Cape Town is easily one of the most popular tourist destinations in Africa, if not the world. With such a vast range of places to visit in Cape Town, from verdant wine farms to glistening beaches and award-winning restaurants, it’s no surprise that it regularly scoops the top spot on international must-travel lists. Although the city’s tourism is focused around a few key locations, many visitors are unsure about the best places to stay in Cape Town. Where are the best hotels in Cape Town? And where should you stay if you’re looking to be close to Cape Town attraction? The good news is, there’s no one best area to stay in Cape Town, and where you choose to spend your time depends largely on your interests and the purpose of your trip.
Close to the action with some peace and quiet?
Cape Town’s city layout is heavily influenced by geography - mountains and the oceans dictate where houses and hotels can be built, and because there’s limited space many of these areas are in high demand. The area called the Cape Town City Bowl, located on the internal slopes of Table Mountain and Signal Hill and spreading down towards the waters of Table Bay and Woodstock, is the oldest part of the city, and where you’ll find most hotels in Cape Town. Many consider the city bowl region the best area to stay in Cape Town, owing to its centrality, convenience - it’s easy to reach from the airport and close to most Cape Town attractions, famous markets, best things to do at night, and often offers stunning views of Table Mountain. Although bigger hotels are generally restricted to the CBD, the quieter suburbs on the slopes of the mountain, such as Oranjezicht, Higgovale, Gardens and Tamboerskloof are home to exclusive boutique hotels and impressive AirBnb rentals, perfect for being close to the action with a bit more tranquility.
Panoramic ocean views
If you’re wondering where to stay in Cape Town for the best access to the pristine beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay, or the popular Sea Point Promenade, then look no further than the famous Atlantic Seaboard. This broad term, which encompasses several suburbs set along the Atlantic Coastline, is home to several of the city’s most lavish and expensive properties. For many, the cost of the glitzy boutique hotels along the Seaboard is justified - most properties along this thin stretch of land offer incredible panoramic views out over the ocean, and easily accessibility to Cape Town’s best beaches.
Best of the small wine towns
Cape Town is famous for its wine, and scenically stunning vineyards. Although many of these are located in quiet towns in outlying regions where not much else happens, they can be perfect retreats for a night or two from the busy city if you’re here for more than one day. Many of the Cape’s famous wine farms also have in-house hotels, spas and restaurants which although costly, are on a par with the world’s best. If you’re looking to spend a night or two close to the wine farms, but save on the costs, there’s ample independent accommodation in the towns of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch that’s only a short drive away from the estates. Both offer plenty of small town charm and incredible views of the fertile valleys.
Quaint coastal towns
If you’re looking for quaint and quirky coastal towns to stay in, then head out along the False Bay coastline. The seaside suburbs of Muizenberg, Kalk Bay, Fishhoek and Simon’s Town all have something different to offer, and are among the best places to stay in Cape Town for young families. The water that side of the peninsula is warmer and slightly calmer, there are several pristine tidal pools, and everything operates at a slightly slower pace. Although many Cape Town private tours will stop off at these destinations en-route to Cape Point, if time allows they make for truly tranquil overnight stops as well.
Here for business?
If you’re in the city strictly for business purposes, or you’re attending a function at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, then you’ll likely want to stay close to the action in the Cape Town CBD. Although this region technically falls under the City Bowl region, there’s a distinct class of hotel in the lower reaches of the city centre that specifically cater towards business travellers. Here you can expect smartly-dressed staff, buffet breakfasts, and clinical hotel rooms, along with easy access to the major convention centres, airport and attractions like Table Mountain and the V&A Waterfront, should you have a few hours of downtime.
Remote beach villages
If you’re looking to totally unwind and relax away from the city, but still stay close to the beach and not too far away, then consider heading over the mountain to the southwestern stretch of the peninsula. Small seaside suburbs like Scarborough, Kommetjie, and Noordhoek can at times feel like remote beach villages, free from bustling malls and perfect for surfers or fans of long days on the beach. If you’re a fan of a more low-key, laid back way of life, and unsure where to stay in Cape Town, then you can’t go wrong with a few nights on the south peninsula.
Experience the West Coast way of life
South Africa’s West Coast offers another totally different way of life. The West Coast, which starts just outside of Cape Town, is largely undeveloped and unchanged for hundreds of years. It’s still home primarily to small fishing communities, and although some touristy towns have sprung up over the years, such as the popular Paternoster and the windy Langebaan, it still feels like it’s stuck in a time-warp of sorts. Though it’s not recommended to stay there for the full duration of your journey, a few nights up the West Coast offers a good contrast to the bustling inner city life.
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