Are you contemplating Cape Town and wondering where is best to stay? Maybe our Cape Town Diaries will help. Over the last 12 months we have inspected and stayed at numerous different hotels, guest houses and lodges and kept notes on each one.
In the last twelve months…
To help you decide, read through our Cape Town diaries where we outline location, bedroom information, facilities and features not to mention the little special touches that really make your African holiday worthwhile.
Firstly location, location, location. Set on its own quay away from the hustle and bustle of the shopping district of the V & A waterfront, The Cape Grace has a grandstand view of Table Mountain, flanked by gleaming yachts on one side and on the other: a working dockyard that offers a heaving, often theatrical show of maritime life in progress.
The Cape Grace certainly does have personality. Created by the passionate staff, wonderful food, seamless service and genuine hospitality. Each room is custom-designed with unique and refreshing décor to reflect the beauty, charm and unerstated elegance that has made the Cape Grace famous. The pick of the rooms are the top floor Rooftop Terrace and Rooftop Luxury Rooms.
A real delight (for Danica) was the Spa and its post treatment relaxation station that has some stunning views towards Table Mountain.
If whiskey is your tipple then you will love the Bascule Whiskey, Wine and Cocktail Bar, especially after an exciting day sightseeing. There are over 400 varieties from around the world on offer. Join local whiskey connoisseurs and enjoy a slice of Cape Town’s social energy.
We adore the Cape Grace and its understated elegance.
This is a fantastic option for those of you looking for five star treatment in a cracking location. The Cape Grace often promotes offers such as stay for four, pay for three nights during the low season (May-August).
One & Only
Sol Kerzner, one of South Africa’s best known and most successful businessmen known as ‘the Sun King’, recently opened the first One&Only property on his native soil. Famous for building Sun City, Atlantis Bahamas and Altantis The Palm, Dubai, the One&Only brand is one of the leading luxury hotel marques in the world. So we had big expectations when we visited.
Located in the heart of the Cape Town’s Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, One&Only Cape Town certianly does tick all the hallmarks of One&Only – supreme location, authentic style, genuine hospitaility and a lively energy.
The hotel is grand starting with Vista, which the name suggests, offers incredible views towards Table Mountain and is propably one of best locations for a sundowner cocktail in Cape Town. The rooms – the largest in all of Cape Town are located between Marina Rise and the Island, even the spa is located on its own private island and the pool is the largest hotel pool in Cape Town. Then there is ‘Maze’ by Gordon Ramsay and ‘Nobu’s’ debut opening in Africa so you’ll have plenty of choice when it comes to dining out.
One&Only Cape Town is very much a resort style hotel, a complete contrast to its neighbour, Cape Grace. One is old world and one is new world. So it depends on your preference in holiday style.
O on Kloof is exactly the type of small boutique hotel that we like. Located in the suburb of Bantry Bay along the Atlantic Seaboard, O on Kloof is stylish, modern and intimate. With only eight rooms, the pick on them being the two suite rooms which each have their own private Jacuzzi and deck with great views out to sea, perfect for romantic sundowners. The location is very central, but you will need to use transfers or taxis to get to most places of interest or for an evening meal. Self-drive guests have access to off street parking. You are however very close to Clifton and Camps Bay both of which are Cape Town’s famous beaches.
This is ideal for longer stays and those wanting to wash off the dirt from their African safari. If you only have one or two nights, we would recommend a more inner city hotel affording you easy access to Long Street, cafes, restaurants, shopping districts etc.
My first words were ‘wow, what a view’. Perched high up on the slopes of Lions Head with endless views over Table Bay and Robben Island, Les Cascades de Bantry Bay is a firm favourite of ours.
I found Luc the owner enjoying a fresh coffee whilst gazing out at the amazing views. The name ‘Les Cascades’ is derived from the layout, one terrace leads down to the next, until the main sun deck, with its magnificent pool.
Be warned, there are a lot of stairs, but they all help to burn off the sumptuous meals served al fresco style on the terrace. The décor theming is Bali meets Africa with lots of dark wood furnishings and exceptional attention to detail. The best rooms in the house are definitely the three luxury suites. Les Cascades de Bantry Bay is a first choice option for me in this part of Cape Town along with the sister property Les Cascades on 52.
Les Cascades on 52
Located two houses down from the original Les Cascades, Les Cascades on 52 has an even better wide angel view, a sparkling infinity pool suspended in the air and modern open plan kitchen where you can watch your breakfast being cooked (the homemade muffins were a treat!). Ultra modern in design, Les Cascades on 52 is a luxurious and very contemporary lodge.
Could I choose between the two? If I was staying in the Penthouse suite at Les Cascades on 52 with its large bathtub overlooking the Atlantic Ocean with a glass on good South African wine in hand, my choice would be a lot easier!
V & A Hotel
This hotel, like Cape Grace has a fantastic location right on the harbour with unrivalled views of Table Mountain. It has a casual atmosphere with warm friendly staff welcoming your arrival.
So what about the rooms? If you like large rooms, this hotel is a winner. It offers superbly furnished rooms with king size bed, contemporary décor and separate bath, shower and toilet.
You need to choose your preferred view: Mountain and harbour or Piazza or Courtyard view. There are doubles and loft rooms available.
The hotel also has a fantastic restaurant called the Waterfront Café and a stylish cocktail bar. We enjoyed breakfast here with the morning sun warming our faces and perfectly poached eggs with fresh salmon.
Just a few negatives experienced. Service was a little inconsistent depending on the day and who was on duty. Wireless was down and from our client feedback this seems a regular issue.
Overall, the reason for staying here is the location, in the heart of the Waterfront, South Africa’s premier tourist attraction with views of the Mountain and Marina. It is a short walk into town.
The Dock House
This historic house has been converted into a small boutique hotel or guest house. There is one suite and five guest rooms all fantastic in decor. It is intimate and luxuriously decorated but the rooms don’t have much of a view. The downstairs rooms overlook the lawn whilst upstairs view includes the docks in the far distance but buildings in front and no view of Table Mountain.
There are two small swimming pools, enough to cool you down though and a small dining-breakfast room that is intimate and quite romantic.
From the Dock House you can walk down steps to the Waterfront crossing over the main road in. Overall, this is ideal for those wanting a quiet and intimate option.
This colonial manor house is hidden away in a side street of Camps Bay amid spectacular landscaped gardens spanning down through a ravine to the sea front.
As you arrive, the immediate impression is grandeur in the form of a private mansion.
You can either stay in the main house or in one of the newer rooms reached by a rope bridge over the ravine.
Staying in the main house is like staying in an opulent home complete with verandah, lounge, dining room, library and Steinway baby grand! Bedrooms are are stylishly appointed and the highlight is the ocean view.
The new rooms are spacious and very comfortable boasting a small deck and view of the ocean. There is little noise except for the ocean breakers and the birds in the garden.
Meals are served on the terrace or you can walk down through the garden and onto the beach road and then it is only 10 minutes walk to the lively Camps Bay restaurants and bars.
This is a lovely place to relax and unwind after an African safari and one of our favourites.
This is an elegant and charming hotel set against the stunning backdrop of Table Mountain in Camps Bay. It has great facilities in the perfect location – just a stone throw away from the beach and all the bars and restaurants.
The rooms are well appointed and our favourite has to be the Pool Premier Room that is stunning in terms of its décor and fantastic view of the pool, ocean and Lion’s Head.
The large swimming pool overlooks the beach and the trendy Camps Bay area and there are plenty of sun loungers from which to enjoy deli style foods and refreshing fruit drinks and cocktails.
There is simple yet stylish a spa offering massages and treatments.
When it comes to dining experiences, The Bay Hotel has it covered. Sundowners in the bar were excellent with a good selection of drinks and great atmosphere. Breakfast was superb with extensive choice of hot breakfasts to order and a cold buffet. We didn’t have dinner here, so can’t comment on that but from all reports it is equally satisfying.
This is the perfect place to stay if you are after outstanding views, attentive and unobtrusive service, modern design, good food and special touches.
Ezard House is situated on the slopes of Table Mountain in prestigious Camps Bay.
The hotel itself has a modern design, koi carp in the pools outside, plush carpets soft underfoot, a gorgeous pool and rooftop Jacuzzi.
There are ten well-appointed, modern suites all with balconies facing the sea or the private tranquility of the landscaped gardens with koi pond.
The different rooms include : mountain suites, ocean suites, superior luxury rooms and luxury rooms. All are designed for absolute comfort and maximisation of views. They are different in shape and size, but equally equipped to the same high standard.
Ezard House has its own chef working in the international standard restaurant providing you everything from fine dining to a casual lunch. The views are stunning and its here we lingered a little longer over a bottle of fine South African wine.
Unlike larger hotels where sometimes you feel like you are just a number, at Ezard House all the staff know you by your name which feels comfortable although they never intrude and service is outstanding.
Promoted as the edge of the world – this is absolutely is a magical place where mountains plunge to the sea. From the moment you arrive, you realize this is someplace special. Rich colours, bold décor, warm and welcoming hospitality and impeccable service.
You can choose between a sea or a mountain facing bedroom. All of the rooms we saw had outstanding natural light that created this airy and peaceful feel. The bedrooms were all different in style, a mix of contemporary African to classic European. The linen looked so inviting you simply wanted to throw yourself on the bed, not ideal behaviour in a luxury hotel inspection so I refrained myself!
I was then shown a few suites. Imagine open plan rooms filled with handwoven fabrics, inspirational artworks large bed, comfortable lounge area and private balcony.
The best was yet to come. If you want something truly out of this world, it has to be the presidential suite. This is sophistication and elegance on holidays. The open plan lounge and dining rooms are decorated with local wood, natural stone and soft fabrics. Every touch of interior design met perfection. The adjoining bedrooms, his and her dressing rooms and bathrooms impressed me but nothing more so than the terrace that boasted endless views of the ocean.
And then there was the Sanctuary Spa where tranquility reigns supreme. You walk into a world where you immediately relax. There are rock pools, spas and relaxation areas.
Time for outside air and the pool area was next. There is a platform set into the mountain with sun loungers and below that, a rock pool with waterfall where you can cool down. You are literally surrounded by the mountains and natural fynbos and flora so unique to the Cape. What took my breath away was the unrivalled ocean view and mountain background.
This is luxury at its best – escapist luxury that’s thrilling and soothing simultaneously.
Hotel Grand Daddy
From purist luxury of the Twelve Apostles, we next explored the uber cool contemporary Hotel Grand Daddy.
This trendy, fun place in the heart of Cape Town offers modern and comfortable hotel rooms but be warned, a number of rooms are quite small.
On the rooftop you find several gleaming chrome American Airstream trailers with decking and a bar. It’s themed like a classy trailer park. The views of the city are cool and I could imagine sitting on the chairs outside my trailer gazing up at Table Mountain. Be warned here too, the trailers are small so for a couple, one night would suffice.
There is a restaurant and bar serving contemporary cuisine on the ground floor. Breakfast was a winner!
Overall, the hotel is worth a look for those seeking something a little quirky and centrally located, after all it is on Long Street and in the middle of night life and shopping.
For a casual home away from home style accommodation, we recommend you consider the Table Mountain Lodge. It is a lovely and homely bed and breakfast accommodation option found on the slopes of Signal Hill in the popular suburb of Tamboerskloof opposite a leafy park. It was originally a farmhouse built in 1885 in Cape Dutch style and has been affectionately restored to its elegant beauty.
Table Mountain Lodge is within easy walking distance to a number of popular restaurants, cafes, shops, museums and the city centre.
There are eight comfortable rooms in total, each one with ensuite bathroom. Two of the classic rooms have private entrance – the one being a studio apartment. Both suites have private entrances, the one being a large apartment. Breakfast is included and a full English or Continental is offered.
There is a lovely terrace area and swimming pool surrounded by an aromatic garden of herbs and local flora. There is a very intimate Jock’s Trap Scottish bar, the perfect place to enjoy a quiet drink after a busy day of sightseeing.
Danica’s favourite was the abundance of fresh flowers beautifully arranged throughout the home, adding an elegant charm to the atmosphere.
1 on Queens
Another hidden gem on the slopes of Signal Hill, 1 on Queens is a modern version of a Tuscan villa. Also bed and breakfast, this place offers spacious bedrooms with private balcony and outdoor seating area, lovely views of either Table Mountain of the City, ensuite bathrooms with separate bath and shower.
Breakfast here is either a delicious Continental or the traditional full English and served in the dining room overlooking a sparkling pool and secluded garden.
Other features here include a lovely lounge room and another casual seating area outside.
If you have a hire car, good news is that off street parking is available.
From here you are only a short walk away from the trendy Kloof Street, City Centre, V&A Waterfront and a short drive to Table Mountain Cable Station or the spectacular beaches of Camps Bay and Clifton. The service is what you would expect – warm and welcoming. We recommend it!
More Cape Cadogan
Another accommodation offering luxury and intimacy is Cape Cadogan. This small boutique hotel has been refurbished beautifully and succeeds in capturing the essence of the grand old colonial home it once was back in the 1800s.
It is located in a quiet residential street just a few minutes walk away from the buzzing Kloof and Long Streets.
From the moment you arrive you are greeted with personal touches that genuinely make a difference to your stay. It could be petals on the bed and a chilled bottle of wine (newly weds or honeymooners) or an individually written card and basket of fruit.
There are six luxury ensuite bedrooms and six standard ensuite bedrooms beautifully decorated in a classic modern bohemian chic way (their description, but it is accurate!) apparently inspired by Oscar Wilde’s bohemian and flamboyant lifestyle during the later part of the 19th century. So just imagine modern and antique furniture, dramatic fabrics on the common areas and soft mellow tones in the bedrooms. Room eight is beautiful with a terrace that overlooks TableMountain and a massive bathroom!
You can expect a stunning breakfast made to order that is on par with some of the best we’ve experienced. Try the croissants!
There is a small swimming pool and nice terrace area. However its your own private terrace or courtyard that touched our hearts. Some of our clients still rave about the delicacies and treats that are always on offer, from mini cupcakes, mixed chip mix, to chocolates, fruit platters and the warming complimentary port and sherry served after 6pm. If you want a great hotel experience in Cape Town away from the tourist crowds, you absolutely cannot go past this place.
This is the sister property of More Cape Cadogan and blends luxury apartment accommodation with the services of a hotel right in the city centre just off our favourite street – Kloof Street.
There are nine spacious one bedroom apartments located on an oldy-worldy cobbled side street. Inside you will be impressed with the big living room, full kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and outdoor patio. A delicious breakfast is provided daily as part of your stay in a beautifully decorated room above the reception area with views of Table Mountain. It includes both a spread of continental breakfast and a cooked to order item of your choice (try the French toast!).
There are also Two huge two bedroom apartments that easily accommodate four adults. Two large bedrooms, two modern bathrooms and spacious central lounge and kitchen are ideal for longer stays or family holidays.
And then, if you are travelling with a group of friends or family wanting something completely to yourselves there is the Redcliffe house. This beautiful historical home is utilised by the owners for just three months of the year. The rest of the time, it is offered as luxury accommodation featuring four bedrooms, large kitchen, lounge, dining area and a swimming pool for your exclusive use.
The service is exceptional here whether you stay in the private house or one bedroom apartment. Every need is met and service is attentive yet completely unobtrusive. This is our idea of the perfect getaway. Next time we will take the whole family.
The Nellie or Pink Lady as locals refer it to is one of my all time international favourites. Built in late 1800s, this elegant hotel oozes charm from the moment you set foot on the property. The gardens are manicured to perfection, the pool is an absolute pleasure and the entrance is nothing short of inspirational.
There are numerous dining options to choose from, whether it’s the famous High Tea, Chef’s Table, Cape Colony or Oasis Restaurants or just a cocktail and canapés or glass of champagne at the Planet Bar. This bar has become one of the hottest spots in town, particularly on a summer’s evening.
If it’s the rooms you are interested in. Wait no longer…
There are six different accommodation wings, each with its own unique character, private gardens and facilities. In total, there are 201 spacious rooms and suites each individually and beautifully decorated.
There are luxury rooms, standard rooms, suites, luxury suites and the list goes on! For us, we wanted to see the romance because many honeymooners request this hotel. For romance, our favourite has to be the Garden Cottage Suites.
There are eight of these beautifully restored historic cottages that sit neatly along the Sydenham Terrace pathway adjacent to the secluded adult only Garden Cottage swimming pool.
Each cottage is absolutely breathtaking with large bedroom complete with four poster bed, separate living and dining area and opulent marble bathrooms with walk in dressing rooms. The stand out for Danica was the private rose garden, picket fence and garden bench as well as an enclosed patio area for those lazing mornings you would like to spend lingering over a cup of tea recalling past memories or the previous day’s adventures.
Kloof Street and the city centre is a 10 minute walk and the hotel offers a shuttle to the waterfront, so you really don’t need to hire a car unless you want to beach hop each day.
This stunning boutique guesthouse is actually two buildings, both restored to their former ‘turn of the century’ glory offering guests an intimate and luxurious stay.
In total, thirteen bedrooms are available and each one has its own stunning style. The personal touches include dressing gowns and complimentary port! Some rooms offer balconies that overlook Table Mountain.
Welgelgen offers comfort inside and out. Internally there are elegant lounge areas, beautiful dining room with wine and port available in the early evening. Outside, there are lovely terraced areas and a courtyard with sunloungers, a plunge pool, tables and chairs in the garden ideal for lazy afternoons.
You will surely feel at home here and be close to the action with Kloof Street, the Company Gardens, National Museum and Pan African Gallery just minutes walk away.
This is one of the most frequently booked accommodation options in Cape Town and our clients always rave about it. Most recently, Welgelegen was referred to as ‘the most comfortable and classy accommodation, a home a way from home that we didn’t want to leave.’
Gorgeous uber chic private hotel, Kensington Place is nicely positioned at the top of Kloof Street in a quiet leafy suburb called Higgovale. From the moment you walk in, you will feel at home and not want to leave even for Cape Town’s hot spots.
The bedrooms are beautifully designed with luscious fabrics and colours. You can have either a twin with two single beds or a King size bed.
Inside Kensington Place are lovely central areas from a simple and clean line dining room, comfortable and contemporary lounge area to a small area complete with music library. Outdoors, enjoy the lovely plunge pool and lounge area.
Service is exceptional here however it is the personal touches that impressed me most– wireless in all bedrooms plus an actual laptop, basket full of sun cream, insect repellant, kaftans and towels by the pool and ice cold water whilst you are sunbathing.
You can join other guests early evening for savoury nibbles served in the bar and dining area before heading out to savour Cape Town’s sensational night life.
Built in 1903, Four Rosmead is a classified monument that has been sensitively and stylishly remodeled and the result is a cape contemporary classic centrally located around the leafy upper end of Kloof Street.
The building is beautiful and furnished in an eclectic and contemporary yet tasteful way. It is subtly African enhanced by the artwork produced by local talent displayed throughout and available for purchase.
There are eight rooms and each one is individually styled and named. The Leeuwenzicht was one of our favourites with its gigantic walk-in shower and balcony with a superb view of Lion’s Head.
Breakfast is a treat and can be enjoyed inside or outside in the landscaped gardens or on the patio overlooking the pool deck and herb garden.
The swimming pool is lovely with sun loungers.
Again, it is the little touches that make it special – like beach kits and local CDs playing for you in the evenings.
Offstreet parking is available if you have a hire car. You won’t need it because the location is very convenient for both the centre of Cape Town and Table Mountain and Camps Bay.
This is a lovely hotel with a Mediterranean villa feel in the shadows of Table Mountain offering a superb tranquil way of staying in Cape Town.
Rooms are spacious and well appointed with ensuite bathrooms (varying in size depending on which room you are in).
From the moment you arrive nothing is too much for the staff and whilst some luxury hotels can feel claustrophobic with the level of staffing the Alta Bay have got it spot on.
The quiet lounge and fireplace welcome weary travelers and an open bar means you can enjoy a glass of local wine.
There is a small pool and beautiful surrounding area with shady gardens, winding paths and a small terrace. Again it’s the little touches that help you relax whether it’s the free mini bar, turn down and chocolate on your pillow or the music in your room when you return from a night out.
Breakfasts are quite an affair with an impressive spread served daily.
The downside is that it is in a residential part of Cape Town and not within walking distance of any restaurants or shops. Whilst it is a bit of drive out of Cape Town downtown, it puts you closer to Camps Bay and Table Mountain.
Abbey Manor, was built in 1905 for David Edward McConnell, a British businessman newly arrived in what was then the Cape Colony. The house was designed by the architect William Black, who was responsible for a wide range of famous buildings in Cape Town. Years later it was lovingly restored to become a luxury guest house at the foot of Table Mountain.
There are five Grande rooms and four Luxury rooms, each individually decorated with quirky details and large, comfortable beds. The Grande Rooms are very spacious, and each has a unique feature, such as a balcony, private garden, or a bath with an incomparable view.
Hgh ceilings, bay windows and an ornate fireplace are further enhanced by carefully chosen details and stunning furnishings. Abbey Manor has suberb views of the city and Table Bay below and breathtaking views of the mountain behind.
Be mindful when considering the Abbey Manor for it is not within walking distance of town so you would require either a car or multiple taxis.
It is worth considering, not least for the delicious cooked breakfast that is served daily in the elegant breakfast room and the heated swimming pool and spa bath.