Gorgeous George, which was named Hotel of the Year at the 2019 AHEAD Middle East and Africa hospitality awards, is a 36-room renovation of a pair of historic buildings in downtown Cape Town, South Africa.
The project was the most heavily-awarded hotel at the ceremony, also taking home awards in the Renovation, Restoration & Conversion, Suite and Visual Identity categories.
Located in downtown Cape Town, Gorgeous George is a boutique hotel designed for both visitors and locals to enjoy, according to du Plessis.
"We set out to create an urban hotel, a hotel that became the lounge for the local neighbourhood," he says in the video interview, which was filmed by Dezeen in Dubai on the day of the awards ceremony.
"It's new to South Africa to have a hotel culture where people will meet at a bar in a hotel," he continued. "You get to live outside of the bubble of a curated South African experience, and you get to engage on ground level with people in Cape Town."
The project is a renovation of two heritage buildings, which were combined to form Gorgeous George by South African architecture studio Urbane Citizen.
Du Plessis designed the interiors to showcase the structural elements of the buildings, which had been concealed in the past.
"I think there's something beautiful about the patina of an old building," said du Plessis. "There were so many layers covering up the concrete beams and posts and steel columns in the space – we intended to strip all of that away and show off the best bits."
The high-ceilinged guest rooms feature furnishings and art pieces by locals, in order to demonstrate the vibrancy of contemporary South African design.
"It wasn't derivative, we weren't just importing ideas," du Plessis stated. "We wanted to create a space that spoke to what African design can be."
According to du Plessis, Gorgeous George is an alternative to the luxury beachside hotels in Cape Town.
"Gorgeous George speaks to a sector of the market that wants a different kind of luxury where they don't need a five star spa," he said. "They prefer the luxury of having social spaces, of having interaction with people that they might not have met before."
This video was produced by Dezeen for AHEAD. It was filmed at Bulgari Yacht Club in Dubai. Photography is courtesy of AHEAD and Tristan du Plessis.