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Grand dame gets a facelift

Published May 19, 2011

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The second phase of an extensive renovation project at d'Ouwe Werf, the oldest inn in the country, has just kicked off.

The estimated date of completion is mid-November, and will see this South African National Monument restored to her former glory, with an added modern edge.

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The first phase of renovations was carried out from September to December 2010. The end result is a restored exterior façade, 10 refurbished rooms and a new reception area.

This second phase is a much bigger exercise: the underground parking area will be extended, 12 new rooms will be created from an existing building and the Meiring Building is being gutted and will be refitted with 9 new bedrooms.

“At the end of this phase we'll have a total of 51 newly refurbished, modern bedrooms,” explained d'Ouwe Werf's general manager, Elanie Potgieter. “We expect all work to be completed by mid-November, unless we make an exciting archaeological find, in which case it may delay the project.”

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The concept for the look and feel of the renovated hotel was developed by leading interior designer Les Harbottle. The Petousis family, who also own and manage the Vineyard Hotel & Spa and the Townhouse Hotel & Conference Centre, enjoys a long working history with Harbottle.

“Les understands our vision for the end product perfectly, and knows how important it is to retain a property's character. It's been great to have him on board,” says Potgieter.

“Noise from the building work will improve after May. The really noisy work will only commence in the mornings after breakfast, from 10h30 until 16h30 daily,” assures Potgieter.

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During the renovation period the hotel is offering a “nuts and bolts” rate - 21 percent off the bar rate to celebrate the 21 new rooms that are being created. “It's an absolute steal for both business and leisure travellers.”

At the hotel's renowned 1802 Restaurant it's still business as usual. “We serve the best baked cheesecake in the country, without a doubt,” boasts Potgieter. “It's a good excuse to pop in and see how we're enhancing the hotel.”

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