Townhouse Hotel closes after 50 years

Cape Town, 25 March 2021

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When Francois and Kitty Petousis purchased the Trocadero from South African Breweries in 1968 and demolished it to create the 107-room Townhouse Hotel, they laid the foundation upon which the portfolio of Petousis Hotels was built. The Townhouse, launched in 1971, was followed by the iconic Vineyard Hotel in Newlands in 1981.

The next generation of Petousis’ continued to build on their parents’ vision, entrepreneurial spirit, values, passion and unique approach to hospitality, launching the Oude Werf in Stellenbosch in 2007.

The announcement then, that the Townhouse Hotel was to close on 31 March 2021, marked the end of an era in Cape Town hospitality history.

“Four years ago, we could see that Cape Town’s inner-city was experiencing a revival. We had a dream for the Townhouse as a mixed-use development and invested significantly in its future role in rejuvenating the city centre precinct,” says Lex Petousis, Director and a shareholder of the group. “In line with this, several opportunities and partnership models presented themselves to us, and the global pandemic hit.

“We could not have imagined the impact that Covid would have on the global tourism industry, the extended impact this has had on South Africa’s hospitality sector and our family business particularly. As a result, we made the difficult decision to close the hotel.”

“There is a deep element of sadness,” says CEO, George Petousis. “Our Townhouse team have played such an integral part in the Petousis family story, many of whom have been with us for decades and have invested years of service to delivering our vision and creating memorable experiences for our guests.

“We are facing another tough year in the hospitality industry with the ongoing effects of Covid,” he said. “As a family business, our focus is to continue weathering the global pandemic storm whilst retaining as many jobs as possible and to always offer our guests an exceptional destination experience.”

New owner and operator, Murray Clark of Neighbourgood, plans to transition the Townhouse property infrastructure from a traditional hotel to a modern living and workspace offering. “Our plans for the property envisage connected communities of young working professionals. This vision aligns well with the revival plans for the precinct and the people who are making the inner city their home for both work and play,” says Clark.

“We are excited to enter a different partnership which will see our involvement change from being a hotel operator and owner to an arms-length property shareholder with Neighbourgood. We are handing over the property on 31 March and our April Townhouse bookings will be transferred and hosted at our luxury Vineyard Hotel in Newlands,” concludes Lex Petousis.