Historic mansion on the market

An historic seaside mansion overlooking the St James beachfront on False Bay has come onto the market exclusively through Pam Golding Properties (PGP).  

“Rodwell House” is a Mediterranean-style residence, currently operating as a boutique hotel, but would be equally well-suited as a luxurious private residence for a large family or those who entertain frequently.  Occupying close to 2800sqm, the property is on the market at R23 million.
PGP’s area manager for the South Peninsula, Sandi Gildenhuys, says the gracious home was built by James Benjamin Taylor, a key figure in South Africa’s early mining era.  

‘“Lucky Jim” Taylor, as he was known, made his fortune in diamonds and gold in the late 19th century,’ she says.  “He became a confidant of then-president Paul Kruger, acting as intermediary between the government and the mining industry. Having left the country prior to the Anglo-Boer War, Taylor returned to the Cape after World War One, and oversaw the construction of Rodwell House in the 1930’s. Influential guests over the years included key movers and shakers in both politics and economics, among them former deputy Prime Minister Deneys Reitz, who spent many afternoons fishing with Taylor in False Bay.”

The elegant manor house was converted into a boutique hotel in 2005, and the facility has since developed a reputation for luxury and magnificent views.  The interiors were renovated to the highest standards of modern comfort without compromising on the building’s inherent grace and charm.  Original features such as period fireplaces and a magnificent teak staircase were preserved during this process.  Over 1600sqm of living space includes nine luxurious bedroom suites, most with their own private balconies.  There are also a number of spacious reception rooms, among them a lavish drawing room with original wooden floors and fireplace.  Multiple doorways lead from this room onto a large covered veranda, ideal for outdoor entertaining with its views over the terraced gardens, swimming pool and ocean.

The gourmet kitchen has commercial-standard appliances, and includes an entertainment area with a chef’s table and fireplace, capable of seating 50 guests.  A second kitchen services the treed barbecue terrace for large-scale entertaining.  Other features of the home include a media room, fully-equipped gymnasium, sea-view lounge and bar, and refrigerated walk-in wine cellar capable of holding 10 000 bottles. Air-conditioning and under-floor heating ensure a pleasant ambient temperature all year round, while a lift provides convenient access to all three floors.  The home also has ample office/small conference facilities and staff accommodation.  The large terraced and landscaped garden includes a large swimming pool fed by a mountain stream, aboules court, vine-covered walkways, a pond and established trees.

PGP’s MD for the Western Cape metro region, Laurie Wener, says the St James lifestyle is an enviable one.  “Homes in the village are sandwiched between sea and mountain - a scenic and sheltered position offering spectacular views, beautiful sunsets and even whale-watching from the comfort of one’s own front veranda,” she says.  “The quaint art galleries, craft shops and bustling restaurants of Kalk Bay are just a few minutes away, yet within St James itself there is a small-town atmosphere and an air of laid-back summer living, all year round.  The beach is one of the safest for swimming along the whole False Bay coastline, famous for its tidal pool and brightly-coloured beach huts.  And there is an easy commute to major shopping, sporting medical and educational facilities, all within a 15 minute radius.”

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