Exclusive:1508 London unveils its Cape Grace design transformation

Cape Grace, Cape Town’s iconic V&A Waterfront property, will be opening the doors to its transformation spearheaded by interior and architecture firm, 1508 London, who have paid homage to Cape Town’s evolution from a bustling trading port to a cosmopolitan hub with a design inspired by South Africa’s heritage, culture and craftsmanship…

cgi image of corner of bascule bar in cape grace in low light and warm colours

Located on the iconic V&A Waterfront and retaining the much-loved charm for which the hotel is historically known, Cape Grace, under new management by Fairmont, has been gracefully redesigned by international interior and architecture firm, 15o8 London. In a Hotel Designs exclusive, 1508 London takes us on its journey with a first-look at the interiors, which have been curated as a celebration of the country’s diverse narrative, from its array of landscapes and languages, vibrant art and fascinating cultures.

cream couches under glass chandelier with patterned woven carpet in cape grace lobby

Image credit: Accor/Cape Grace Hotel

Handpicked artwork has been chosen from local artists to be showcased throughout the property and materials have been chosen for a contemporary, understated look that harmonises with Cape Town and its natural surroundings. The redesign includes a new look for each of the 112 guestrooms and suites, which feature incredible views of either the Waterfront or the iconic Table Mountain, with the transformation extending to a new Fairmont Spa and culinary vision by the renowned Gregory Czarnecki.

seating with books and artwork in suite at cape grace

Image credit: Accor/Cape Grace Hotel

1508’s Dubai’s studio was appointed to transform every aspect of the Cape Grace hotel to create what is destined to become a modern classic, drawing upon the hotel’s revered location and the tranquillity of the surrounding landscapes of Cape Town. The renovation makes the most extensive makeover in its history, with every corner of the hotel reimagined to give guests an exceptional experience. The new works deliver a new foyer and reception, 112 new bedrooms and suites, a refreshed swimming pool and spa, signature restaurant, Library bar and the famous Bascule Bar.

wooden loungers and striped cabana style decor around pool with view to table mountain

Image credit: Accor/Cape Grace Hotel

Inspired by the Cape Grace’s iconic location delicate touches from the region are observed throughout the hotel’s design, taking the guests on an immersive journey of exploration and discovery.

“The Cape Grace renovation is undoubtedly an extraordinary project that brings this historical hotel into the future, keeping the spirit that made it the legend that it is, completely intact,” said Anthony Taylor, Design Principal, 15o8. “When crafting the interiors for the hotel we wanted a stay at the hotel to be not only a memorable experience, but an unforgettable journey both exclusive and unique.”

guestroom with wooden floor, patterned rug, round table and seating

Image credit: Accor/Cape Grace Hotel

Often marking the start or end of South African journeys, the property has undergone a radical interior transformation by the design team, intent to infuse a sense of adventure into every space. The concept of discovery takes centre stage, especially on the ground floor and Food & Beverage spaces, where a meticulous reimagination of the hotel planning and the customer journey unfolds. 15o8 has created a flowing and harmonious space, recognising the hotel as a haven for worldly travellers exploring the beauty of Cape Town and southern Africa, through an unforgettable journey of discovery and adventure.

black and white checked floor in bathroom with wood and marble surfaces

Image credit: Accor/Cape Grace Hotel

“In crafting The Cape Grace’s F&B spaces, we dedicated significant time and effort to curate an experience that transcends traditional dining,” continued Taylor. “Our goal was to fashion a place that not only engages your senses but also guides you through an unforgettable journey focusing on a classical contemporary reimagination of spaces. The essence lies in creating a profound depth of journey, weaving through the different ground floor areas, captivating people from the very moment they step into the hotel to the moment they leave. It’s about crafting an immersive experience that lingers long after your stay is over, leaving an indelible mark on every visitor.”

wooden shelving, mirrored bar and comfortable curved seating in the Library Bar

Image credit: Accor/Cape Grace Hotel

The overall conceptual direction for the Library Lounge was a ‘Traveller’s Den’ packed with curiosities, objects and books that will take you on a journey of discovery of the Cape Region, playing homage to what makes it so unique. The sense of unearthing these objects comes through the ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’, a concept where the designers have consciously curated a collection of books and items specific to the region, to spark the guest’s imagination.

Large windows have been strategically incorporated into the design, amplifying the space and allowing guests to reconnect with the breathtaking views of the Marina, Table Mountain and Lions Head. This design choice creates a seamless integration between the interior and the stunning natural surroundings, offering a relaxing setting for guests to unwind.

The central ‘Wanderlust’ bar serves as a focal point, providing a social hub for guests to gather and share their travel stories, with a bespoke wallcovering exquisitely executed to enclose the bar. A harmonious environment created with considered and bold furniture pieces and accentuated with one of a kind pieces, exploring playful and unique textures.

dining area with banquette seating under chandelier lighting and central bar

Image credit: Accor/Cape Grace Hotel

The restaurant design concept created by 15o8 is rooted in Cape Town’s botanical heritage. Guests will embark on a culinary journey through the ‘veld’ of South Africa, a home to a cacophony of fynbos, where flavours and aromas are plentiful throughout the seasons. The new and improved hotspot houses a centralised bar with a sophisticated private dining space, cosy nooks with plush seating, an open servery and large bay windows focussing on those incomparable views.

Drawing inspiration from the innate beauty of the natural world that surrounds the region, the design looked to the local flora and fauna for influences. It was important the design situates guests in Cape Town, allowing guests to experience the luxury, culinary delights and lifestyle unique to the location.

A composition of natural materials interlaced with stylised details tied together with a characteristic element of intricacy is reflected in the curated and rich furniture, fabrics and textures of the space. The design studios multi-sensory approach ensures that every aspect of the restaurant contributes to the overall experience, from the visual stimuli of the curated items to the captivating views and the social interactions around the bar.

dark speakeasy style in the Bascule Bar in Cape Grace

Image credit: Accor/Cape Grace Hotel

The hotel’s famous ‘Bascule Bar has been revitalised and the design plays homage to some of the historical heritage of South Africa, drawing on the Shebeen culture. The new Bascule Bar will be a loving recreation of the original. The mysterious appeal of a Speakeasy Bar is enhanced by the subdued, atmospheric lighting and the dark colours of the interior. Inspired from the Prohibition Era and the birth of the South African Shebeens, 1508 looked to the vibrant culture that surrounded them to draw inspiration for this space.

The interior tones of the space celebrate the warm hues of the whiskey, the reflections from the crystal glass and the warm timbers reminiscent of the whiskey barrels. The artwork celebrates the ‘Shebeen Queen’ through a series of paintings that depict strong African women painted by local South African artists. these are paired with a selection of prints of music albums by South African musicians that played at these historical Shebeens.

patterned natural woven rug under double bed in guestroom with art on wall and wooden surfaces

Image credit: Accor/Cape Grace Hotel

The focus of each bedroom is the view and natural light, with many of the reimagined signature and junior suites boasting balconies with a spectacular outlook over the  iconic Cape Town landscapes. The material palette reinforces the timeless refined design aesthetic of the hotel by combining a contemporary design with a classic, modernist style.

The rooms feature elegant wall panelling with furnishings in softer forms. The warm colour palette is influenced by African heritage hues of deep blue, greens and maroon. Bespoke rugs bring in the fun interplay of colour and pattern synonymous with African design.

decorative ceiling in dining area and lounge with view across cape town and bar seating by kitchen in suite

Image credit: Accor/Cape Grace Hotel

Completing the story and a new addition to the hotel, the Cape Grace Suite is an elevated space situated on the fourth floor, with an unprecedented view of Table Mountain. Bringing forth luxury and comfort through elegant interiors, combined with bold features, the Royal Suite is curated to provide guests with an opulent experience. The design integrates a fully customised bar with an adjoining butler’s pantry to complete the luxe experience. The lounge and dining area is formed with modest, comfortable furniture accentuated with considered lighting features and a bespoke study nook.

Main image credit: Accor/Cape Grace Hotel