More than just a pretty face: Cape Town hotel named 'Hotel of the Year' has big personality

Visionary (ENTP) or Mastermind (INTJ)? Probably a mash-up of personalities.

Like everything at the 32-room Gorgeous George Hotel, situated in downtown Cape Town, its a celebration in collaboration. 

As a latest addition to the Design Hotels range, located between St George’s Mall and Green Market Square, the hotel showcases the eccentricities of the Mother City - echoing the palpable energy felt in this often forgotten and neglected part of the inner-city.

READ: New hotels launching in SA 

This week the Ahead MEA Awards, the international Awards for Hospitality, Experience and Design, showered this boutique stay with awards. From acknowledging the renovations done to the interior of the two heritage buildings its situated in, to its industrial-style suites and it’s visual identity, it also won Hotel of the Year.

Yes, George is surely experiencing a personal(ity) high. 

The creative development of the Art Deco/New Edwardian boutique architecture hotel was a true collaborative effort: including creative directors, designers and brand development strategists, Jana + Koos (J+K), who teamed up with Kara Furter, Danielle de Matos and Katie Mills on design and brand intention, as well as Studio A led by Tristan du Plessis on interiors. 


(PHOTO: Design hotels/ Reiner Baumann /Claus Brechenmacher )


(PHOTO: Design hotels/ Reiner Baumann /Claus Brechenmacher ) 

Led by Jana + Koos Studio, Gorgeous George’s visual identity incorporates playful reds and pinks combined with strong, bold typography to portray the hotel’s eccentric, yet approachable personality. 


(PHOTO: Bert Pauw


(PHOTO: Antonia Steyn)  

“We always liken branding to creating and expressing an engaging personality, and we try to create these personalities in line with appealing characteristics (interesting, amusing, funny). It's communication at the end of the day, and 'approachable' is a very good way of putting it; what makes people approachable are often the same things that make brands, products and services approachable,” says Jana Hamman of Jana + Koos

The driving concept for Gorgeous George was to create a cultural space that shows off downtown Cape Town and introduces visitors to some of the brilliant creatives living and working in South Africa. 

“After all, who knows a city better than its locals,” says Hamman. 

The hotel wants to subtly (and not so subtly) show off locality. Not just place, but also the people that inhabit, create, live and love within that space.

“It wants to be a part of what you've come to experience, as opposed to just the place where you sleep and leave your bags,” adds Hamman.  

Jana says that the visual identity of the hotel resonates most with her when interpreted as a collaboration. Like these Delft tiles in the foyer and the work by Lucy deMoyencourt: 


(PHOTO: Design hotels/ Reiner Baumann /Claus Brechenmacher ) 

While design partner, Koos says the playful illustrated scarf that Jana drew is his favourite piece of Gorgeous George branding.

READ: Weekend checklist: The best new spots for a drink in your city 

In the end, the identity of a place is essentially the ultimate collaboration.  It's about unique interpretations of space, as it changes and evolves over time. “It's a platform rather than a plastering of copy and paste brand elements all over,” says Hamman. 

Gorgeous George, beautiful inside out. 

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