Do you still remember Paddington? Whether you met him on TV, in a book or piecing him together out of a 1000 piece puzzle, most of us have pleasant memories of the friendly bear. But you have to admit, with his duffel coat, floppy hat and boots, Paddington Bear would look well out of place in a summery Cape Town.
That is exactly why we were enchanted when we met our very own Cape Townian Paddington. A very special Persian cat, Paddington looks nothing like his name sake and even less like a cat. Living the royal life at the Banksia Boutique, Paddington spends more time at hairdressers than most women do, has featured in many a photo shoot and has even appeared on Top Billing. But Paddington adds a unique element to the offering of Banksia; the presence of such a large and fluffy friend makes you feel, in a strange way, at home.
In the leafy southern suburb of Rosebank (not to be confused with its more famous cousin in Johannesburg), you will discover the boutique hotel that Paddington calls home. Well hidden in this old residential area of Cape Town dotted with close knitted homes, finding Banksia Boutigue Hotel can be a challenge. Make sure you study the directions on the internet carefully and take down the establishment’s number, just in case…
When we recently returned from a Crocodile Dundee crossed with Tarzan African holiday, we longed for a place where we could unwind, relax and, perhaps most importantly, for a place where applying Tabard was not our main priority. The Banksia offered this sophisticated luxury without a cluttered feeling.
Believed to be the old farmhouse on the Rosebank farm of yesteryear, the double storey Banksia Boutique Hotel has been beautifully renovated. It boasts a manicured garden and impressive indoor swimming pool in the glass-panelled aviary-like wing of the establishment. Two conference rooms cater for corporate functions Visitors can also look forward to the opening of a spa on the premises in February 2012.
Wonderful views over the lush Southern suburbs, the University of Cape Town’s campus and the backside of Table Mountain greeted us from our room (and sunken bath!). With only eight rooms it presents overnighters with a quaint and private setting, an ideal night away for the Mr. and Mrs. The front balcony (although not child friendly) offers a panoramic view for a lazy afternoon with a cup of tea or a snack from the locally-sourced contents of the minibar in each room.
Despite the simplistic elegance of the Boutique, it was the secret surprises in and around Banksia that impressed us the most. One of these interesting aspects is that the Banksia is a display of the work of interior designer and owner, Shelley Kingston. This means that very little of what you see and touch is mass-manufactured, adding to the unique ambience of Banksia.
Walking distance from the Banksia you will find (which is now) our favourite Tex-Mex eatery, the Fat Cactus, in Klipfontein road. Make sure to satisfy your hunger and distinguish your thirst at this unique and special restaurant.
On your return, you will find your room turned down with soft romantic music seeping through the walls, while fresh rose petals await you in the bath. You can specify at which time you would like to enjoy breakfast, which means you don’t have to set an alarm for the following morning. With your delicious breakfast you also receive a one page wrap-up of the day’s news, just to keep you in touch with the outside world.
As the Banksia Boutique Hotel caters mostly for corporate clientele, holidaymakers will be able to enjoy a surprisingly peaceful getaway during the busy weeks over the festive season – you might even be lucky enough to have the entire house to yourself!
– Review by Klein Companions, Francois and Shané Barnard
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