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27 Feb 2017

Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel launches a self-guided walking tour of its gardens

Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel launches a self-guided walking tour of one of the most special private gardens of Cape Town.

Overview

The ultimate travel curator and connoisseur, Belmond creates exceptional experiences worldwide. Our global collection of 46 iconic hotels, trains and river cruises in 22 countries brings together some of the world's most thrilling journeys and destinations.

You'll find us in the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia. Our great travel experiences range from Belmond Hotel Cipriani in Venice to Rio's Belmond Copacabana Palace, from the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train to Belmond Grand Hotel Europe in St Petersburg. Journey with us across the Andes, through IndoChina and around Italy's most famous sights.

Our Collection
Our iconic hotels, trains and river cruisers are part of a diverse portfolio that embraces some of the globe’s most thrilling destinations. Just some of our remarkable locations include the entrance to Machu Picchu, the national park surrounding Brazil’s Iguassu Falls and beside Rio’s Copacabana beach.

Great journeys are at the heart of all our luxury experiences, whether travelling by train from Singapore to Bangkok or around our collection of Italian hotels. We escort our guests on exciting excursions through Peru and between the magical temples of Cambodia and Laos.

Belmond offers exceptional venues for every gathering from grand conferences to intimate retreats. Our unrivalled expertise makes us the specialists of choice among event planners worldwide.

History

The Belmond portfolio has grown from a single hotel into a carefully curated collection of travel adventures, each with its own story to tell. It was founded by London-based American entrepreneur James B Sherwood, known as “the father of container leasing”, who had established the Sea Containers company in 1965. As he explained: “I decided to diversify my marine container company into another activity so as not to have all our eggs in one basket. My work saw me constantly travelling the world, and I had long taken a keen interest in luxury hotels and restaurants. It was then that the manager of the Hotel Cipriani in Venice called me up to tell me that its owners, the Guinness family, were selling the property…”

Sherwood went on to purchase the hotel in 1976. Since its acquisition, new hotels, trains, river cruises and safaris worldwide have joined the portfolio—later named Orient-Express Hotels. Many of these have been restored and transformed; others have been newly created. In 2014 the portfolio was renamed Belmond.

Here we offer a glimpse of the portfolio, which continues to develop and expand.

1976
Belmond Hotel Cipriani is acquired for £900,000 (US$1.4 million), It is considered a daring purchase as Italy’s Red Brigades are in the midst of a bombing campaign and a Communist coup is expected. The hotel is superbly positioned on Giudecca island, across the lagoon from St Mark’s Square, in gardens that feature an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

1977
Auction of vintage Orient Express carriages by Sotheby's in Monte Carlo. The huge publicity generated by their sale inspires Sherwood's vision to launch the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. He scours Europe for original 1920s sleeper and parlour carriages and restores them. Some of the work is carried out by descendants of the craftsmen who built them.

1982
Belmond Villa San Michele, Florence, Italy, joins the portfolio. The façade of this former monastery is attributed to Michelangelo and its Michelangelo Suite, once the monks’ library, was Napoleon Bonaparte’s Florence headquarters. Its Loggia restaurant, with views over Florence’s rooftops, is often described as one of the world’s most romantic places to dine.

The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express launches. The train’s beautifully restored vintage carriages—among them a restaurant car with Lalique glass panels and a sleeping car that served as a brothel during World War II and later became part of the royal Dutch train—link destinations including London, Paris, Venice, Istanbul, Prague and, most recently, Berlin.

Belmond British Pullman launches, offering day excursions in restored vintage carriages decorated with exquisite marquetry to great British destinations including cities, country houses and sporting venues. This beautiful train also forms part of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express experience.

1983
Belmond Hotel Splendido, in the hills overlooking Italy’s Portofino harbour, joins the portfolio. A former monastery, it is set in terraced gardens with breathtaking views.

1988
Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel is acquired. Dating from 1899, this landmark hotel at the centre of Cape Town is surrounded by magnificent gardens overlooked by Table Mountain.

1989
Belmond Copacabana Palace, Rio, is acquired. Dating from 1923, this art deco landmark beside Copacabana Beach is one of Brazil’s most glamorous addresses.

1992
Belmond Safaris, comprising Belmond Eagle Island Lodge (Okavango Delta), Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge (Chobe National Park) and Belmond Khwai River Lodge (Moremi Reserve) is acquired. These three Botswana hideaways, in exceptional locations secured at the inception of photographic safaris, are surrounded by contrasting habitats and an unparalleled range of wildlife.

1993
The Eastern & Oriental Express luxury train in southeast Asia launches. Travelling through rainforests and among dramatic mountains, its routes link Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

1995
‘21’, New York City, becomes part of the portfolio. Dating from 1929 and the USA’s Prohibition Era, this celebrated restaurant started life as an infamous speakeasy patronised by New York’s elite. Today, its Bar Room and romantic Upstairs at ‘21’. are complemented by the secret Wine Cellar, one of 10 private dining rooms.

Belmond Charleston Place joins the portfolio. Located in the heart of historic Charleston, USA, just steps from all the key attractions, this glamorous hotel is renowned for its Southern hospitality, acclaimed dining and fabulous rooftop pool and spa.

Belmond Road to Mandalay is transported from the Rhine in Europe to Myanmar where she launches on the Ayeyarwady River. She glides from heritage cities including Mandalay and Bagan through landscapes untouched by time.

1996
Belmond Reid’s Palace, Madeira, joins the portfolio. Set in celebrated gardens on a promontory overlooking the Atlantic, this landmark hotel has hosted royalty, aristocrats and many other celebrated guests since it opened in 1891.

Belmond La Samanna, St Martin, is acquired. This stylish Caribbean resort sits beside the island’s most spectacular beach. It offers both suites and private villas and is known for its French-accented Caribbean cuisine.

1998
Belmond Splendido Mare, on Italy’s lively Portofino waterfront, is acquired. Its guests share the amenities of Belmond Hotel Splendido high above the harbour.

1999
Belmond Hotel Caruso, Ravello, joins the portfolio, reopening in 2005 after major restoration. Dating from the 11th century, the building once belonged to a patrician Roman family; it enjoys spectacular views from lemon-scented gardens over Italy’s Amalfi Coast.

Belmond Hotel Monasterio, Peru, joins the portfolio. A former 17th-century monastery at the heart of Cusco, it features a cluster of arcaded courtyards and a baroque chapel decorated with centuries-old art treasures.

Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, Machu Picchu, joins the portfolio. The only hotel beside Peru’s great Inca citadel, this former retreat for archaeologists visiting the historic site sits in orchid gardens and is truly magical at dawn and dusk.

Inn at Perry Cabin by Belmond, Maryland, USA, joins the porfolio. This elegant early 19th-century former residence of a distinguished seaman sits in gardens by Chesapeake Bay. It is a popular venue for celebrations and for sailing and watersports.

2000
Belmond Northern Belle launches. Designed in the style of Britain’s great 1930s “Belle” trains, it travels among a wide variety of UK destinations including country houses and sporting occasions, on day and weekend excursions.

The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Ibis, a British Pullman carriage, is transported by ship for display in Wall Street to mark the occasion.

2001
Belmond Miraflores Park, Lima, is acquired. This contemporary hotel in stylish Miraflores enjoys spectacular vistas of the Pacific Ocean from its clifftop garden setting.

2002
Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa, on Mexico’s Riviera Maya, joins the collection. A haven of wellbeing, this elegant resort sits among jungle, beside a spectacular sweep of sand.

Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Oxfordshire, joins the portfolio. Set in glorious gardens in the English countryside, it is famed for the Michelin-starred cuisine of its chef-patron, Raymond Blanc OBE.

Belmond La Residencia in Deià, Mallorca, is acquired. Twin historic manor houses among olive and citrus groves, it sits beside the Mediterranean on the island’s tranquil northern coast.

2003
Belmond Hiram Bingham, Peru launches. This luxury train links Cusco and Machu Picchu on exceptional day trips that feature elegant cuisine and live musical entertainment.

2004
Belmond Afloat in France joins the company. These five luxury barges ply the quiet canals and rivers of France, gliding through Burgundy and Provence, and along the Canal du Midi. Two further barges will join the collection in 2017.

Belmond El Encanto, Santa Barbara, USA is acquired and an extensive programme of restoration begins.

Belmond Royal Scotsman joins the portfolio (before full acquisition in 2007). This beautiful train, with en suite cabins for 40 guests, weaves a variety of routes through Scotland and the UK. In 2016 a spa car is added.

2005
Belmond Grand Hotel Europe, St Petersburg, joins the portfolio. Located just steps from great museums and theatres including The Hermitage, the hotel is a cultural hub in itself. Dating from 1875, the hotel’s rich and varied heritage includes a guest list featuring Dostoevsky, Tchaikovsky and Rasputin.

Belmond Hotel Caruso, Ravello, Italy, reopens after meticulous restoration. This historic building boasts frescoes that were restored under strict heritage guidelines by top experts.

2006
Belmond Casa de Sierra Nevada, San Miguel de Allende, is acquired. This cluster of historic Mexican courtyard houses sits at the heart of this heritage city.

Belmond La Résidence Phou Vao, Luang Prabang, Laos is acquired from the Pansea group, (together with the following five Asian hotels). Superbly situated on the edge of this heritage city, with views of verdant mountains.

Belmond Jimbaran Puri, Bali, is acquired. Villas designed in local style sit among tropical gardens beside Bali’s finest beach, with easy access to the island’s many temples and other cultural sites.

Belmond La Résidence d’Angkor is acquired. Set beside the river at the heart of Siem Reap, Cambodia, this elegant resort is ideally placed for visiting the temples of Angkor Wat.

Belmond Governor’s Residence, Yangon, Myanmar, is acquired. A superbly restored 1920s teak mansion in the Embassy District, convenient for visiting the Shwedagon pagoda, it is surrounded by beautiful gardens dotted with lotus pools.

Belmond Napasai, Koh Samui, Thailand, is acquired. Set among cashew and coconut groves on the island’s calm north coast, this haven of tranquility has its own private beach.

2007
Belmond Hotel das Cataratas is acquired. The only hotel in Brazil’s Iguassu National Park, it dates from 1958 and overlooks the waterfalls. Its guests can explore the park when it is closed to regular visitors, including on full moon nights to view the lunar rainbow that arches over the falls.

2010
Belmond Hotel Rio Sagrado, Peru, joins the portfolio. This tranquil Sacred Valley retreat beside the Urubamba River has all the atmosphere of an Andean village and is an ideal base for visiting Machu Picchu.

Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo, Taormina, Sicily, is acquired. Tracing its history back to 1850, this landmark at the heart of Taormina sits adjacent to the Greek Theatre and enjoys breathtaking views of Mount Etna.

Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea, Taormina Mare, Sicily, joins the portfolio. This idyllic beachfront retreat in sub-tropical gardens retains all the atmosphere of its inception as a 19th-century private residence.

2012
Belmond Palacio Nazarenas, Cusco, Peru, opens after four years of restoration. This former palace and convent, built on Inca walls, fuses a fascinating history with contemporary dining and a spa.

2013
Belmond El Encanto, Santa Barbara, USA, reopens after extensive refurbishment following its acquisition by the company in 2004. This historic hideaway, dating from 1918, sits in lush gardens high above the California Coast, with vistas out to sea.

Belmond Orcaella launches on Myanmar’s great Ayeyarwady and Chindwin Rivers. This intimate luxury cruise ship links great heritage destinations with remote villages and tropical rainforest.

2016
Belmond Grand Hibernian launches. Ireland’s first luxury overnight touring train, it carries 40 guests on 2-, 4- and 6-day tours of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, visiting highlights from Belfast’s Titanic Experience to Blarney Castle.

2017
Belmond Cadogan Hotel is scheduled to open. One of London’s most exclusive hotels, this prestigious Sloane Street residence dates from 1887. It is undergoing extensive restoration and is being redesigned with contemporary flair.

Two new Belmond Afloat in France luxury barges are set to launch. Belmond Lilas will tour Alsace, stopping in Strasbourg and for tours of exclusive wineries. Belmond Pivoine will tour the Champagne region, with visits to great châteaux and heritage sites.

Belmond Andean Explorer will launch in the Andes of Peru. This luxury overnight train will make one- and two-night journeys between Cusco, Lake Titicaca and Arequipa, with stops for excursions and the option to continue on to the Colca Canyon, home of the condor.

Meet the Team

All our hotels, trains and river cruisers have their own distinct personalities and are managed by dedicated teams who are encouraged to participate and contribute new ideas. Our staff combine expertise and enthusiasm to create a truly memorable travel experience. Their aim is to add delight and inspiration to every celebratory occasion and business event.

Roeland Vos, President and Chief Executive Officer
Appointed by Belmond’s Board of Directors as President and Chief Executive Officer in September 2015, Mr Vos is committed to accelerating the execution of the Company’s aggressive growth strategy. The strategy calls for the Company to double in size over the next five years, both in terms of number of properties and the amount of annual EBIDTA. Mr Vos is also responsible for driving forward and building on the success of the Belmond 2014 re-brand, which aims to increase market-place recognition, attract new guests and cross visitation across the Company’s unique luxury portfolio.

Mr Vos, who has served on Belmond’s Board since June 2014, is a proven leader with over 30 years of hospitality experience, including 12 years as the President of Europe, Africa and Middle East division of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, where he grew the number of Starwood’s hotels in the region from 127 to 243 and revenues to over $4 billion. He joined ITT Sheraton, a predecessor of Starwood, in 1982 and held progressively senior hotel operating and management positions, including President, Europe and Senior Vice President and Area Director, Italy and Malta, during which period he was an integral part of the introduction and expansion of the Luxury Collection.

In addition to serving on the Board of Belmond, he is on the boards of the Joa Group, a private company that operates 21 casinos in France, and Albron B.V., a Dutch foundation that operates catering and restaurant businesses in the Netherlands and Belgium.

Mr Vos sites unlocking the potential of Belmond through disciplined capital allocation, reinvesting in existing properties, collaboration with the management team and continuing to drive longer-term shareholder value as his key motivators. He travels extensively on business and is based at Belmond’s head office in London.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Belmond is committed to responsible tourism. Whether working with community farming and craft projects or supporting housing and medical initiatives, we aim to help in ways appropriate to each location.

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Press Contacts

Samantha Strawford

Samantha Strawford

Brand Communications Director (Global)

Belmond Ltd

(+) 44 (0) 203 117 1379

samantha.strawford@belmond.com

Jordana Gualtieri

Jordana Gualtieri

Alice Marshall Public Relations

(+) 1 212 861 4031

jordanna@alicemarshall.com

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