Historic Cape Town Landmark to Transform into Artist Residency and Boutique Hotel

The LENOX

Well-known historic landmark in Cape Town, The LENOX, is to be transformed into an artist residency and boutique hotel.

This groundbreaking initiative marks a pivotal movement in South Africa’s cultural landscape as it becomes France’s first artist residency established in a public-private partnership model. It will also create a unique boutique hotel, operated and managed by Newmark Hotels & Reserves, where guests can interact with transcontinental artists.

This announcement follows the signing of an official letter of commitment to solidify development plans between The French Ambassador to South Africa, Lesotho and Malawi, his Excellency David Martinon and MEMORIST’s Director of Corporate Development, Sophie Taïeb. MEMORIST, a division of MOBILITAS, is a preservation and heritage valorisation company.

Situated in the central Cape Town suburb of Gardens, The LENOX is one of the oldest buildings in the area dating back to 1897. It was originally designed as a hotel and will now be meticulously restored by MEMORIST into an upscale luxury, 47-room boutique property. Scheduled to open in 2026, the arts-focused hotel will offer a specialized restaurant and conference facilities. The existing parking lot will be restored as a peaceful garden for guests to relax in.

An entire floor of the hotel will be customized into a permanent art residence. This will draw talent from South Africa, the African continent and France and will provide a creative haven for up to nine artists annually. It’s location, in the heart of the cultural centre of Cape Town, a short walk from the Iziko South African National Gallery and other leading galleries and studios, will also ensure that the artists feel connected and are fully immersed during their residencies. Hotel guests will have the opportunity to directly interact with the artists, visit their studios and watch as their artworks take shape. The hotel will also display a changing array of original art produced by its resident artists.

“Newmark prides itself on creating bespoke hospitality experiences. We were drawn to this proposition for the value that it will add to our portfolio. We earmarked The LENOX as a possible future site a decade ago and are excited about the potential that this project poses,” says New Business Developer for Newmark Hotels & Reserves, Carl Haller.

“The overall project will be imbued with SA art, culture and craft – we envision it as a place for artistic expression and a meeting place for local people,” says Sophie Taïeb. MEMORIST has some background working with South African cultural institutions, such as Iziko and the Nelson Mandela Museum, and this will build on the strength of its work and relationships in the country.

CEO of Newmark Hotels & Reserves, Neil Markovitz, comments that he is confident that there will be strong demand for this visionary blend of art, culture, and hospitality. “We are experienced in bringing beautiful historic buildings back to life and look forward to restoring the grandeur of this iconic landmark which is situated in a prime location in central Cape Town.”

“This is the first such residency we’re establishing in Africa. We’re very excited about the possibility of creating a modern, cultural experience within a historic environment,” says his Excellency, David Martinon adding that the project is in line with The French Institute of South Africa’s dedication to supporting local communities, fostering cross-cultural dialogues, and nurturing creative talent.