Endless Summer Spotlight: Cape Town, South Africa

See recent posts by Katherine Alex Beaven

Table Mountain and Lion's Head Mountain in Cape Town Photo credit: Flickr/dorena-wm

Table Mountain and Lion's Head Mountain in Cape Town Photo credit: Flickr/dorena-wm

If you haven't noticed we've kinda of fallen in love with Cape Town as of late. Since we've JUST added a slew of new spots in South Africa's sweetest city AND it's the 25th anniversary of Nelson Mandela's release as a political prisoner, we think NOW is the time to pack up and head to the Mother City. If you need any more of a nudge, remember that February in South Africa marks the transition of hot, hot, hot summer days into deliciously balmy and breezy spring temperatures -- which sound great right about now. Sure, you may be thinking South Africa is all about rhinos, hippos, lions, and other magnificent animals -- and much of it is -- but that doesn't mean you should rule out a nice, comfortable stay in the city that seems to have it all: mountains, beach, surf, award-winning vineyards, culture, cuisine, and even penguins! So check out our picks on where to stay in different parts of the city.

Mount Nelson Hotel in Gardens

This well-known luxury hotel is located off a busy, but quiet street in Cape Town’s Garden district and is within a five-minute walk of a picnic in the sprawling, Victorian-style Company Gardens or a peruse of the natural history exhibits at the Izuko South African Museum. There’s also a ton of stuff going on just 10 minutes down the way on Cape Town’s famous Long Street. At the hotel, all 201 rooms and suites feature classical decor, huge bathrooms, and modern features such as free Wi-Fi and big flat-screen TVs. Some suites also have balconies with gorgeous views of the nearby Table Mountain. Amenities include a pool, luxury spa, gym, and two heated outdoor pools, and the terrace is the spot to grab a classic afternoon tea, complete with traditional Afrikaans melkterts (milk tarts) and nibbles. While it has an upscale feel, families are welcome; there are even kids’ and teens’ clubs. 

Vineyard Hotel in Newlands

Set along the Liesbeek River, the Vineyard Hotel is known for its historic charm and esteemed restaurants. Its sprawling garden grounds are planted with grape vines that actively supply several local wineries. Far from downtown and the waterfront, the property is in a pleasant residential area and most of its rooms are large and luxurious with extras like espresso machines. Still, beware of older rooms that haven’t been updated. Like at so many hotels in Cape Town, Wi-Fi is limited to a daily allotment, but breakfast and wonderful views of Table Mountain are free. It’s also a great place to stay if you are keen on checking out the phenomenal Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens where you can stroll the verdant grounds in search of South Africa’s national flower, the Protea. 

Doubletree by Hilton Cape Town in Woodstock

A business hotel with a chic interior design, this DoubleTree hosts constant meetings and conferences in Cape Town’s Upper Eastside. The rooms are modern and have work desks with ergonomic roller chairs. The location is convenient for reaching the downtown area, business district, and airport by car, making it a reasonable choice for business travelers, but there’s nothing within walking distance for tourists. However, the rates are more reasonable than those at hotels along the waterfront, and the DoubleTree has a free shuttle that takes guests there. The hotel is located in an industrial part of the Upper Eastside, near the more vibrant Woodstock neighborhood, but in an area full of warehouses that’s not safe to walk around at night. 

Lawhill Luxury Apartments on the V&A Waterfront

If you are looking to live like a local without skimping on style, then book a super sweet apartment-style room at Lawhill Luxury Apartments. Overlooking the canal on the bustling V&A Waterfront, Lawhill is all about posh living — with everything a traveler could want in an upscale hotel room; but like at a true apartment, don’t expect the usual hotel facilities here (although there is a rooftop pool with awesome panoramic views). Instead, guests are encouraged to take advantage of the amenities at the neighboring (and more expensive) One&Only Cape Town hotel. Units are big and bright, and sport a contemporary South African decor featuring bleached kudu horns and pearlescent Big Five paintings. It’s an ideal choice if you like being close to the action — fine dining, hordes of upscale shopping, and Two Oceans Cape Town Aquarium are just about a five-minute jaunt away. 

An African Villa in Tamberskloof

This 12-room boutique hotel comprises three Victorian terrace houses decorated in bold, modern style, accented with African curios. Set in Tamboerskloof, a quiet hipster neighborhood about a 20-minute walk from the center of Cape Town, the upscale property feels warm and personal. The owners provide expert advice about the area and arrange for taxis and car rentals, and who doesn’t like free cake and sherry in the evening? Guest rooms are airy and stylish, with high ceilings and artsy decor — some have Table Mountain views. The free breakfast includes a range of choices, including a full English breakfast, and can be taken in the small outdoor courtyard, which has a plunge pool. Explore the neighborhood and you’ll find tons of cute Etsy-style boutiques; artisanal coffee drinks and craft beer on menus; and hip, funky bars. Back at the Villa there’s free Wi-Fi and parking.

The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa in Camps Bay

The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa is a 70-room luxury property in Camps Bay, Cape Town’s premiere surfing spot. We love the incredible views of both the Atlantic Ocean and the hotel’s namesake mountain range — and the easy access the hotel provides to the waves. While set in a 1920s-era gabled farmhouse on a secluded stretch of Victoria Road, the property is within a short drive of central Cape Town and beaches — and just 20 minutes to the Constantia region wine farms. Guest rooms have balconies and are nicely decorated with understated colors and patterns. There are two restaurants, including one with a lauded wine list, and a bar with plenty of cognacs and ports. The hotel also has two pools, including one with ocean views, a spa with mountaintop gazebo treatment rooms, and a small theater showing classic and new movies. 

All products are independently selected by our writers and editors. If you buy something through our links, Oyster may earn an affiliate commission.