St James Manor is a well-appointed 5-star establishment found along False Bay, South Africa. It is located on the St James seafront, overlooking the picturesque fishing village of Kalk Bay. St James has been dubbed “millionaire’s mile” and, whilst it is small, is fast becoming one of the more trendy areas to stay in this region. This tiny area, measuring just one kilometre in length, is steeped in history – and exclusivity. It is where mountains meet the sea and where, from the elevated position of the grand old homes, whales are often visible as they swim through the False Bay waters.
The Manor, a luxury boutique hotel, was built more than a century ago and exudes old world charm throughout. The Manor falls under the ownership of Rovos Rail, and provides guests with the same level of indulgent opulence that I experienced on the most luxurious of all trains – Rovos Rail’s Pride of Africa.
As you enter St James Manor, a grand wood-panelled staircase leads you upstairs to the individually decorated suites. Here again, as on the train, modern comforts are combined with the lavishness of times gone past. Gorgeous fabrics, Persian carpets and antiques from South Africa and England create an atmosphere that oozes indulgence and relaxation.
I had the good fortune to stay in the Vancouver Suite, one of two classic suites measuring a generous 70 square metres. It overlooks the sea, allowing you to fall asleep and awake to the sound of waves breaking on the shore. This large open plan suite consists of a bedroom, dressing room, en-suite bathroom, and a lounge that opens onto a balcony offering uninterrupted views of the ocean. Neutral tones are combined with elements of gold and russet, creating a sophisticated palette in keeping with the elegant ambiance of this refined establishment.
Here, comfort is guaranteed. From the air-conditioning to the under-floor heating and heated towel rails, the suite’s climate can be controlled to meet your needs. The large modern bathroom is all marble and classic elegance. For those seeking modern amenities, there is a CD player, DVD player, two televisions with satellite channels, and wireless Internet access. I, however, was more interested in enjoying the beautiful sea views from this opulent accommodation.
In addition to the sumptuous suites, St James Manor also has several beautiful reception rooms, a library, bar, breakfast room, and dining room. Guests can be forgiven for lingering in the breakfast room in the morning. I was delighted to discover that the standard of food at St James Manor matched that of the Pride of Africa. From freshly baked pastries to a full English breakfast, guests can enjoy the start to their day in a light airy room filled with the warm morning sun.
There is simply no reason to tear yourself away from the relaxing ambiance of the Manor. The swimming pool and tanning deck allow you to soak up the sun and the breathtaking views, all the while being shielded from the wind.
Again, much like my experience on Rovos Rail, it was the service at St James Manor that truly stood out. The service here is attentive and professional with particular attention to detail. More than that, the people are friendly and accommodating. We were warmly welcomed, immediately making me feel as though I’d arrived at my home away from home. And it is for that reason that this establishment remains etched in my mind as a cut above the rest.