Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.
Today: Top 10 best luxury hotels in Cape Town
“This cape is the most stately thing we saw in the whole circumference of the earth”, wrote Sir Francis Drake in 1580 when he discovered the Cape Peninsula. Almost 500 years later, the area – with its incredibly beautiful coastal and mountainous scenery – is home to one of the world’s most beautiful cities, Cape Town (Kaapstad in Afrikaans and Ikapa in Xhosa). Known as the Mother City because it was the first to emerge in South Africa, the city owes its multicultural personality to a diverse range of people and events, from the indigenous Khoi and San peoples to local African tribes, from the European explorers to slaves from Malaysia, Indonesia, Madagascar and Mozambique, and from apartheid to democratic freedoms. Blessed with astonishing beaches, spectacular mountains, world-famous vineyards, scenic drives and tons of trendy bars and fine dining restaurants, it is hard to imagine a more picture perfect destination for a city trip (and frankly, you won’t find a better one). To help you plane your next trip to the Mother City, I have compiled a top 10 list of the best luxury hotels in Cape Town
There is more information (with reviews & YouTube videos) below the slide show. Think I missed one? Share your favorite Cape Town hotel in the comments section!
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10. THE MARLY BOUTIQUE HOTEL
Positioned in the trendy suburb of Camps Bay, The Marly Boutique Hotel has a location that’s perfect for guests wanting to stay away from the hustle and bustle of Cape Town’s city center. Its location right on the beachfront of Camps Bay is literally a stone’s throw from one of Cape Town’s finest beaches. This property takes its name from Château de Marly, built in the 17th century for the leisure activities of Louis XIV and his family. All 38 rooms – including 11 suites – are contemporary in style, and their clean and crisp design provides the perfect frame for the magnificent sea and mountain views. The hotel boasts a rooftop swimming pool with beautiful 360-degree views of Cape Town’s iconic mountain ranges, a spa, gym, and a tasteful collection of beachfront restaurants, cafés and bars neighboring the property. The property might feels somewhat cramped, but overall this is a well-run urban hideaway that celebrates sophisticated design, beachfront living and five-star service.
- Hotel website: The Marly Boutique Hotel
9. CAPE CADOGAN BOUTIQUE HOTEL
Situated on the vibrant and trendy Kloof Street of Cape Town, is the historic Cape Cadogan Boutique Hotel. This national monument was originally a farmhouse that was beautifully converted into a Victorian-themed establishment in 1912. Luxuriously-appointed rooms include lovely ensuite bathrooms, personal bars, satellite television with surround-sound, air- conditioning and internet access. Superb breakfasts are served in the inviting dining room which overlooks the sparkling swimming pool and the lush gardens, whilst delicious dinners can be arranged on request. Guest areas include a comfortable sitting room with an open fireplace and a well-stocked library, which offers a quiet spot to relax with a good book. A sparkling swimming pool and flourishing garden add to guest delight. The hotel is conveniently situated within walking distance to some of Cape Town’s finest restaurants, whilst private cars can be arranged for shopping trips, special wine-tasting tours in the magnificent Cape Winelands and visits to the Cape of Good Hope.
- Hotel website: Cape Cadogan Boutique Hotel
8. TAJ CAPE TOWN
Taj Cape Town is a luxury hotel set in the vibrant heart of downtown Cape Town, offering guests a combination of refined Indian hospitality and an authentic Cape Town experience. Occupying two historic buildings, it retains the architecture and many meticulously restored interior features of the original South African Reserve Bank and the old BoE building – formerly the Temple Chambers, built in 1890. Seventeen new storeys house suites, guestrooms and residences with magnificent views of the Mother City and the iconic Table Mountain. The five-star hotel is ideally located in the centre of historic Cape Town at the entrance to the famous pedestrian precinct, St George’s Mall. Its prime location – within walking distance of most tourist attractions, monuments, museums, shopping, restaurants, markets, and nightlife – ensures a look at Cape Town’s fascinating history.
- Hotel website: Taj Cape Town
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, welcome gift, daily breakfast breakfast, gin or wine tasting for two guests in the Bombay Bar once during stay, early check in, late check out, and 20% food and beverage discount at Bombay Brasserie).
7. TINTSWALO ATLANTIC
One of Cape Town’s hidden gems and best kept secrets is Tintswalo Atlantic, a 5 star, award-winning boutique lodge nestled at the base of the ocean-facing Table Mountain National Park, just 20 minutes from the city center. Sitting at the foot of Chapman’s Peak, the property is the city’s only hotel with direct beach access (although it’s a pebble beach) and it enjoys panoramic views of the picturesque Hout Bay harbor, the dramatic Sentinel mountain peak, and the Atlantic Ocean beyond. Each one of the hotel’s 11 glass-and-timber suites – en beautifully appointed suites and one regal presidential suite – has a unique design and is named after an island (e.g. Cousine Island, Zanzibar, Robben Island, etc …) paying tribute to the island’s nature and the cultural heritage. The Tintswalo Atlantic dining room provides a picturesque, cosy setting to enjoy beautifully-presented and delicious cuisine.
- Hotel website: Tintswalo Atlantic
6. BELMOND MOUNT NELSON HOTEL
Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel has long been regarded as the hotel of choice of cultured global travelers since 1899, because of its romantic heritage, warm professional service, timeless style and a magnificent setting. Enjoying a convenient location at the foot of Table Mountain, and just a short stroll from downtown, the resort offers the perfect combination of leafy tranquility and contemporary buzz. The hotel features a sprawling garden, complete with two heated swimming pools, rolling lawns, a palm lined avenue and secluded Rose gardens which lend themselves to romance. Six distinctive accommodation wings offer a variety of 198 individually decorated, elegantly appointed rooms and suites. No two rooms are exactly the same, and each annex offers unique views, mood and style.
- Hotel website: Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, welcome gift, daily breakfast, early check in, late check out, and up to $200 USD hotel credit per stay).
5. CAPE GRACE
The 5-star Cape Grace Hotel provides the perfect Victoria & Alfred Waterfront setting for discovering Cape Town’s enviable location, which offers both centrality and privacy combined with beautiful views of Table Mountain, the yacht marina and a working harbor. The essence of Cape Grace is an intrinsic desire to understand guests’ needs so as to ensure truly memorable visits. Each one of the 120 guest rooms and suites is unique and has its own story to tell. Even the standard rooms are spacious here, with separate sitting areas, desks, complimentary high-speed internet, and cushioned headboards. Reminiscent of a glamorous Mediterranean yacht moored in the bay under the watchful gaze of the iconic Table Mountain, guests can also relax in an elegant and distinguished outdoor area that overlooks Cape Town’s acclaimed yacht basin.
- Hotel website: Cape Grace
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, a 50 minute spa treatment, complimentary mini bar, and complimentary bottle of wine).
- Review: read my review of Cape Grace here.
4. THE TWELVE APOSTLES HOTEL & SPA
Enjoying the most magnificent location on the Cape Peninsula, the Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa is a grand contemporary hotel in Camps Bay, just a short drive from the center of Cape Town. Nestled between the unspoiled natural beauty of the majestic Twelve Apostles mountain range in the Table Mountain National Park and the Atlantic Ocean, the award-winning Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa is part of the family-run Red Carnation Hotel Collection. The boutique hotel offers 70 guest rooms, styled with light colors and dark-wood accents that give an eclectic touch through African and nautical twists. Other unique features include a holistic spa, private cinema, and breathtaking views from the legendary Azure Restaurant and The Leopard Bar. The hotel offers easy access to all of Cape Town’s attractions, including a complimentary shuttle service to Camps Bay and the V&A Waterfront.
- Hotel website: The twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, free breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD resort credit).
- Review: read my review of the 12 Apostles Hotel & Spa here.
3. ONE&ONLY CAPE TOWN
This urban chic resort, located in an enviable spot in the city’s fashionable Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, set a whole new standard for South African hotels when it opened in 2009. One&Only Cape Town speaks to international travelers and discerning locals alike, proffering tropical seclusion near the city’s hotspot area for dining and entertainment. The hotel impresses its guests upon arrival with breathtaking Table Mountain views through the massive windows of the spectacular lobby. There are two sections in the hotel, one being the Spa Island (built on a man-made island and centered around a lagoon-shaped pool) with 40 suites and the other the Marina Rise with 91 rooms. All rooms feature oversized bathrooms and are adorned with fabrics and furnishings recalling the warm, muted tones of Africa. While its design is not as ingenious as at The Silo and its ambiance not as intimate as at Ellerman House, One&Only Cape Town is still my favorite hotel in the city because of its laid-back resort vibe, One&Only ethos and warm hospitality; the property is also home to Africa’s only Nobu restaurant.
- Hotel website: One&Only Cape Town
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, welcome gift, daily breakfast breakfast, $100 USD resort credit, early check in and late check out).
- Review: read my review of One&Only Cape Town here.
2. THE SILO HOTEL
The Silo Hotel is a magical space towering above the V&A Waterfront surrounded by the natural wonder of South Africa’s Mother City. The Silo has been built in the grain elevator portion of the historic grain silo complex occupying six floors above the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA). From the outside, the greatest visible change to the building’s original structure is the addition of pillowed glazing panels, inserted into the geometry of the hotel floors, which bulge outward as if gently inflated. By night, this transforms the building into a glowing lantern or beacon in the harbor. The Silo hotel has 28 lofty rooms, including a spectacular one bedroom penthouse, which all come with lovely freestanding bathtubs and balconies. A highlight of the hotel is its spectacular wraparound rooftop terrace, which features an infinity pool, two bars and several lounge areas.
- Hotel website: The Silo Cape Town
- Other accolades: The Silo features in my list of the best new luxury hotels of 2017.
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD resort credit).
- Review: read my review of The Silo Hotel Cape Town here.
1. ELLERMAN HOUSE
Situated in the heart of Bantry Bay (one of Cape Town’s most exclusive neighborhoods), Ellerman House, Member of Relais & Châteaux, is an elegant mansion just ten minutes away from the city center and within walking distance of Clifton and Camps Bay beaches. The true splendor of the property rests in faithful preservation of its historical architecture, combined with discreet hospitality and efficient service reflecting the ambience experienced only in the comfort and familiarity of home. Whether you choose the luxurious atmosphere of Ellerman House (which comprises 13 bedrooms) or the modern-art-gallery style of its two three-bedroom villas, you will fall under the spell of an address that lets you relish all the pleasures of Cape Town. Enjoy dining on gourmet cuisine, tasting fine vintage wines, and surveying the impressive private art collection; plus, the ocean view is spectacular!
- Hotel website: Ellerman House
- Other accolades: Ellerman House also features in my top 10 list of South Africa’s most exclusive hotels.
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, a paired chocolate and South African Brandy tasting with a sommelier, and 10% discount on first spa treatment).
- Review: read my review of Ellerman House here.
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