Where to Stay in Cape Town: Best Areas & Hotels
One of the world's most beautiful cities, Cape Town stretches alluringly between the mountains and the glittering waters of Table Bay. Thanks to this glamorous setting on the southwestern tip of South Africa, most of the city's best areas and hotels offer plenty of gorgeous views to go around. The top tourist attractions are spread out across the city, but many first-time visitors opt to stay as close as possible to the Victoria & Alfred (V&A) Waterfront, home to the Two Oceans Aquarium as well as many shops and restaurants. For a more peaceful setting, hotels in the foothills of Table Mountain offer easy access to the national park, and many have spectacular city and mountain views. Foodies also like to stay near the eclectic eateries of Kloof Street, a hip strip connecting the city center with the City Bowl neighborhood.
If you're planning a sun, sand, and sea vacation, Camps Bay, about six kilometers from the city center, makes a great base. A beautiful mountain-backed beach skirts the shores of this upscale residential area, and chic shops, cafes, and hotels beckon along the beachfront. Most Cape Town hotels include a hot breakfast in their rates, and the city is known for its many intimate boutique hotels. Wherever you choose to stay, you'll find plenty of impressive options spanning all budgets, from great-value guesthouses to family-friendly waterfront apartments and romantic oceanfront hideaways.
Where to Stay for Sightseeing
Packed with shops and restaurants and safe to walk around, the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is a hot spot for tourists, with plenty of things to do. Two Oceans Aquarium sits right on the waterfront, and trips to Robben Island leave from the Nelson Mandela Gateway here. For easy sightseeing, the Hop-on Hop-off bus travels from here to Cape Town's top tourist attractions, such as Table Mountain and Cape Point, so you don't need a car for your sightseeing adventures. Green Point, with its sprawling parklands and Cape Town Stadium are also right nearby.
In a relatively peaceful location, across the road from all the waterfront action, the stylish and elegant Queen Victoria Hotel, with a designer spa and the fine-dining Dash Restaurant, is a five-star boutique hotel set amid heritage buildings. Its soothing suites and guestrooms all have quality toiletries and Table Mountain or harbor views. A short hop away, right in the heart of the waterfront, its sister property, the Victoria & Alfred Hotel also features a designer spa, and both properties share a small pool at the nearby luxury Dock House Boutique Hotel.
In Green Point, about a 15-minute walk from the Victoria & Alfred waterfront, and one kilometer from the CBD, the sleek Villa Zest Boutique Hotel is a more affordable mid-range property, with an inviting rooftop terrace and small pool. It features striking, sustainable design with a crisp, clean take on 70s retro, and its individually decorated rooms come with open-plan ensuites. Also in Green Point, the stylish, contemporary DysArt Boutique Hotel is a little farther from the V&A Waterfront, but offers great-value rooms, two sparkling pools, and spacious rooms with balconies or patios.
In the heart of downtown's Heritage Square district, the charming Cape Heritage Hotel offers excellent value and blends chic decor with an 18th-century building. You can easily walk to great restaurants, designer stores, and art galleries from here.
If you're traveling with children, you'll find plenty of good-value apartment-style accommodation along the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in our Where to Stay with Families section below.
Where to Stay for Luxury
Nature lovers who want plush digs in a peaceful neighborhood, with easy access to the city sights, will love the light-filled, ultra-modern MannaBay. Bordering Table Mountain National Park, this exquisite boutique hotel offers access to kilometers of hiking trails from its gates as well as panoramic views over the entire city. You can soak up all the beauty from the the sun-drenched pool deck. A divine breakfast and high tea are included in the rates, and complimentary evening shuttles whisk you to nearby restaurants for dinner.
On the Victoria & Albert Waterfront, the elegant, antique-filled Cape Grace has an African-inspired spa. Its capacious guestrooms and suites come with sumptuous fabrics, dressing rooms, hand-picked books, and fresh flowers. French doors open up to Juliet balconies with views of the working harbor or yacht marina.
Also on the V&A Waterfront, the sprawling One&Only Cape Town has a heated vanishing-edge pool fringed by palms and cabanas. The decadent spa sits on its own private island at the center of the resort. Guest rooms are contemporary in style, and the one- and two-bedroom suites are fantastic for groups and families.
For those seeking more affordable luxury, The Andros Boutique Hotel welcomes guests with warm hospitality and plenty of added extras. This homey Cape Colonial guesthouse snuggles amid gorgeous gardens in the foothills of Table Mountain, about a five-minute drive from Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. The world-class chef whips up mouthwatering culinary creations, and amenities include a spa, pool, gym, and sauna.
Where to Stay for the Best Value
In a quiet residential neighborhood at the foot of Table Mountain, near the fabulous restaurants on Kloof Street, the boutique Derwent House, with a solar-heated pool, is a home-away-from-home. The wonderful staff are full of valuable touring tips, and the guest rooms and common areas feature colorful Afro-chic decor. Guest rooms are compact, but the self-catering apartments are fantastic for families. Thoughtful extras such as cakes, cookies, tea, and select evening drinks are complimentary here as they are at An African Villa nearby, another boutique hotel with a pool. The hotels is known for warm, friendly service, and pet lovers enjoy the hosts' friendly dogs.
In Sea Point, a six-minute drive from the V&A Waterfront, the boutique Blackheath Lodge feels like an elegant bed-and-breakfast. Staff lavish guests with plenty of personal attention, and amenities include beautiful native gardens and a heated pool. Also in Sea Point, the chic Glen Boutique Hotel & Spa is effortlessly elegant. Rooms come with super-comfy beds and scented candles, many also have Apple Macs, and the apartments are great for extended stays. Also close to the water, in nearby Bantry Bay, the contemporary 52 De Wet has bright, modern guest rooms with gorgeous sea views.
Where to Stay on a Budget
Many of Cape Town's mid-range hotels come with budget rates and convenient locations. In the city center, a few blocks from Cape Town City Hall, Mandela Rhodes Place Hotel has affordable one- and two-bedroom apartments, which are great for extended stays and families on a budget. One the rooftop are a swimming pool and yoga deck, and complimentary shuttles take you to the V&A Waterfront. A short stroll away, near cafes and restaurants, Parliament Hotel is safe and central, with clean, comfortable rooms in a green mid-rise building.
If you want to stay in a quieter neighborhood a short walk from the city, Upperbloem is a good choice. It sits on a hillside above the city with a lovely pool and sundeck. The crisp, modern apartments come with kitchens, and most have lovely views of the city, sea, or mountains from their balconies. You can also walk to Kloof Street restaurants from here.
For those who prefer a chain hotel in the city center, the high-rise Holiday Inn Express Cape Town City Centre fits the bill. The hotel lies near plenty of restaurants, and a generous breakfast is included in the rates.
Easy on the budget, the bold and bright Never at Home Cape Town in Green Point, within walking distance of the V&A Waterfront, is a hip, high-end hostel with dorms and private double or twin rooms. Travelers can mingle in the convivial communal areas.
Where to Stay for Couples
On a pebbly beach at the base of Chapman's Peak, Tintswalo Atlantic is a popular honeymoon and wedding venue. This luxury boutique hotel sits far from town, but that's part of its appeal. Its individually decorated suites are inspired by different islands and come with romantic features like stand-alone bath tubs with sweeping ocean views and private seaview balconies.
Closer to town, in upscale Bantry Bay, and also with dazzling sea views, art-filled Ellerman House occupies an elegant Cape Edwardian mansion. Understated elegance is the tone here, and with a library, heated oceanview pool, world-class spa, and romantic suites, it's tough to leave the hotel. To preserve the peaceful ambiance, children under 14 are only allowed in one of the separate private villas.
A great-value romantic hideaway is the adults-only Four Rosmead, nestled amid gardens on the slopes of Table Mountain. The property offers peaceful surroundings and gorgeous views of the city and Table Mountain, and the fabulous restaurants of Kloof street are only a short walk away.
Where to Stay for Families
The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront makes a great base for families. It's safe, easily walkable, and sits right by Two Oceans Aquarium.
A five-minute walk along the waterfront from this buzzing tourist hub, Lawhill Luxury Apartments offer bright, modern one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments with fully equipped kitchens as well as washers and dryers. Apartments have balconies or patios, with views of the harbor or the neighboring One&Only hotel. Some have private plunge pools, but all guests can splash around in the property's five pools. Nearby, the V&A Marina Waterfront offers more dated apartment-style accommodation for a mid-range price.
For a more tranquil setting, away from the waterfront hustle and bustle, the elegant More Quarters Hotel is a boutique property with one- and two-bedroom family-friendly apartments and four-bedroom Redcliffe House with a private plunge pool. Kids receive a package of crayons and pictures to color on arrival, and the rooms are stocked with age-appropriate toys and books. The hotel lies within walking distance of restaurants and shops, and you can hop aboard the hotel's free shuttle to the waterfront.
Where to Stay near the Beach
If you want to stay by the beach but still want easy access to Cape Town's top tourist attractions, chic Camps Bay, about a 15-minute drive to downtown and the waterfront makes a convenient base.
Beach bags packed with towels and games await in the rooms at the stylish POD Camps Bay, a boutique hotel about a five-minute walk from Camps Bay Beach. You can soak up sea views from the hotel's swimming pool, and rates include breakfast, parking, and some in-room snacks and drinks. Rooms with mountain- and beach-view balconies are best.
Steps from the beach, South Beach Camps Bay has two sparkling pools and occupies a crisp-white contemporary building with dreamy sea views. Fully equipped kitchens in each apartment come with complimentary breakfast ingredients and beverages, and fresh bread and croissants are delivered to your door daily. You can work off all that food with free use of the gym, bicycles, and other exercise equipment.
At the quiet end of Camps Bay beach, a mere 20 meters from the sand, the mid-range Primi Seacastle Guest House is a bright and cheery bed-and-breakfast, with ten individually decorated rooms. Some have wonderful sea views, but stairs connect many of the communal areas making this a better choice for guests without mobility issues.