Originally known as the Beach Hotel, it was renamed The Chapmans Peak Hotel in 1961 when the owners Max and Molly Goodman decided, due to the popularity of Chapmans Peak Drive the new name would be more appropriate. ´Chappies´, as the pub was affectionately called was the place to go for fishing yarns. It was undoubtedly Hout Bay´s information centre for all fishing activities and stories. If you want to know "who, what, or when", about fishing you went to Chappies on a Friday night.
The present hotel was built after the original Beach Hotel was gutted by fire in 1903. The fire started when the manger Mr Roche was counting the day´s takings and a lamp fell from a table and started the blaze. No one was injured in the fire and luckily the hotel was insured.
The only loss of any consequence appears to have been the entire bridal wardrobe of the manager´s daughter, who was soon to be married!
The hotel was completely destroyed and the owner, Mr Scott had a tent erected in the grounds where the pub and the off sales continued business as usual. Plans and work on the new building commenced immediately.
The entrance to the new hotel, which does not exist anymore, was an alcove formed by a semi-circular arch with seats on either side of the door .Mr Scott had an exact replica of this entrance built into his home ´Ocean View´ on the corner of Scott and Johan Streets. Due to alterations over the years the interior has undergone a number of changes, the most drastic when star-ratings for South Africa hotels was introduced. Fortunately many of the original features are still intact. Four fireplaces still have their irreplaceable art nouveau tiles, marble sides and mantles and old iron gratings with brass embellishments. The folding doors between the dining room and the sitting room, the sturdy teak bar counter, the pillars with moulded Corinthian capitals, the windows and the high ceilings are reminders of the gracious early 1900s and mustached gentlemen and corseted ladies in long skirts and leg-o-mutton sleeves.
In the loft on the second floor sloping ceilings and attic windows are panelled with ceiling boards so much a feature of that period.
An outside canteen came about after liquor laws in 1928 made it compulsory to serve food with alcohol. Fire escapes, widened passages, and bathrooms were added to comply with regulations and the Plaza Espana was built on in 1963.
There are many legends associated with the hotel: ´from the early days when some bar patrons insisted on having their drinks while mounted on their steeds inside the establishment´.
The hotel has evolved over the years and the bar has remained a constant part of this evolution. The bar lounge have a history spanning over a century and many a significant event had its inception and conclusion in the smoky midst of the warm teak interior.
The Nobrega family has run this establishment since 1977 and the new generation has undertaken the restoration and renovation of this historic landmark .The bar has been refurbished in its glorious past, and is now a sophisticated yet accessible wine bar with a cigar and cocktail lounge. The bar counter is made of teak timber sourced from local shipwrecks and a lot of love has gone into the makeover of this essential component of Hout Bay life.
Chapmans Peak Hotel has become the grand old lady of outdoor seafood restaurants in Cape Town with decades of worldwide reputation for its famous calamari and seafood. This famous Hout Bay establishment was the originator of the ´seafood-in-a-pan´ concept and is still very much in demand for a languid Sunday lunch to be enjoyed on the Terrace on a sunny day or in the warmth of the spacious Dining Room on a chilly day. The large sun-drenched terrace, with breath-taking views of the bay, beach and valley is a popular spot with locals and the movers-and-shakers alike.
The hotel has occupied the site since the 1880s and was the earliest such seaside establishments in the Cape, with the beach reaching its front porch it was a popular venue; nowadays, the world-famous Chapmans Peak Drive passes its front door and many a tourist has stopped to quench their thirst and enjoy a meal before crossing over to the Fish Hoek valley.