which was delicious. For starters try the squid carpaccio, you will not be disappointed. Be aware that it is essential to book over the summer months and service is unfortunately very slow.

  • Stayed November 2012, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Raynetopham
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
JoMassie, General Manager at The Cellars-Hohenort, responded to this review, 10 January 2013
Thank you for your comments, which i have passed on to our chef and restaurant team. We hope to be able to welcome you back in the future.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Zurich, Switzerland
Level Contributor
243 reviews
51 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 December 2012

Try the conservatory restaurant in this hotel, probably a little known gem in the middle of Constantia. Excellent food (try the signature roasted duck) and service. Build around a three-hundred year old tree, green views. Cozy and quiet. And a house cat near the chimney. What do you need more?

  • Stayed November 2012, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Flowwolf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
JoMassie, General Manager at The Cellars-Hohenort, responded to this review, 10 January 2013
We are delighted to hear you enjoyed your dining experience at The Conservatory and that you felt so at home. We look forward to welcoming you back.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Concord, MA
Level Contributor
57 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 November 2012

We stayed here six years ago and were delighted to return. This small hotel is stunning inside and out. Our room had its own terrace and a sitting room, in addition to the bedroom and bathroom (with radiant heating, a treat for the toes in the morning). The gift shop is in a league of its own, and bear in mind, that a gift shop is not usually something I care about. A new chef brings original tastes to one of the restaurants. The more traditional restaurant is delicious as well, and it's nice to have two different spots for dinner at a small hotel. We decided almost at the last minute not to rent a car to drive around the area, and the hotel put us in touch with a guide immediately (also recommended). Staff were helpful and friendly, and one woman went above and beyond the call of duty for us.. If we were to go to South Africa again, this is exactly where we would stay.

Room Tip: I don't think there are any bad ones!
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  • Stayed September 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Bev046
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
JoMassie, General Manager at The Cellars-Hohenort, responded to this review, 10 January 2013
Many thanks for your positive review. We look forward to welcoming you back in the not too distant future.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Cellars-Hohenort

Property: The Cellars-Hohenort
Address: 93 Brommersvlei Road, Constantia 7806, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Western Cape > Cape Town > Constantia
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#3 Business Hotel in Constantia
#3 Family Hotel in Constantia
#4 Romantic Hotel in Constantia
#5 Luxury Hotel in Constantia
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:5 star — The Cellars-Hohenort 5*
Number of rooms: 52
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in Cape Town's historical Constantia Valley, on the breathtaking slopes of Table Mountain, all the rooms and suites of The Cellars-Hohenort boast panoramic views of the impressive mountain and the beautiful grounds. Set in 9.5 acres of world renowned and award winning gardens, this historic and beautiful country escape in the city offers guests far more than just incomparable scenery. Surrounded by top wine producing farms and some of South Africa's most popular restaurants,you will find so much to do and a mere fifteen minute drive to Cape Town City center & Waterfront. Back at the hotel there are two award-winning dining experiences, including Greenhouse, where cuisine focuses on regional flavors with modern interpretations. All of this is the result of owner Liz McGrath's more than twenty years of hard work, love and endless inspiration. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Cellars-Hohenort Hotel Constantia
Cellars Hohenort Constantia
Cellars Hohenort Hotel Constantia
The Cellars-Hohenort Constantia, Cape Town, South Africa

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