The Royal Hotel is one of the oldest hotels in South Africa, and always has been operational as such. Although by many referred as it’s little sister, our hotel was already licensed as such even before the architect of the famous (and also very colonial) Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town was born.
The last structural change to the hotel was made in 1927 when the arched stoep was added, as seen on the picture taken after the completion. We like to think that sitting on this famous stoep inspired our Valley’s most known “child” Jan Smuts, when he wrote the preamble of one of the world’s most important institutions, assuring its existance up till today. We are talking of course, about the United Nations. After 8 years having been prime minister of South Africa, Smuts lost the elections in 1948 to Daniel Malan – also from Riebeek. Although grown up together, Malan became the prime minister to install the Apartheid laws while Smuts can be seen as the first anti-apartheid politician. Although The Royal was the meeting place in those days, its hard to imagine them having a drink together. With the introduction of those apartheid laws, a small part of the stoep of the hotel was used to create non-white bathrooms which were removed again in 2005 bringing the stoep back to its original state. As the hotel falls under South African Heritage no changes will be made and so The Royal will be preserved well into the future.
Riebeek Kasteel is one of the oldest towns in South Africa, situated at 75 km from Cape Town in The Riebeek Valley together with its sister town Riebeek West. During 1661 Commander Jan van Riebeeck initiated an inland discovery expedition under the leadership of Pieter Cruythoff. They set off in the direction of Paardeberg and on 3 February 1661 they ascended a lonely mountain and came upon the fertile vista of the Riebeek Valley.They named it Riebeek Kasteel, in honor of the Commander. In the 19th century both Jan Smuts and Daniel Malan were born in the outskirts later both becoming prime ministers of the country. Subsequently farmers established themselves in the valley and during 1900 the town was laid out in and around its existing church and its neighbor The Royal Hotel, the oldest hotel of South Africa. The town eventually developed and today it houses more or less 2700 residents including some of South Africa?s most famous painters attracted by the picturesque surroundings of the valley and is Riebeek Kasteel especially popular for that esthetical beauty and rural atmosphere.The town also serves as a satellite, a residential settlement for Paarl, Malmesbury and even the Metropole area. Often Riebeek Kasteel is referred as “the best kept secret of the Western Cape.”