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Reviewed 18 August 2008

Ab Fab! Treat yourself - Derwent House is a wonderful find in a very convenient part of Cape Town. The hospitality, comfort, food, service, situation, price, friendliness and information/assistance available, all rate as exceptional. Carol (and Jo and the rest of the staff) go out of their way to make this a home from home and it all comes highly recommended.

  • Stayed: August 2008, travelled with family
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1  Thank Purchase
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 August 2008

My wife and I stayed twice at the Derwent house during our month-long trip to South Africa in June and July 2008. We recommend it highly.

Viewed simply as accommodation, it’s excellent. For complicated reasons we wound up staying in four different rooms (they have about ten). All were well furnished in a contemporary style; we’d have been happy to have our bedroom at home done as nicely. The rooms varied from a small double to a large suite with a separate living room and deck. (Our favorite was number four.) One had only a bathtub; the others, showers or shower-baths. The bathrooms were elegant and functional. All the rooms had individual heating (and we assume air-conditioning, but it was winter and we never thought to check).

The public areas are wonderful – two large lounges, one with a fire burning in the evening, plus an area off the breakfast room where you can get free coffee, tea, soft drinks, cookies and the like, port, and sherry at any time. There’s also an honor bar if you want liquors. The B&B is staffed 24 hours a day so there’s always someone around if you have questions or problems. They have a laptop in the lounge, with internet access. (I don’t know if they have wi-fi throughout the building, but I suspect they do since the laptop had only a power cord.)

Rooms are on two floors, and there are a number of short stairs (down to the lounge and pool, etc.). There’s no elevator, but the staff will lug your bags (indispensable for us since I have a bad back and we had heavy suitcases for a month of travel).

Breakfast was generous. They bring you coffee (the usual press-pot kind), tea, or chocolate, and you graze at will among delicious croissants, muffins, breads, several cheeses, ham, sausage, and a broad selection of exceptionally good jams and marmalade. Then there are the fruits, cereals, and yogurt – and, finally, fresh-cooked eggs, sausage, bacon, ham, mushrooms, and tomato. (They are particularly good at poaching eggs, which came cooked just as we like and neither wet nor vinegary.) With this to start the day we rarely ate more than dinner afterwards.

The staff are friendly and know their business well. (Jo and Carol have the staff stay in the rooms once a year, and the owners wait on them; the result is that they all know what it’s like to be a guest and the kind of thing that will make for a more pleasant stay.)

The location is on a residential street on a hill a block down from an uninteresting commercial street and two blocks above Kloof Street with restaurants and shops. You can eat several different kinds of good food within a few blocks. Walking down the hill, in five minutes you’re at the best espresso in Cape Town (two fine spots across the street, one the “Seattle Coffee Company”). About five minutes later the street becomes really funky and interesting, or you can turn right and be at the gardens (and one of the red tourist bus stops, a must for any first-time visitor). Probably there are other locations in the city we would have liked as well, but for our purposes it was ideal – quiet at night and a nice walk to all sorts of interesting places.

All this makes Derwent House an excellent place to stay. What made it really exceptional, and greatly enriched our trip, were the owners Jo and Carol, and the other guests. The owners have a broad knowledge of the city, and were happy to make a variety of recommendations of things to do and places to go. They can find an excellent driver if you want a personal day tour (we didn’t, but my brother- and sister-in-law did this for a day), recommend and book other tours, give advice on everything from tipping to other cities, and help resolve problems, as when the security on our credit card refused our car rental charge. Their helpfulness and knowledge of the city are remarkable, and thanks to them we had the best dinner of a month of fine dinners in South Africa (at Il Leone, if you’re curious). Their advice greatly enriched our stay.

Finally, the other guests were also charming and helpful. If you like B&Bs for the opportunity to chat and exchange advice with other travelers, Derwent House fits the bill. We found a range from a honeymooning British couple through (by complete chance) the best friend of my cousin from Cincinnatti to Katherine and Arthur, the owners of the best B&B in Franschhoek (The Akedemie Street Guesthouse).

All in all, we spent a lot of time on the Internet before selecting Derwent House for our stay. It didn’t just meet our expectations, it exceeded them.

  • Stayed: July 2008, travelled with family
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4  Thank Elderly_Curmudgeon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 August 2008

We chose Derwent House for a stay in Cape Town whilst trying to work out the answer to a job offer in the city. We didn't have much time and we had a million things to find out - all very speedy and stressful. Anyway - we couldn't recommend DH more highly - you are greeted personally at the door with warmth and charm - the owners are very present and incredibly friendly and their staff are the same, so you feel like you've entered a real haven (which was a godsend for us). Our room was stylish, comfortable, a great size and we could see both table mountain and lion's head from one of our two balconies. Everything is designed to make you feel at home - you can make yourself tea, pour yourself a drink, help yourself to cake...come and go and settle in and we have never stayed in a hotel that was so graciously accommodating of our travel plans which meant we had both an early check in and late check out. Plus - it's a great location, easy walking distance from town. Hard to recommend it more highly.

  • Stayed: August 2008, travelled on business
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Thank DijonMama
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 August 2008

We selected this hotel on the basis of Tripadvisor reviews - the reviews were spot on. Our room was in the main part of the house, with a great view of Table Mountain. Spacious and comfortable room, with crisp white cotton bedlinen, efficient airconditioning/heating and a very smart bathroom. The common living areas are super comfortable, with a roaring fire going all day and a very well stocked kitchen and honesty bar.

What really makes this hotel is the attention of the staff - always welcoming and firendly, with the owners, Carol and Jo, showing great interest in your plans for the day and what you enjoyed most etc. Carol spent some time planning an excursion to Franschoek for us, including booking a restaurant for lunch. It was one of our best days out in Capetown, despite hammering rain that day ! Jo was great with local advice and provided great amusement at breakfast time with general chit chat.

There are several very good restaurants within easy walk of the hotel - we walked around at night in the area and felt totally safe. Specially recommend Gainsbourg, Zucca and Saigon. (we were there 5 nights). They have a DVD library and we made use of that a few times when we were too tired to go out and do any more exploring.

For those who are very, very light sleepers, request a room in the back wing. The four rooms in the main section are occasionally prone to a little noise from the dining area and front door, from late arrivals or early departures. But I am a very light sleeper and I know other guests in the room beside us heard nothing !

  • Stayed: July 2008, travelled with friends
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Thank Allcorners
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 August 2008

Stayed her in June 2008 and I can only endorse what everyone else has said about this hotel. Superb.
Also handy for some top class restaurants nearby that won't break the bank, and not far from the Table Mt cable station.
Thoroughly recommended!!

  • Stayed: June 2008, travelled on business
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Thank pearsew
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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