Cape Town hotels

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expert-rated hotels in Cape Town
Expert overall rating:4.2 (out of 5)

A designtastic inner city experience awaits at this new hotel.

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Over the past two years things have really hotted up on the Cape Town hotel scene. The city has increasingly become one of the most visited on the continent and, thanks to the recently held FIFA World Cup, even more visitors have said they’ll be back for more. With international resorts like the 'six-star' One & Only Cape Town setting up shop, the bar has been set even higher and I’m happy to say that, for the most part, our five-star properties are in keeping with those around the world. As a first-time visitor to the city it’s likely you’ll want to stay in the City Bowl (that’s the area under Table Mountain, incorporating a number of suburbs) or somewhere where there’s a sea view. Just be aware, if you’re wanting to bed down in the V&A Waterfront or on the Atlantic Seaboard with its sea views, staying for example in Bantry Bay or Camps Bay, expect to pay. As in other cities around the world, the further you travel from the city, the better the room rates. Consider checking into a property in Constantia and indulging in lazy lunches at any of the eateries on the wine estates in the area. Or perhaps book a place to stay in charming Kalk Bay, the quaint cobblestoned fishing village that lies a mere 20 minutes from the city.

Although there are a number of international chains that have been added to the city’s hotel mix in recent years, the biggest trend has been the rise of the boutique hotel. An overused description, to my mind the majority of these properties are luxury guest houses and, though oozing sophistication and style, may not always have the finishing touches that five-star hotels often get so right. Where I think the city is lacking is in budget but style driven places to stay and though there are some wonderful places, we need more. It's my mission to review more of these and share them with you. 

Things to consider before booking

  • Summer (from September to April) is high season in the city and this is reflected in the prices.
  • Winter is known as the ‘secret season’ in Cape Town due in part to the superb specials available as well as the mild, often clear-skied weather.
  • Prices quoted, whether for room rates or restaurant bills, always include VAT.
  • Be aware that many central city properties now charge parking fees.
  • ‘Mountain view’ rooms are generally those without a sea view and often properties make up for this with a bigger suite size or a terrace and, if not, should do with a better price.
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As with the restaurants I review, much of my hotel review is likely to be based on how I feel. If a porter offers me a bright smile and an enthusiastic greeting we’re off to a good start. I sleep out at hotels once, sometimes twice a week and occasionally I forget my toothbrush – if someone on duty goes out of their way to find me a new one, that’s a yes. For me, it’s these kind of details that really do make a difference. Over the years, I’ve compiled an unofficial list of commandments of happy hotel moments and they go something like this:

  • If you can’t direct me to your hotel on the phone whether I’m on foot or in my car, how are you going to help someone who’s not from the city?
  • Your suggestions for new and exciting eateries to try are really appreciated, especially if your own restaurant is also good. Book a nice table for me and I’m even happier.
  • Big beds make me think you care.
  • Sometimes a good DVD selection is all I need. Don't bother if your DVD library is outdated.
  • Refilled bathroom amenities make me think that you cut corners and leave me wondering where else you’re skimping.
  • I love it when you suggest a running route in the area.
  • I can tell when you’ve bought second hand equipment and called a room a gym.
  • A lovely smelling space (and not bathroom spray aromas) feels like home.
  • Imported bottled water in the rooms? No thanks.
  • A few sparkly cushions doth not a designer hotel suite make.
  • Your corporate social responsibility program is important to me.
  • If you post me something I’ve left behind, I’ll be your number one fan.

Of course, there’s so much more to a superb hotel experience and more often than not it’s the people who make the difference. That’s why I’d love to hear your commandments. What makes you come back for more? I’ll add it to my list and continue with my quest for finding perfect places in the Mother City to lay your hat for that night or three.

Simonseeks has given star ratings out of five for all accommodation recommendations. With hotels, these will tally with the hotel's official star rating where it exists. Where a hotel has no official star rating, and in the case of b & bs and hostels, the experts have made a judgment as to how many stars the accommodation deserves, in terms of comfort, level of facilities and so forth.

If you would like to suggest a hotel to the community that I haven't recommended, then click here.