Five fascinating places to stay in Cape Town

Our collection of boutique, bold and beautiful places to stay that will make any stay in Cape Town extra special.

Thinking of a trip to Cape Town? This cross section of fascinating places to stay can’t fail to satisfy your own preferences for luxury and service. They’re in no particular order as they each meet a differing set of criteria according to taste.


Manna Bay


Views you won’t believe with service to match at MannaBay


It’s not often that we stay in a place and find it practically faultless. Manna Bay eclipsed all our expectations and left us with high expectations of everywhere we’ll rest our head from now on.

Situated on the lower slopes of Table Mountain on Bridle Street in a quiet Cape Town neighbourhood, Manna Bay at first appears to be an exclusive private residence but quickly transforms into a distinctive boutique hotel where comfort, style and above all, service are paramount.

It’s never a problem to find a stunning hotel but it’s often a problem to match that with service of a similar standard –Manna Bay achieves it, seemingly effortlessly.


When we originally looked at their website we weren’t blown away with the architecture but no sooner had we settled into our distinctive bedroom with a view of Table Mountain through its planter’s shutters than we appreciated that the simple minimalist building enables several individual styles, artworks and decoration to work in harmony in close proximity with one another.

Each of the eight bedrooms is a masterpiece of interior design and the simply breath-taking views over the whole of Cape Bay are unbeatable through the ‘acres’ of glass that are seemingly a substitute for walls.

The staff are young and with it enthusiastic, courteous and efficient, with no request too much trouble, including arranging complementary transfers to the nightspots or restaurants if you don’t have a car.

We spent most of our days exploring the areas surrounding Cape Town, so it was a lovely surprise to return to ‘high tea’ from 1530 for about two hours,  where a table laden with a huge variety of complimentary savouries and sweets with tea, coffee – sparkling wine if you’ve a mind – lay spread before us. Why don’t more hotels do this – it’s such a simple inexpensive but elegant courtesy to weary travellers?

mannabay-20sReturning to our room to change for dinner in town, our laundry neatly presented in a ribbon-tied box added a perfect signature and impressive touch to a wonderful stay at MannaBay.

It’s one of the few places we’ve been where we wouldn’t hesitate, either to recommend it or to return at the first opportunity. Just excellent!


Cape Grace


An enviable location between the working and ‘millionaires’ marinas of the V&A waterfront

Situated in the heart of the Cape Town waterfront, Cape Grace offers all of the period style and elegance of times gone by in a modern and efficient setting. Although classified as ‘boutique’ we feel that it’s the service and finer touches that are boutique and give it the cachet to make this claim, rather than the more substantial 120 room hotel itself – although there’s a wide variety of luxury rooms, one, two and three bedroom suites, rooftop and penthouse accommodation to meet the most demanding and individual of tastes.

Cape Grace certainly go out of their way to introduce a number of personal touches – whether it’s  your own complimentary local chauffeur, use of the hot Spa, an introduction to South African wines, a whisky tasting session or simply sherry and port in the library after 6pm – that with many other small but appreciated gestures all add up to good all-round service.


We were tickled by the notion that we could pre-order and leave a cache of wines for our guests’ consumption in a dedicated cellar area of Cape Grace – but we don’t love our friends that much!

Apart from the care and attention to detail that Cape Grace offers, you know that whatever else happens you’re safe and secure within the heart of the city’s V&A waterfront with a view of either the fascinating working harbour or the millionaire’s marina out of your bedroom window.


21 Nettleton


The quirky and fantastic’fairy-tale castle’ of 21 Nettleton


Ever wanted to stay in a Fairy-tale castle? Then you need to spend time at 21 Nettleton to transport yourself away from reality and into a magical world where no luxury goes wanting.

Set in the exclusive area of Nettleton overlooking Clifton Bay between Bantry and  Camps Bays and with the peak of Lion’s Head standing guard behind you, you know that this stay will be something special.

As we enter the building after driving up an impossibly steep slope to one of the entrances, Rada, our exceedingly glamorous hostess, wafts down the wide and elegantly curving polished wood staircase in a stunning designer creation dress that further elevates our expectations of what’s to come.

21 Nettleton is very much a substantial private house where house-guests are invited to envelope themselves in comfort, dine where and when they wish and generally make the place home as they soak up the panoramic views, the beautifully quirky décor and extensive works of original art that create an unprecedented all-round experience.


Opulence, extravagance and above all delightful eccentricity are the keynotes of 21 Nettleton for us and you’ll definitely be favouring comfort over cost if you stay here. It’s ideal should you want to take over the whole house, its four lavish suites, magnificent gardens and secluded spa for an intimate party or family gathering  – it will certainly be an experience you’ll never forget.


Kensington Place


Interior charm of decor and service trumps the ‘multi-storey car park’ external architecture of Kensington Place


Where there’s Hope there’s life! Hope meets us at the front door and welcomes us in with a distinctly Russian lilt to her speech. She’s the senior manageress on duty as we arrive and we’re immediately invited to sit by the open log fire (it is autumn after all) as she introduces herself and Kensington Place to us.

Such is Hope’s enthusiasm for Kensington Place you’d think she owned this small boutique residence. Situated in leafy Higgovale on the slopes of Table Mountain, Kensington Place is ideally situated for the Cape Town scene although its tucked away within a quiet neighbourhood and not immediately what you’d think of as a hotel.

With its eight luxury bedrooms, secluded location and understated persona you’d think it was a private house, which in fact it was formerly.

If you favour simple elegance, interesting art, quiet gardens with a small pool and, above all, friendly attentive service, then Kensington Place could be for you.

We miss the ‘high tea’ of Manna Bay with its open vistas to Cape Bay in the afternoons but it’s undoubtedly good for our waistlines and overall is perhaps a more intimate experience than other residences.

Whilst architecturally it has little appeal to us, Kensington Place makes up for it in the warmth of its welcome and the willingness to please that eclipses many similar establishments. Hope isn’t an exception; all of the staff exude a similar bonhomie and cheerfulness that is infectious.

Although not ‘budget’, Kensington Place will also be kinder to your pocket than most of our other choices in this article.


Mount Nelson


Mount Nelson, ‘Nellie’ nestles in pink grandeur, within her own beautiful gardens


If ‘Nellie’ conjures up visions of a pink elephant you won’t be far wrong. It’s one of Cape Town’s largest and most historic hotels, sitting imposingly in pink elegance amidst its own beautiful ornamental ‘Oudtshoorn’ gardens that lead almost seamlessly through Company’s Gardens to the sea.

You can’t fail to be impressed by the grandiose Palladian entrance on Orange Street that frames the avenue of massive palms that lead you to the main building.

You’ll stay here if you love a sense of occasion, of history, or of grandeur. Mount Nelson opened just months before the Anglo-Boer War, when it hosted the wealthy elite, the great and not so good that fled the goldfields and diamond mining areas during the conflict. With a worldwide reputation for quality and opulence that attracted the likes of Kipling, Conan Doyle and Churchill, ‘Nellie’ has preserved this aura but updated it to take into account modern desires for constant communication and occasional fitness!

A row of eight perfectly restored historic cottages on the hotel grounds have been converted into the Garden Cottage Suites together with three other historic properties and the Helmsley Hotel; all of which now offer a variety of elegant accommodation.

Whether it’s a visit simply for afternoon tea, formal dinner or a more elongated stay in one of the private suites or elegant bedrooms you’ll be immersed in a memorable ambiance that infuses you with the notion that Rudyard or Winston might walk through the door at any moment.

If you’re a lover of tradition and old values, then you’ll love Mount Nelson and if you need further confirmation, it’s been owned by Belmond since 1988, who you’ll be more familiar with as owners of The Orient Express.

enquire-1Do you fancy your own getaway to South Africa?

Why not download our guide brochure or give us a call today on 01202 030443, or simply click ‘enquire’ to let us know what you’d love to do?


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