Experience the Charm of Constantia at The Cellars Hohenort Hotel

Words: Julie Velosa

It’s been a while since we last visited the Cellars Hohenort, in fact it was 2017 BC (before Covid) to be exact and things in the travel industry have certainly changed. One thing that hasn’t altered though is the sense of timelessness and grandeur that the beautiful Constantia Valley offers. The Cellars Hohenort Hotel is right at home here, with its magnificent lush grounds that will have avid home gardeners swooning. As you drive into the property the striking buildings of the hotel stand proudly and are set amongst some of the most meticulously manicured greenery you can find.


The History

The property has a long and mercurial history of ownership; from its first owner Hendrik ten Damme in 1693 (chief surgeon of the Dutch East India Company) it has changed hands many times in its 328-year history and has been a part of The Collection by Liz McGrath portfolio (also includes The Marine and The Plettenberg) for a number of years.

The Cellars building (originally a wine cellar) and the Hohenort building were built independently of one another, at different times and by different owners. During the property’s history, the original farm (Klaasenbosch), was split and sold off in pieces but when they were acquired by Liz McGrath, it was her desire to put the property back together as one and thus The Cellars Hohenort Hotel came into being.

The Rooms

The hotel has 51 rooms located across the property and all are surrounded and overlook the lush landscaped gardens. There are some suites that are set apart from the main building, as well as the Madiba Villa, a large and private space separate from the main hotel building – perfect for a longer and more private stay.

The suites and rooms are beautifully appointed, each with individual finishings that exude sophisticated charm. Our room (not pictured) had a contemporary 4-poster bed with an open bathroom with tub and shower.

A lounge area with TV provided a spot for my partner to kick back, while I found a lounger on our ‘stoep’ and got stuck into a crossword that has been waiting to be completed.

Our room was in an annex separate to the main hotel and overlooked a lovely Arum lily-lined water feature with a trickling sound that provided gentle background noise.


A massive ivy hedge, with an inconspicuous opening, led into what I am dubbing ‘the secret garden’, an expanse of hidden emerald green lawn that is perfect for events. In fact, in the afternoon we watched a joyful bride slip through the opening and walk down in the aisle. It’s encouraging to see events like this happening, albeit on a smaller scale.

The Gardens

Right in front of reception is a circular, walled white garden and of course the green lawns are beautiful, but do yourself a favour and take a walk around the whole property and experience it to its full.The-Cellars-Hohenort

Below the lawns in front of the restaurant is the duck pond (complete with fluffy quackers) and from there a pathway leads you to the majestic camphor trees. Currently the undergrowth is filled with clivias in bloom and hundreds of years worth of mossy green, jungly foliage that makes for peaceful wandering. Further on you’ll happen upon the pool, a small vineyard and another rose garden.cellars-hohenort-Gardens

Hot tip! Visit The Cellars Hohenort this weekend 16-17 October for their open gardens in celebration of Garden Day. All proceeds to go charity.

If you have the time, visit the Fresh Wellness Spa onsite and indulge in a luxurious treatment. Or, have your hair done at the salon. If getting some exercise is on the cards, you can enjoy a game of tennis, take a dip in the pool or have a work out in the onsite gym.

With South Africa recently off the red list, we expect that the rooms are soon going to be filled with overseas travellers looking to finally set foot outside of their homes, ready to experience all that the Cape has to offer.

The Food

Executive Chef Tronette Dippenaar has recently moved from sister property, The Marine (in Hermanus), to The Cellars Honenhort and is responsible for all the deliciousness that you will experience at The Conservatory restaurant, as well as tea and special events. The-Cellars-Hohenort-

Afternoon tea is offered daily and the good news is that a low carb option is available. Tea treats are served on a tiered stand and can be enjoyed while relaxing in the lounge area, or in the restaurant with views over the garden. The staff that will look after you are meticulous in their approach and will make sure that you are well taken care of.

You can enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner at The Conservatory, with an exciting menu that celebrates local flavour and ingredients.

We booked in for dinner and loved that the menu highlighted McGrath Collection favourites, as it made our job of selecting dishes so much easier. It’s also very obvious to see why these are deemed the best, they were delicious!

For starters we tried the Aged Boland Cheese Soufflé with gin cheese sauce and the Classic Caesar Salad and both were fabulous. I’ve never had a soufflé quite so cloud-like and the Caesar was everything you could want, and a generous portion to boot. In keeping with the theme of trying the classics, we opted for the Cape Malay Bobotie and the Taste of the Overberg (a medley of lamb prepared in different ways). Again, both were divine and executed beautifully.

It was a no brainer when it came to dessert, Liz McGrath’s personal favourite – a chocolate plate featuring a liquid-centred fondant. A woman of impeccable taste obviously, as this molten, chocolatey dessert was a winner.

We’re always grateful after a big meal such as this to be able to simply wander back to a room with a comfy bed and hop right in. No pile of laundry nagging to be done or kitchen to clean up, simply float to your room for the night and relax.

Breakfast the next morning was also a sumptuous affair. What was previously a buffet is now an à la carte table service, offering all the same delicious delights as before, just brought to you versus you getting up to help yourself. Once seated in a sunny spot on the terrace it quickly became clear that this is a better way to enjoy brekkie, with its stunning views and less hopping up and down.

Book your Stay at the Cellars Hohenort

While there are plenty of things to do in the area, it is very likely that you’ll find yourself content to not do very much at all. The valley is renowned for its incredible wine offering and you really should get out to experience this (the hotel will happily help arrange). Equally, you will be forgiven for not wanting to leave the comfortable confines of the hotel, where a sunny corner with a book or a walk around the gardens will be all the escape you’ll need.

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One comment

  1. My daughter got married at the hotel on Friday and it was the most amazing experience. The venue was awesome, the food was incredible and all the hotel staff went out of their way to make this special day perfect. A big Tha K you to everybody involved.

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