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  • Writer's pictureAnji Connell

The Robertson Small Hotel Is Small But Perfectly formed.

“It‘s generally said that "Small is beautiful," and in this case, it's very true, The Robertson Small Hotel is small and a perfectly formed.”

Owner Abigail Rands, and designer friend Sophie Ashby have created a wonderfully small world of delights, a perfect stop for discovering one of the longest wine routes in the world, Route 62, as it unfurls through the arid landscape of the Little Karoo just two hours from Cape Town.

You'll find The Small in Robertson, a small country town on the Breede river banks, flanked by mountains in the Valley of Wine and Roses. From a street lined with Victorian and Edwardian architecture and purple-flowering Jacaranda trees, The Small is hidden within gorgeous gardens. From the moment you enter through the gates, you know you have happened across a little gem, a world of beauty, harmony, and serenity. The main building, a Victorian Manor House, has three suites with typically high, embossed ceilings, the reception, a bar, wine room, and restaurant, that lead out to a wrought-iron-edged verandah, and the terrace is set within a lovely lawned garden with many shaded spots to share a picnic and sip locally made wines, and bubbles.

Cactus and succulents thrive in the area, and The Small has the most fun and fabulous cactus garden, complete with sun loungers and a rug of succulent plants.

The stable building has three suites with a shared pool, and there are four suites from which you can splash straight into the pool from your veranda.

The Small Restaurant serves a classic menu that elevates the best in local produce—Chris Erasmus of Foliage in Franschhoek oversees the kitchen team.

The Small bar, the Em Bar, has the distinctive touch of Michael Chandler, artist, curator, designer, and founder of Chandler House, a gallery-studio-store in the heart of Cape Town. The bar counter in Chandler's signature blue and white ceramic work pays homage to late resident, the mysterious 'Tannie Em' who is said to have enjoyed a drink before bed.

Passionate about art, Chandler hosts monthly exhibitions in his Voorkamer Gallery and has curated the Smalls latest art collection.

Em Bar serves cocktails, craft liquors such as Hope on Hopkins gin and Bain's Cape Mountain whisky with a range of syrups and cordials made on site, and of course delicious local wines.

Morné Visagie, a South African artist, printmaker, and curator, will curate The Small art from this month. Morné is the co-founder of Art Gazette, an alternative online art platform for curating international art collections, and the curator for OPEN24HRS, a non-commercial gallery space in Cape Town.

The Wellness Room is darling, a small detached cottage where you can luxuriate in deliciously pampering anti-oxidant-rich wine-based treatments from local TheravineTM.

London-based designer Sophie Ashby of Studio Ashby has roots in South Africa's wine country and took inspiration from the local landscape's colours, floral, fauna, and mountains in her 2016 revamp. Although each room has a recognisable Small identity, they have an individual character and quirkiness. Individually selected custom pieces and artwork from local designers are evident throughout the hotel, from the room key chains from Pitchulik, a custom playlist curated from Roastin' Records, and a signature scent concocted by House of Gozdawa

The result is light, colourful, and whimsical, with a wonderful warmth and soul that celebrates local creativity and respects the Victorian aesthetic.

The Small has curated a selection of bespoke experiences for guests to enjoy. Each of the ten bedrooms comes with a Small Guide to Small Experiences: twenty-three cards of curated things to do from wine, tequila, and whiskey tasting, to lavender and olive sampling and cruising along the Breede river. It's impossible to do them all, which is fine - you have all the excuses, should you need one to return.

The Small is a very special place in a still-secret spot, with so much to offer and many reasons to linger. Pool by day, evenings spent leisurely tucking into local delights in the Small Restaurant followed by drinks in the small EM bar.

Image Credit: ACID+ | The Small Robertson Hotel

*A must-visit in the area is Sheilam Cactus and Succulent Nursery that has been owned and operated by the Schwegmann family since 1967 boasts around 2000 species of plants. You'll see all the greats here, such as The Old Man of Peru, Mother-in-Law's-Chair, Horses' Teeth, Elephant Feet, Klipplante (stone plants), Bushman's Grape and lots more!

House of Gozdawa makes exclusively natural fragrances inspired by the African continent using unique and indigenous natural ingredients.

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