“It’s true, the Dorp rooms should come with a health warning: Pack contraception.” Ryan, Dorp’s urbane host, offers a wry take on what those-who-know describe as Cape Town’s most romantic hotel. Not that Dorp is a hotel, exactly. Sure it has the essential trappings – room service, turn down and so on – but the experience is more ineffable.

Dorp means village in the local lingo but for its inimitable creator, Gail Behr, it was also an acronym: D for Decency, O for Objectivity, R for Respect and P for Psycho. One of many fabulous examples of Behr’s quirky wit – where else can you book into a Witness Protection Room, or find a card pinned next the Salon suggesting that the best thing to order, if you are a gluten-intolerant vegan allergic to nuts, is a taxi?

Perched at the very top of Signal Hill, the harbour and twinkling city spread below like a dinky toy town, dwarfed by the grand massif of Table Mountain and craggy Devils Peak. An unassuming entrance – no signage, no doorman – but a warm welcome once you step inside. In the Salon, pink floral sofas and antique tables piled high with books and plants. Comfortable armchairs, fireplaces, large arched doors framing the most gorgeous city views, and a rooftop that makes you see why this is the most beautiful city in the world.

Beyond the “Residents Only” sign, a compound of cottages and double storey buildings, every room unique and artfully decorated, clustered around a fairytale garden through which birds and butterflies flit. It’s otherworldly up here, an opulent and tranquil cocoon, grand and unpretentious in equal measure. Another warning: you won’t want to leave. Some guests, like Ryan, literally never do.

Stuff we love

Village with a view

  • Dining on Dorp’s rooftop with the best views of the city, the harbour and Table Mountain.
  • Like The Eagles famous Hotel California, this is the kind of place where you might check out, but which you will never leave.
  • The boom of the Noon Day Gun. It may catch you unawares the first time, but it quickly becomes part of the rhythm of your day.

Dorp in pictures

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