Take a look inside Clifton’s castle-like boutique hotel
* This article appears in our Holiday edition of the Home Improver digital magazine
Owner Hugo Thomas Jankowitz built 21 Nettleton Road as his private residence and he enjoyed it for 10 years before opening it to guests as a unique, unpretentious and bespoke five-star boutique hotel.
Set in the famously beautiful and most expensive street in South Africa – Nettleton Road in Clifton – backed by Lion’s Head with endless views of the Atlantic Ocean, the house is charming and unique.
The seven-storey castle-like house towers above the street and a steep driveway takes you to the front door, situated mid-way up. If you enter from street level you’ll ascend several staircases to reach the entrance.
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Hotelier Dirk Jacobs, who’s been in the business for over a decade with roots in five-star boutique properties with emphasis on art and design, runs the space with an unpretentious flair.
Jacobs says Jankowitz didn’t want an overly contemporary design, like most other homes in Clifton and Camps Bay. Instead he chose a timeless, unique European style.
The home‘s exterior is meant to blend with the mountain. Inside Chinese vases, Rococo clocks, figurine candelabras, grand pianos, baroque gold-framed mirrors and artworks dot the home.
Even the pool – shaped like a musical note and set among granite boulders – is an artwork. The interiors are built around Jankowitz’s art collection, says Jacobs.
Every piece has a story and memory attached to it and the spaces were built around the art instead of the more conventional method of curating art for a space. The large mirror in the lounge is an example.
Jankowitz had it in storage for many years because he had nowhere to hang it. When building 21 Nettleton he made sure there was a large enough wall for it.
The art at 21 Nettleton reflects the owner’s thirst for travel. It is private and personal. Walking through the magnificent home with its many surprise nooks, creates the feeling you are in someone’s home, instead of a hotel – and Jankowitz does stay in his private quarters for part of the year.
The six bedrooms each have their own butler and are uniquely curated with bespoke art, antique furniture and luxurious soft furnishings.
There is a lounge and breakfast nook that overlook the icy Atlantic. Outdoors, the rolling lawns lead to nature walks to a pergola, overlooked always by the brooding mountains.
The owner’s advice to homeowners who want to create a similar sense of old-world grandeur and beauty? “Glass and concrete will go out of style. Create instead spaces that are meaningful to you, tell a story. “Life is really too short to live a minimalist life.”