Dorp Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa

Is this the most beautiful hotel in the world? Check in to this grand dame boutique for an unforgettable stay in the Cape Townian hills

Gently perched at the top of Signal Hill in Cape Town's sleepy Bo-Kaap neighbourhood, this exquisite boutique property might just be the international hotel circuit's best kept secret. Masterminded by the late Gail Behr, an artist, fashion designer and all-round creative maverick, the hotel fuses Georgian elegance with quirky eccentricity in a way that defies categorisation. As travel editors we've been lucky enough to stay in all kinds of hotels - we've yet to find one that matches up to Dorp's unparalelled style and grace.

Set across a compound of classic Georgian buildings, the hotel is split into two wings - Dorp and Onderdorp. We stayed in the latter, reached by a series of outdoor steps that lead down the hill through Dorp's beautifully wild courtyard garden. Here you'll find a cluster of whitewashed buildings - many of which with their own private pool - with a games room, beauty parlour and shop. At Palm House, Onderdorp's beautifully bohemian lounge and dining room, antiques that could have been plucked straight from a French flea market fill the cosy space, with long, family-sized wooden dining tables, seagrass rugs, button-back armchairs and sinkably-soft oatmeal sofas providing the perfect setting for a lazy afternoon. We wouldn't blame you for spending your entire stay ensconced in one of its cosy corners.


No detail is spared across Dorp's fairytale-like bedrooms. We stayed in one of Onderdorp's Kitchen Rooms, a self-catering suite where you can climb straight into a shared plunge pool from your terrace. Characterful touches like recycled honey tubes that double as containers for shampoo and conditioner, a pin board sporting little notes like "check your privilege" on the wall and a "Behr Necessities" tin complete with all those easily-forgotten essentials (paracetamol, plasters, notepad and pen) only add to the hotel's charm.

Walls are a calming blush-pink colour, offset by intricately detailed patterned quilts, a huge, trough-like metal bathtub and cream Smeg fridge and oven, with bean bags and hammocks in the courtyard outside for uninterrupted sunbathing, to the quiet soundtrack of trilling birds.

Food and drink

All Onderdorp rooms come with a light breakfast served in the Games Room, although - thanks to the rooms' self-catering - your own homemade breakfast in bed is equally on the menu.

For lunch and dinner, The Salon - the main dining room at Dorp where all meals are served - is a plant-filled utopia, with floor-to-ceiling arched glass windows that look out onto killer views of Table Mountain and the city skyline. On the menu you'll find unpretentious, simple home-style dishes cooked to perfection - the twice-baked cheese soufflé and Dorp House salad were our favourites.

Is there anything else I should know?

Don't miss the hotel's boutique shop - a homewares haven selling many goods found across the hotel, including the gorgeous linen bathrobes that hang in every bathroom. Take the Wes Anderson-inspired lift up to the second floor for more unique finds, including clothing from Homework - Behr's own bespoke fashion line.

The neighbourhood of Bo Kaap is a devout Muslim community - with this in mind, no alcohol is for sale on the premises (although guests are welcome to bring their own, and there is complimentary wine in all rooms). If you're a light sleeper, bring earplugs to avoid being woken by the early morning call to prayer.

The Lowdown

Rooms from £195.