Cape Town, what’s not to Love about this beautiful city? The magic combination of picturesque ocean views and a spectacular mountain backdrop. With its incredible natural beauty and endless places to explore, you could be a tourist in this city 365 days a year. Cape Town has garnered numerous awards and accolades over the years – from being one of Travel & Leisure’s ‘World’s Best Cities’ in 2018, to ‘Favourite City in the World’, ‘Most Loved City’, ‘Best City in Africa’, ‘Best City in the World’, ‘Best Destination in the World’, in publications that include the Telegraph, National Geographic, Conde Nast Traveller, and more. This is a city with something for everyone, from perfect white sandy beaches, to being pampered in luxury five star hotels, from action packed days of hiking up Table Mountain to paragliding, penguin viewing, world heritage sites, wine tastings and world class restaurants. Whether you are looking for relaxation, action or entertainment, you will definitely find it all here. Thanks to the city’s unique blend of natural beauty and captivating cultural attractions, it’s easy to see why the city remains at the top of many travellers’ bucket lists.
Beautiful, stylish and quirky accommodation options abound all over Cape Town, so where does one start when booking a place to stay? To save you the legwork I’m going to give you the inside scoop on my six favourite places to stay in Cape Town, using the following criteria: great location, fantastic design, great service, inconspicuous luxury and unique personality.
The Silo Hotel
Where: V&A Waterfront
The Silo Hotel, a luxurious combination of art, style, architecture and design, is built in the old grain elevator section of a historic silo complex in the V&A Waterfront. The Silo soars above the surrounding area, occupying the six floors above the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art (MOCAA). The MOCAA, with an exhibition space of almost 2,000 square metres, over 9 floors, with 100 gallery spaces, houses Africa’s largest collection of contemporary art. With its impressive architecture, especially its eye-catching geometric windows, this magical hotel towers over the famous V&A Waterfront and is surrounded on all sides by the natural wonders of Cape Town. It’s not hard to see why it won the award for Best City Hotel in Africa in 2020.
The Silo is renowned for its fabulous High Tea, the perfect place to spoil a friend of family member on a special occasion and I’ve celebrated a numerous of friend’s birthday’s here. The rooftop of the hotel has a swimming pool and is the perfect place for sundowners.
Aside from sparkling wine on arrival, and delicious eggs benedict for breakfast, one of my favourite things about the hotel is actually the bath! A freestanding bath, in a bathroom with expansive views of Table Mountain, Signal Hill, the V&A Waterfront and out over the ocean – you can spend hours luxuriating in a bath full of bubbles, maybe a glass of champagne in hand, immersed in the views and, depending on the time of day, watching sun rise or sun set.
The Cellars-Hohenort Hotel
This small, but perfectly formed hotel, a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, is only a 15 minute drive from Cape Town’s city centre and the V&A Waterfront. The Cellars-Hohenort boasts 51 elegant guest rooms and suites, all with some pretty breath-taking views of the Table Mountain range and the property’s 3.5 hectares of award winning, gorgeous gardens. The hotel somehow combines both modern luxury with historic charm, with its backdrop of gardens and vineyards this is the perfect place to recharge your batteries after a busy day in Cape Town or out sightseeing.
Whilst at home I will usually make myself a singular cup of green tea of an afternoon, on holidays there isn’t anything better than a decadent afternoon tea to really make your day, and High Tea at Cellars-Hohenort is definitely something not to be missed! On a recent visit I’d invited and a friend who I hadn’t seen for two years (thanks covid!) and even though she was late, very late, in fact a whole hour late, nothing could dampen my High Tea experience. A glass of sparkling wine, a pot of jasmine tea, and some amazing food. A Cake stand with three tiers of cakes and sweet temptations, another platter of savoury treats, we ate and drank to our hearts content. We did our best to do it justice, but simply couldn’t eat it all.
The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa
Where: Camps Bay
At the foot of the Twelve Apostles mountain range is the five-star boutique hotel, the aptly named The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa. It’s the location that sets this apart from a lot of the other accommodation options in Cape Town. Nestled below the mountains, the hotel is surrounded by beautiful native flora, as it almost hovers over the glistening Atlantic Ocean. This is a coastal sanctuary, close enough to the city to be part of it, but removed enough to make it feel you are surrounded by nature.
There are four different restaurants and bars to choose from, and the hotel’s terrace is the best location of all in the hotel, with what are some of the best ocean views from a hotel in Cape Town. The terrace is in fact my favourite part of the hotel, jutting out towards to ocean, with spectacular uninterrupted views back along the coastal beaches and out towards the endless sea. Sunset from the terrace is fantastic; a glass of chilled South African wine, or craft beer, in hand and the sky a vivid hue of orange, red, pink and yellow. Incidentally the hotel enjoys the longest hours of sunshine in Cape Town, ensuring that you’ll see remarkable African sunsets during your stay
The Winchester Hotel
Where: Sea Point
Situated on the 11km long Sea Point Promenade, Cape Town’s ‘platinum mile’ with its stunning views, The Winchester Hotel is set against a backdrop of the mountains and overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, is an exclusive, privately-owned, 4-star hotel in Cape Town. The hotel has earned its reputation as one of Cape Town’s most iconic hotels, with its original Cape Dutch architecture and professional hospitality and service and I love the hotel’s quiet understated elegance.
Recently renovated the Winchester has a fabulous ‘new look’. A crisp, clean, classic black-and-white colour scheme, with white panelled walls and decorative ceilings, and striking geometric floor tiles. The hotel’s collection of quirky décor and antiques really highlights the building’s history and personality. All the rooms have either sea or mountain views, and the hotel is close to the V&A Waterfront, the beaches and all of Cape Town’s sights and attractions.
As a side note, for those, like me, who really enjoy a leisurely breakfast on holidays, the array of choice and the delicious flavours of breakfast at the Winchester Hotel are something to really look forward to.
Table Bay Hotel
Where: V&A Waterfront
The Table Bay Hotel is a Cape Town landmark, sitting in a prime spot at the tip of the V&A Waterfront, with fabulous views over the working harbour, Table Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean.
Nelson Mandela opened this hotel in 1997, when he was still president of South Africa. Michael Jackson, the Obamas, Charlize Theron, Sean Connery and many more famous names have spent time in this grand hotel. Though if you’re looking for funky, cutting-edge style, this hotel probably isn’t for you as it’s much more of a traditional, stately kind of place.
The hotel has everything you’d expect, from pool to business centre, smart restaurants and bars, it even has direct entrance to the V&A shopping mall, making it super convenient and good for first-time visitors to Cape Town, or those a little nervous venturing too far afield. The V&A Waterfront itself is the place for restaurants, food stalls, buskers, an impressive aquarium, cinemas and shopping for everything from clothing to curios. Boat trips and helicopter flights can be taken from here, and if it’s a bit of South Africa’s history you are after there’s a museum about Robben Island and the jumping off point for boat trips out to the island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for years.
Where: Sea Point
Looking for something a little different from the traditional hotel? Looking for something a little stylish and modern? Then check out the quirky, pink-walled Pineapple House. This boutique hotel is warm and welcoming, with colourful décor and deluxe comfort. It’s just a short walk from bars, restaurants, shops and the buzzing Sea Point Promenade. (Running, walking or just strolling slowly along the Promenade is a popular activity with Cape Town locals and tourists alike and I’d strongly recommend you join them).
The hotel’s owners have the ethos that pineapples are synonymous with luxury and leisure the world over, and so named their stylish little boutique hotel after them. There are only 9 rooms here, so you are never going to be lost in a crowd of guests, and you are guaranteed personal attention.
There are few places in the world that offer so many things to do in one neat, accessible package, stunning nature, beautiful beaches, interesting history, awesome adventure, great food and wine, art, culture and a vibrant night life, but somehow Cape Town manages to do just that. This might be one of the coolest, most cosmopolitan and vibrant cities in the world. No matter what type of traveller you are, a hard-core foodie, art gallery connoisseur, a beach bum or hiking fanatic, or all of the above, there is something in Cape Town for you. And now you know some of my top places to stay when visiting this fantastic city.