St James Manor & St James Seaforth Guesthouses
St James, historically known as ‘millionaire’s mile’, is making its comeback as one of the trendiest places to stay in Cape Town. Just over a kilometre in length, this prestigious little stretch along the coastline of False Bay is where Rovos Rail has established its two five-star guesthouses – St James Manor and St James Seaforth.
The main road through to Kalk Bay Harbour is Mediterranean in style and a trove of novel antique shops, delicatessens, sidewalk cafés, boutiques and art galleries. A mere five-minute walk away, fresh fish can be bought from the local fishermen and the harbour itself has charming restaurants offering home-style cuisine and fine-dining experiences.
The area still boasts the colourful Victorian bathing boxes and grand old houses reflecting the splendour of the early gold- and diamond-mining era. In front of the guesthouses, across the road, you will find the famous tidal pools and swimming beaches. A favourite pastime is the early morning swim in the temperate waters of St James. The area also offers interesting walks along the historic promenade and up the imposing mountains, which provide an impressive backdrop to both houses. Perhaps the biggest attraction is the land-based whale watching. In season they appear literally metres from the shoreline and can be seen clearly from both properties.
St James Manor, built one hundred years ago, overlooks the trendy and vibrant fishing village of Kalk Bay. It has an aura of grandeur and old-world charm with a magnificent wood-panelled staircase and six large suites, each of which bears the name of historic, local characters of St James and are individually decorated to reflect the opulent times of a bygone era. The Manor has several attractive reception rooms for meetings and social gatherings, a library, a bar and a breakfast room as well as an elegant dining room where, on request, dinners can be hosted. Carved into the mountain is a private and wind-protected swimming pool and tanning deck with majestic views across False Bay and the Indian Ocean.
St James Seaforth is also set above the coastal road with spectacular ocean views. The original house, built in 1877 and destroyed by a fire in 1939, was rebuilt in 1940 and looks onto a beautiful stretch of beach well-known to the surfing community. The property has been refurbished to create a modern guesthouse with a casual but elegant atmosphere in keeping with its seaside village location. The three upstairs en-suite bedrooms are engaging and stylish as are the spacious downstairs facilities, which include a breakfast and dining room, a well-equipped kitchen and a large lounge and study that flow onto the verandah, pool and gym. St James Seaforth is perfect to hire as a unit for a family or group of friends.