Built as a private home in the 1780s, this lovely, historic and centrally located boutique hotel has teak-beamed ceilings, foot-wide yellow-wood floorboards, and numerous other details that recall its gracious past. The hotel is the main feature of Heritage Square, a gorgeous restored historic courtyard, but a number of other restaurants and bars (as well as what's claimed to be the oldest-known fruit-bearing grapevine in South Africa) share the space, making it buzz with activity. Friendly staff ensures everything runs smoothly. Parking is across the street in a section of a public lot with good security.
The spacious rooms are individually decorated, many melding the best of South Africa's dynamic contemporary art scene with colonial elegance. Some have four-poster beds, others exposed brickwork, but each has its own special charm.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Rooms overlooking the courtyard can be a little noisy, but the revelry stops at midnight. The hotel provides ear plugs.
The hotel reception area is decorated with the same historic flair as the rest of the hotel, and staff are very helpful and kind.
Tours of the historic hotel and square can be arranged - talk to staff.
The fresh, tasty buffet breakfast is included in the rates and served in the comfortable breakfast room or courtyard. While the restaurants that share the courtyard are all separately run, their proximity to the hotel make them feel almost like they are part of it, giving guests access to some of Cape Town's best dining options barely steps from their rooms.
Cute little touches make the hotel stand out: cookies with the turn-down service, little surprises for children, and a free welcome drink.
The hotel is brilliantly located for the historic sights of the CBD, and for nearby nightlife (for any long walks, consider a cab at night for safety reasons). That means it is also close to the V&A Waterfront (less than ten minutes by car, or a 31-minute walk). Beaches are a similar distance by car.
The hotel recommends checking out HQ (1-minute walk) for good steak, or inventive tapas at Chef's Warehouse & Canteen (1-minute walk) - both courtyard buddies.
A former slave prison turned quirky bar and art gallery, The Drinkery (1-minute walk) is also in the square. Or branch out a bit further and try the cool hangout, The House of Machines (1-minute walk), for coffee, cocktails, motorbikes, and music.
WHY WE LIKE IT
A lovely historic feel combined with a kicking central courtyard, presenting the best of Cape Town's social and dining scene just below your bedroom, wins the day for us. Yes, it can be noisy, but if you can't beat 'em, join 'em (and only choose this hotel if that philosophy makes you excited rather than weary).