Heading to Cape Town? We’ve found the hosts with the most.
Upon seeing South Africa’s southwest coast in 1580, English sea captain Sir Francis Drake is said to have declared, “This cape is the most stately thing and the fairest cape we saw in the whole circumference of the earth.” After a turbulent history that includes slavery, war and apartheid, that stately place is now Cape Town, one of the world’s most multicultural cities. It has been hailed one of the best places in the world to visit by The New York Times (in 2014), and the cosmopolitan city does seem to have been blessed with a perfect Mediterranean climate, an abundance of natural beauty and a thriving cultural scene. In terms of accommodation, a lot of the big players (Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, Hyatt et al) aren’t here, which means there’s more room for small guesthouses, boutique hotels and luxury resorts. Here are our picks.
The Cellars-Hohenort Hotel
The Cellars-Hohenort Hotel was once Klaasenbosch Farm, established in 1693 for the chief surgeon of the Dutch East India Company Hendrik ten Damme. It later became a thriving vineyard and wine cellar until, in 1906, the original thatched farmhouse was replaced by the current grand Germanic manor house. Now, with its views of Table Mountain and thriving gardens dotted with centuries-old trees, the 52-room Cellars-Hohenort Hotel epitomises relaxed Cape Town living. Lounge by the swimming pool sipping on a local drop, have a leisurely game of tennis or drop by the Martini Bar for a tipple before dinner. The rooms range from cute doubles with garden views right up to the stunning Madiba Suite, a private two-storey villa surrounded by gardens. The Fresh Wellness Spa is the perfect spot to rejuvenate and the hotel is just 15 minutes from the centre of town so when you’ve finished relaxing, the action’s not far away.
93 Brommersvlei Road, Constantia Heights
One&Only Cape Town
This is the only urban incarnation of South African hotelier Sol Kerzner’s ridiculously luxurious One&Only series of resorts. For the most part One&Only resorts are tropical island idylls perched over aqua waters where tropical fish frolic, but Kerzner made an exception for Cape Town. It’s hardly a sacrifice – One&Only Cape Town occupies some prime real estate next to the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront shopping and dining precinct with the dramatic backdrop of Table Mountain. All rooms are luxuriously appointed with huge beds, rain showers, oversized bathtubs, double vanities and views to the mountain. They range from Marina Harbour Rooms right up to the Two Bedroom Premier Family Suite. It’s a destination for Cape Townians, who flock to One&Only’s upmarket restaurants Nobu, Reuben’s and Isola restaurants, the latter of which takes poolside dining to a whole new level by occupying a private island.
Dock Road, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town
There are no views of the mountain from this luxurious boutique hotel – because it’s located high on the slopes of Table Mountain itself. The view from here is of the sparkling city and Table Bay beyond, which would be distracting if the hotel itself weren’t so charming. MannaBay is in upmarket Oranjezicht, a short drive from the city. It’s not within walking distance to bars and restaurants, but it gives direct access to Table Mountain National Park (literally – from the back gate) and the concierge will organise a complimentary car to dinner reservations in town. There are seven rooms and one suite to choose from, each with its own theme and décor. The Versailles is the suite and it’s exactly as opulent as you’d expect, with gilt furniture, two four-poster beds (one on the balcony for star-gazing, the other indoors) a dressing room and a sitting room where you can receive guests. But the Pom Pom room on the ground floor is where it’s at: it has its own private plunge pool and courtyard complete with watchful porcupine.
8 Bridle Road, Cape Town
Top image: One&Only Cape Town
SEE ALSO: First-Timer's Guide to Cape Town