Labotessa, a 17th-century congregational church turned lifestyle hotel, will open in Cape Town in August 2019.
Originally built in the early 1700s, the intimate seven-roomed property is one of the oldest buildings in South Africa, and the debut project in the Labotessa portfolio by first-time hoteliers Jan Fourie and Johan du Plessis. The South African owners and founders were inspired by the opportunity to meld heritage and old-world elegance with visionary new-world design.
“We are delighted to begin our foray into hotel ownership with one of South Africa’s oldest buildings, which has been a true testament to the country’s rich history and heritage,” says du Plessis. “Labotessa is a culmination of our affinity for exceptional design, relaxed hospitality, and our connection to the city of Cape Town.”
Situated in a restored national monument in the heart of the city, Labotessa is the only hotel on the historic Church Square. This landmark lifestyle property blends luxury and personal service with the independence of residential living. Each of the hotel’s seven spacious suites features private elevator access, a balcony and sweeping views of the city, Lion’s Head and Table Mountain.
On the ground floor, guests and locals can enjoy the newest outpost of Starling’s, a beloved local café which uses organic and ethically-sourced ingredients. The café will spill out onto the square and sits adjacent to the hotel’s Diptyque boutique, a public concession for the revered international perfumery. All the hotel’s suites will carry the Diptyque range of toiletries, making Labotessa the 11th hotel worldwide to have gained this privilege. From the ground floor, an antique balustrade guides guests to the reception area on the mezzanine level, with views of the property’s classic fireplace, original chandelier and plush velvet armchairs.
The founders conceptualized every design element in the hotel to evoke 17th-century grandeur fused with a relaxed atmosphere. Commissioned works by local artists and antique furniture weave a narrative inspired by the city’s European influences. Each guest room is unique in its design and configuration. Labotessa is home to one of Cape Town’s largest penthouse suites, The Governor Suite.
The Governor Suite: The three-bedroom Governor Suite is named after Simon Van der Stel, the first Governor of the Cape. Measuring 300 square metres, the suite spans two floors with breathtaking views of Church Square, Signal Hill, and Table Mountain. A completely new build on the hotel’s top floor, the Governor Suite features distinctly modern touches such as a floating staircase and private plunge pool looking out through the balcony’s glass walls.
Ideal for friends, families and groups travelling together, the Governor Suite has a full kitchen equipped with two ovens, a 10-person dining table and two lounge areas. A modern fireplace is flanked by a padded leather window seat, lending the hotel’s signature sense of comfort to the space. In the bedrooms, en suite bathrooms with freestanding bathtubs overlook the city.
Signature Suites: Accessible via private elevator from the hotel’s mezzanine level, the six Signature Suites feature living and sleeping areas separated by glass panelling. A palette of petrol blues, warm taupe and burnt orange is complemented by Persian rugs dotted throughout the spaces. High ceilings and French oak floors emphasize the spaciousness of each 65-square-metre room, and en suite bathrooms feature blue subway tiles and Calacatta marble. Modern amenities are integrated into each suite, including a custom French armoire with a hidden minibar outfitted with Smeg appliances and crystal flutes for celebrations. A round cocktail table, sofa and balcony create multi-use spaces for dining, lounging and basking while taking in the views.
Labotessa is surrounded by several architectural and cultural treasures including the monumental Groote Kerk, the Slave Lodge set beneath the unmistakable mountainscape of Lion’s Head, The Company Gardens, and the Parliament buildings. The hotel is in close proximity to the V&A Waterfront and within walking distance of some of Cape Town’s top restaurants, coffee bars, cafés, and nightclubs. One of the Mother City’s newest and most popular fine dining establishments, FYN, is located next door and features a menu of Japanese-inspired cuisine fused with South African dishes.