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Vineyard Hotel
Newlands, Cape Town, Western Cape

George Murray ALEXANDER: Architect Alterations and additions
REVEL FOX and PARTNERS: Architect 2006 additions

Date:1800 : 1883 : 2006
Type:Hotel
Style:Contemporary
Status:Extant
2006SAIA Award of Merit

 


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Coordinates:
33°58'44.01" S 18°27'30.37" E Alt: 44m

The original house on the seven-acre property was built in February 1800 and was the first English-style house to be built in Cape Town. Remnants of this historic house can still be seen at the luxury hotel. However, it is the grape vines and gardens that are the true hero and the reason why The Vineyard Hotel exists today.

The magnificent grounds were originally home to diarist and artist Lady Anne Barnard and her husband, Andrew. Lady Barnard took pride and inspiration from her garden, ensuring that it flourished year-round. Indigenous species of flowers and shrubs were planted, such as protea and keurboom, alongside trees like fir.

Her watercolour paintings of the garden still exist as proof of her love for the space. One painting done from the stoep of the original house refers to her garden as “growing, growing, growing!”. These paintings are proudly displayed on the walls around the hotel.

1893: Alterations and additions done for James Mitchell designed by GM ALEXANDER (Pryce-Lewis list item 1 782).

The Vineyard Hotel was declared a National Monument on 18 February 1977. It is now a Provincial Heritage Site.

(Seeff, Then and now: The Vineyard Hotel, accessed 2021 09 14)

Additions were made to the existing hotel in 2006, these received an Award of Merit.

Award Citation

The success of these additions is clearly a result of the architect’s understanding and careful response to the context: a complex grouping of historical and modern buildings.

The new gym, spa and riverside bedrooms are discreetly placed along the edge of the site creating a backdrop to the exceptional established gardens done to the design of Anne Sutton. Upon closer inspection, the steel and glass pavilions are beautifully made open-plan spaces separated by a pool reflecting filtered sun. The elegantly detailed steel structure allows uninterrupted views to the garden, pool and mountains through moveable glass doors.

The slope of the site is optimally used to hide the underground parking and minimize the scale of the spa and riverside bedrooms. Concrete roofs and the stepping of the double-storey bedroom wing are combined with landscaped terraces, timber screens and stonework, resulting in a comfortable transition to the river’s edge.

The architectural restraint and sensitivity to scale of these buildings have resulted in an exquisite composition which is both a foreground and background building.


Writings about this entry

Walker, Michael. 2015. Old hotels of Cape Town (1890-1911), The : A history long forgotten, seldom told. St James: Published Privately. pg 67, 68