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About Cape Town
With the spectacular backdrop of Table Mountain in one direction and the glittering expanse of Table Bay in the other, Cape Town has a reputation for being one of the world's most beautiful cities. It's both rugged and delicate, and rough and pristine, and photogenic as heck. On top of the beauty the city has a reputation for being laid back and friendly and many of the best places to stay in Cape Town reflect this attitude with their great personal service.
The vineyards just out of the city, the surfing off the golden beaches and the lush green botanical gardens are also reasons to visit. Cape Town is a top place to enjoy the great outdoors.
As well as seeing Table mountain from a distance it's also worth heading up, something which can be easily achieved using the cableway. And while we're listing outdoor highlights, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, the Cape of Good Hope National Park, the Lion's Head and Signal Hill - with its noon gun -and the waterfront area are all wonderful places to take in. And from Cape Town the wine regions of Stellenbosch and Constantia - South Africa's very first wine region - are just a short drive.
The Two Oceans Aquarium is a great place for meeting more of the locals. And if you're a qualified diver you're even able to get into the water.
If you have time, and it's the right time of year, it's definitely worth travelling to Hermanus for the whale watching. This is one of the best places in the world (on land) to whale watch - a key spot on the migration route of the Southern Right whales.
Then there's the rich culture, influenced by traditions coming from all over the world. And given South Africa's challenging history Cape Town's proud multiculturalism is hard won and the cumulation of a thousand different stories - some of which you'll hopefully hear on your visit.
Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, is another site most people will want to visit for themselves. Likewise the District Six Museum, commemorating this no longer existent district.
Most of our picks of the best places to stay in Cape Town are found in the centre of the city, but for those who want to make the most of the views, we have a couple of gems just off the beaten track. Our selection offers something for everyone from cheap and cheerful guesthouses to top notch luxury hotels.
For gorgeous views
- The Cape Grace Hotel is one of the best places to stay in Cape Town if you want to be right on the water. The views, especially from the rooftop spa, are incredible. This is also an excellent choice if you're looking for an attractive, large hotel. And the cheery staff and good food have won it awards.
- For a city style hotel - but with breathtakingly raw views over Table Mountain, Kensington Place is ideal. This eight room hotel has every technology you could possibly need on holidays - from i-pod docking stations to Skype phones. As you might have guessed the decor is modern, but with colourful African touches.
For wine buffs (and foodies)
- If you're in Cape Town for the wine, we'd recommend you stay at Cellars-Hohenort. The wine cellars are vast, and there's plenty to taste. The emphasis isn't just on the wine though, as well as having an excellent restaurant, this hotel also runs gourmet events, including activities for foodie kids. The spa is top notch and the gardens are among the finest privately owned gardens in the world.
- The Vineyard Hotel is a big, luxurious hotel with all the facilities you can imagine - including an award winning restaurant and a fabulous spa. Set within six areas of landscaped garden, this country club style hotel has glorious views of Table Mountain.
On a budget
- With prices for its 11 rooms starting at £55 per night, the Glen Hotel is easily one of the best places to stay in Cape Town if you're on a budget. It doesn't feel like a budget option though. It's more chic and casual, with comfortable rooms, a large terrace and a pool and spa.
- Welgelegen is the Dutch word for 'well situated', which is exactly what this guesthouse is. The 13 bedroom Victorian era property is on a leafy cul-de-sac, right around the corner from the trendy bars and restaurants of Long and Kloof Streets.
- Similar to Welgelegen, An African Villa has been converted from adjacent Victorian terrace houses into a 12 room guesthouse. The interior is in warm, calm colours with an African edge and each room is different. The location, between the waterfront and the Table Mountain Cableway, is a quiet residential pocket with a village-y feel.
Best Hotels in Cape Town
Glen Hotel 24 rooms from $71Cape Town
Our favourite gay-friendly hotel in Cape Town in Sea Point, a wonderful location near all the best restaurants and bars. Charming white on white suites with splashes of colour. Casually chic with fantastic personalised hospitality.Views - Wonderful views of Lion's Head and the Atlantic Ocean.Gay friendlyGreat walks - The Glen runs a half day tour of Cape Town's art galleries, trendy bars, museums, restaurants and heritage sights.Local markets - Check out Main Street for some great shopping.
Cape Heritage Hotel 15 rooms from $115Cape Town City Centre
Cool and comfy townhouse hotel with a central location. Ideal for exploring Cape Town and enjoying the city’s foodie scene, with many top spots just a stone’s throw from the hotel.Sights nearby - For a day trip, visit the infamous Robben Island, eight miles from the hotel.Great walks - No trip to Cape Town is complete without a trip up Table Mountain.Fishing - Take a fishing trip out from the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront.Full of character
An African Villa 12 rooms from $106Cape Town
A delightful Victorian guesthouse in the central Tamboerskloof District. Some of the 'African Zen' contemporary rooms boast balconies with views of the iconic Table mountain. Walking distance from some of Cape Town's best restaurants and bars. A stylish city escape.Swimming Pool - Indoor/outdoorFull of characterBarefoot Luxury - For total relaxation.Views - Great views from hotelRecommended by - I Escape, Frommers
Welgelegen 13 rooms from $137Cape Town
Well-located and chic guesthouse in a leafy cul-de-sac of Cape Town. The elegant and comfy rooms are tastefully decorated and adorned with personal charm. An urban sanctuary for families or city visitors near to the best restaurants, bars, and museums.Families - Perfect location for checking out Cape Town with all the family - plus the nearby De Waal Park will keep the kids happy!Local markets - Visit the Pan African Market and Greenmarket Square for great souvenir shopping.Great walks - Under 13 km to the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden.Sights nearby - The Iziko South African Museum is just minutes away.Recommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith
Vineyard Hotel 178 rooms from $189Cape Town (Colinton Road, Newlands)
A Cape Country house on six acres of stunning gardens, in Newlands. The sleek and chic decor exudes calm, with white on white and clean lines. A one of a kind retreat with phenomenal spa facilities and gourmet cuisine. A oasis of clam, ten minutes from the center of Cape Town.Spa breaks - The international Banyan Tree Resort’s Angsana Spa offers unique experiences from highly trained therapists.Swimming Pool - Indoor and Outdoor interlinked PoolRestaurant - Award-winning Myoga restaurant.Spa - Award-winning spa.Recommended by - Frommers
Kensington Place 8 rooms from $163Cape Town
A small stylish hotel in Higgovale, on the Table Mountain foothills. This intimate spot puts emphasis on peace and tranquility, each room comes with private balcony, most with phenomenal views of the city and bay. Check out nearby Kloof Street, Capetown's hottest spot for restaurants and bars.City Style - An elegant hotel within range of all the trendy sites of Capetown.Views - Fantastic views over Table Bay.Sights nearby - Visit Robben Island - the former prison where Nelson Mandela spent most of his 27 years of imprisonmentRestrictions on children - No children under the age of 12 are accepted.Recommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith, I Escape, Tablet, Frommers, Kiwi Collection
Cape Cadogan 12 rooms from $212Cape Town (8001 8001 8001)
A boutique Georgian property situated in an upmarket neighbourhood and boasting Table Mountain as a spectacular backdrop. Chic rooms are light and airy with traditional features washed with clean soft hues. Quiet terraces and a swimming pool are ideal for unwinding after a day's exploring. Charming.Local exploring - Set in a swanky Cape Town neighbourhood and within walking distance of many of the city's main attractions.Great walks - Take a sunset walk along the nearby Clifton Beach.Romantic - Good for couples.Swimming Pool - Indoor/outdoor
Steenberg Hotel 24 rooms from $227Cape Town (Tokai)
Luxury vineyard hotel in the picturesque Constantia Valley, about 30 minutes from central Cape Town. Popular with everyone from couples to golfers, families and friends – as well as locals.Historic - The farmhouses are now a national monument - built in 1682, the first registered farm in SAWine tasting - In the Constantia Valley - home to a great deal of award-winning winesGolf - World-championship golf course on the Steenberg EstateViews - Lovely views over False Bay
Cellars-Hohenort 48 rooms from $228Cape Town (Constantia)
An elegantly converted old manor house on a wine estate, on the slopes of Table Mountain. The sleek rooms are white on white with splashes of bold fabric, utterly chic! Spectacular views, award winning gardens, spa services and an extensive wine cellar will make it hard to leave. Blissful.Wine tasting - As a restored winery-estate manor house they of course still have their own vineyards and hold tastings.Foodies - With two award winning restaurants and their own vineyard this is foodie heaven!Child friendly - All children are welcome. Babysitting services available.Garden - One of the finest privately owned gardens in the world.Recommended by - Tablet, Frommers, Kiwi Collection, Relais & Chateaux
The Twelve Apostles Hotel 70 rooms from $413Cape Town (Camps Bay)
This classic and comfortable hotel is all about location with terrific sea and mountain views. Hourly shuttles mean it’s also well placed for the beaches at Camps Bay and the V&A Waterfront.Diving - Explore the Two Oceans or if you are feeling brave experience a shark dive.Surfing - Muizenberg Beach is considered one of the best surf spots in the world.Birdwatching - The surrounding coastline is great for birdwatching.Great walks - Take a hike up the spectacular Table Mountain.
Cape Grace Hotel 120 rooms from $485359Cape Town
A beautiful hotel in the centre of Cape Town’s vibrant V&A Waterfront. Excellent service, sumptuous classic interiors, a great restaurant, trendy bar and its own spa. There are magnificent views of Table Mountain and the marina which can be enjoyed from the privacy of your own balcony.Romantic Break - Enjoy a couple's massage followed by drinks and dinner on your penthouse patio with Jacuzzi to boot!City Style - A perfect blend of African and European influnces, old and new, in a prime location.Spa - A great variety of treatments available in the in-house spaViews - Panoramic views of Table Mountain and the marinaRecommended by - Tablet, Fodors, Frommers, Kiwi Collection