Flinging open its doors in the heart of downtown Cape Town, Gorgeous George emerges as a springboard for hyper-local immersion in the city’s pulse-quickening creative scene.
Housed across two heritage buildings, the 32-room hotel provides a high-style platform for established and emerging South African artists and designers, resulting in an authentic aesthetic that avoids any hint of African design cliché. Throw in an intriguing architectural narrative that combines Edwardian elegance with sleek industrial styling, a spectacular rooftop space complete with a buzzing bar, restaurant, and swimming pool, and you have the Mother City’s most thrilling new social hub.
Local design firm Urban Citizen Architecture was entrusted with artfully repurposing two landmark buildings—one Art Deco, the other Edwardian—to create a thoroughly modern, luxury hotel. Originally connected in the 1940s, the architectural heritage of the structures has been honored through the preservation of grand architraves, cornices, and oak flooring, while guests enter the hotel via the imposing, original brass doors. Incorporating some of the original flow of the two old buildings, the architects were able to create spacious guestrooms and suites that organically incorporate the existing oak and steel windows. Far from being defined by the past, however, the visual identity of Gorgeous George pays homage to the raw urban edge of the surrounding cityscape with the use of sculptural concrete and steel beams, which also act as a unifying feature throughout the two distinct spaces.
A meaningful connection with its neighborhood, as well as the wider creative community, is also key to the hotel’s interior design concept, conceived by Johannesburg-based designer Tristan du Plessis. Created as a showcase for contemporary South African design, Gorgeous George’s neutral-to-dark color palette provides a stylish backdrop for pieces from the likes of David Krynauw, Dokter and Misses, and Egg Designs, while a crocodile swing chair by Porky Hefer provides a sublimely eccentric talking point. Touches of blue and white work to soften the industrial elements of the structural framework, culminating in the reception area’s showcase of 1,800 painstakingly hand-painted Delft-inspired ceramic tiles that together form a map of Cape Town.
The design DNA of the 20 rooms and 12 suites is also defined by the local art scene, with each featuring a bespoke, inner-city inspired mural by acclaimed Cape Town-based artist David Brits. Raw concrete walls and exposed pipework are augmented by hand-made furniture and an eclectic collection of curios and trinkets, while king-size beds, sumptuous rugs and velvet upholstered furnishings add texture and comfort. Patterned, penny tile flooring is a defining feature of the bathrooms, which boast large, walk-in showers and custom-designed Gregor Jenkin hand-turned basins. Amenities created exclusively for Gorgeous George add luxury, however sheer indulgence comes in the form of spectacular standalone bath tubs in the two-bedroom suites.
The hotel’s crowning glory is undoubtedly Gigi Rooftop, an innovative inside/out living space for the neighborhood, soundtracked by the hustle and bustle of the streets below. Centered around a spectacular pool with breathtaking views over downtown and beyond, Gigi is also home to the hotel’s restaurant—helmed by executive chef Guy Bennett—and bar, making it a day-round hub for guests and locals alike. The rooftop’s verdant greenery reflects the lush urban sanctuary of nearby Company’s Garden, while the sun-drenched terrace is perfectly placed for sundowners crafted by in-house mixologist Jody Rahm.
The hotel’s neighborhood and namesake, St. George’s Mall, is a treelined pedestrian avenue framed by heritage buildings leading to the historic St. George’s Cathedral. Surrounded by art galleries, niche museums, and intimate theaters, the hotel also rubs shoulders with some of the city’s most famous landmarks including Company’s Garden and the South African Houses of Parliament. The hotel is 3.5 kilometers from the V&A Waterfront and Table Mountain, and a 10-minute drive to the renowned Clifton and Camps Bay beaches.