The Best Boutique Hotels in South Africa

The boutique hotels in South Africa come with beautiful settings, whether along the coast or inland
The boutique hotels in South Africa come with beautiful settings, whether along the coast or inland | Courtesy of Compass House / Expedia
Photo of Glynis Horning
18 March 2021

The southern tip of Africa packs in everything from rugged game parks to golden beaches where dolphins and whales cruise by, mellow winelands and the dramatic Drakensberg mountains. Set among these, sophisticated cities, lively townships, quaint seaside towns and country villages await, with some of the best boutique hotels in the world settled right here in South Africa.

Auberge Burgundy, Hermanus

Hotel
4.6/5 (23 Reviews)
Auberge Burgundy, Hermanus
Courtesy of Auberge Burgundy / Expedia
This blue-shuttered, Provençal pad is best placed for taking in the charm of Hermanus – one of South Africa’s prettiest seaside towns, 90-minutes from Cape Town. The family-run auberge sits right on the seafront, above the old harbour and Walker Bay, where southern right whales sail pass by from May to early January and you can smell the salty sea air. All around you are cafés, craft stalls, galleries and trendy boutiques, celebrating local talent – though, you’d be forgiven for forgetting the world outside when hidden away in the hotel’s flower-filled courtyard garden.
More info

At a Glance

Free Wifi
Outdoor pool
Concierge Service
Laundry Facilities

Dock House, Cape Town

Boutique Hotel, Spa Hotel
4.9/5 (71 Reviews)
Dock House, Cape Town
Courtesy of Dock House Boutique Hotel / Expedia
For those wanting a secluded stay close to Cape Town’s vibrant Victoria & Albert Waterfront, the Dock House is tucked away in a quiet garden beside the 1894 Time Ball Tower, in what was the Harbour Master’s home. The elegantly refurbished Victorian building has just five rooms and one airy suite, all high ceilings and chandeliers, wrapped in a deep veranda. There’s even a tranquil pool with loungers – not always guaranteed in Cape Town’s city centre.
More info

At a Glance

Free Wifi
Outdoor pool
Restaurant
Full-service spa
Business Centre
Concierge Service
24 Hour Front Desk
Fitness Facilities
Laundry Facilities
Multilingual Staff
Bar/Lounge

Hartford House, KwaZulu-Natal

Hotel
4.7/5 (12 Reviews)
Hartford House, KwaZulu-Natal_430ab1a7
Courtesy of Hartford House / Expedia
One for foodies, the multi-award-winning restaurant in this gracious old family farmhouse on a stud farm in the lush KwaZulu-Natal Midlands serves a wealth of local produce in understatedly sensational ways. Savour them over relaxed lunches on the deep veranda or a multi-course tasting menu in the grand candlelit dining room. You’ll be hard-pressed to beat just the homegrown harvest salad, with freshly made breads and butter.
More info

At a Glance

Free Wifi
Outdoor pool
Full-service spa
Concierge Service
Laundry Facilities
Bar/Lounge

POD Camps Bay, Cape Town

Hotel, Boutique Hotel, Guesthouse
4.8/5 (150 Reviews)
POD Camps Bay
POD Camps Bay | Courtesy of POD
This ultra-cool, hipster-summoning hotel epitomises pared-down green architecture, with naked timber, stone and glass reflecting the granite of the gobsmacking mountain behind it. The white sands of Camps Bay are 50 paces away, as are a slew of trendy restaurants, but there’s no better place to savour the sunset than POD’s own glamorous pool deck, where guests are served complimentary canapés and wine.
More info

At a Glance

Free Wifi
Outdoor pool
Concierge Service
24 Hour Front Desk
Fitness Facilities
Laundry Facilities
Multilingual Staff
Bar/Lounge

The Peech Hotel, Johannesburg

Boutique Hotel
4.8/5 (67 Reviews)
The Peech Hotel is situated close to Johannesburg's business hub
Courtesy of The Peech Boutique Hotel / Expedia
For those craving an oasis of calm in the heaving heart of Joburg, this 1950s family home-turned-hotel lies in two acres (0.8ha) of tree-shaded gardens in residential Melrose, with two swimming pools to chill around, and suites that reflect eco values in understated African style. The shops and galleries of smart Sandton and Rosebank are just minutes away.
More info

At a Glance

Free Wifi
Concierge Service
24 Hour Front Desk
Fitness Facilities
Laundry Facilities
Bar/Lounge

Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa, Johannesburg

Boutique Hotel, Spa Hotel, Luxury
5/5 (75 Reviews)
Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa, Johannesburg
Courtesy of Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa / Expedia
Saxon guests are met at the airport in a Mercedes-Benz E-Class and welcomed with a bottle of French champagne, making this one a hit with unabashed lovers of luxury. Suites don’t come plusher than the Nelson Mandela Platinum, with a private glass elevator, bespoke African decor, original artworks and a 24-hour dedicated butler service. The award-winning spa is in a league of its own, with one-of-a-kind indulgences like sound therapy in a glass-walled garden treatment room.
More info

At a Glance

Full-service spa
Wheelchair accessible (may have limitations)
Concierge Service
24 Hour Front Desk
Fitness Facilities
Laundry Facilities
Multilingual Staff
Bar/Lounge

Compass House, Cape Town

Boutique Hotel, Independent Hotel
4.7/5 (29 Reviews)
Compass House, Cape Town
Courtesy of Compass House / Expedia
For those after a personalised beach stay, the Compass House places you just two minutes from the protected beach of exclusive Bantry Bay and 10 minutes from the centre of Cape Town. Attentive hosts will arrange everything from free hotel transfers, to bookings at special restaurants, off-beat adventures like sand-duning, and visits to exclusive wine estates, from their Little Black Book. They pride themselves on each suite having a high-tech in-wall sound system, and giving you access to a huge music library.
More info

At a Glance

Free Wifi
Outdoor pool
Restaurant
Full-service spa
Business Centre
Concierge Service
24 Hour Front Desk
Laundry Facilities
Multilingual Staff
Bar/Lounge

La Residence, Cape Winelands

Boutique Hotel, Luxury
Map View
La Residence, Cape Winelands
Courtesy of La Residence / Expedia
Ringed by the vineyards, plum orchards and mountains of Franschhoek, La Residence has 11 luxe suites, each created by designer Liz Biden around a different theme: from exotic Tibetan to warm Provençal – whatever turns you on. It’s the ultimate for a romantic break or wedding, when family or friends can book five vineyard suites. This being the Cape Winelands – aka South Africa’s gastronomy HQ – dining is a serious affair, stretching from long, lazy breakfasts to chandelier-lit evening meals in the Great Hall and al fresco nights in the palm-lined Persian Alley.

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  • Labotessa, Cape Town

    Independent Hotel, Luxury
    5/5 (1 Reviews)
    Labotessa, Cape Town
    Courtesy of Labotessa / Expedia
    For those after old-fashioned opulence with ultra-modern conveniences in the heart of the city, Labotessa is a Cape Town landmark in its own right, set on cobbled Church Square. Behind its elegant 17th-century facade, lies six enormous, high-ceilinged European-inspired suites in jewel tones, giving iconic views of Lion’s Head, the Slave Lodge, Groote Kerk and the Company Gardens. The hotel’s Café & Terrace serves sophisticated homemade snacks, all-day breakfasts and seasonal salads, and buzzes with wine and coffee-lovers from morning till night.
    More info

    At a Glance

    Free Wifi
    Concierge Service
    24 Hour Front Desk
    Laundry Facilities
    Multilingual Staff

    Tintswalo, Boulders Beach

    Boutique Hotel, Villa
    4.7/5 (3 Reviews)
    Tintswalo, Boulders Beach
    Courtesy of Tintswalo at Boulders / Expedia
    Tintswalo’s airy suites are daubed in the shades of the sea, looking out to the historic naval base settlement of Simon’s Town, 35km (22mi) from Cape Town. The largest penguin colony in Africa is on the beach below you, and from your balcony you can watch the antics of these endearing besuited creatures that mate for life, as they raise their chicks, fish and feed.
    More info

    At a Glance

    Free Wifi
    Outdoor pool
    Full-service spa
    Laundry Facilities

    Royal Malewane, Kruger

    Boutique Hotel, Chain Hotel
    Map View
    Royal Malewane, Kruger
    Courtesy of Royal Malewane / Expedia
    For those after a Big Five safari in high style, Royal Malewane is located on the border of the Greater Kruger National Park. You can drop in by plane on a private airstrip, and on arrival at the main lodge you’ll uncover eight classically-styled, oh-so romantic suites. But our tip? Opt instead for the intimate (and more) modern Farmstead; or, better yet, The Farmhouse – with four subtly sophisticated bedrooms, and its own swimming pool above the bush, a private chef, housekeeper, butler, safari vehicle and dedicated ranger and tracker.

    The Giglio, Johannesburg

    Hotel, Luxury
    The Giglio, Johannesburg
    Courtesy of The Giglio Boutique Hotel / Expedia
    Those hankering after a country feel in the heart of Joburg will find it at The Giglio. Just minutes from the shopping, dining and clubbing of Sandton and Rosebank, you turn down an avenue of giant pin oaks to discover a Cape Dutch home-from-home in a tranquil garden with a fountain. Suites are as quietly stylish as they are comfortable (think solid oak furniture and leather headboards); the service is friendly but unobtrusive; and there’s a pool surrounded by loungers.
    More info

    At a Glance

    Free Wifi
    Outdoor pool
    Restaurant
    Concierge Service
    Laundry Facilities

    Angala Boutique Hotel

    Boutique Hotel, Guesthouse
    4.9/5 (67 Reviews)
    Boutique hotel Angala
    Boutique hotel Angala | Courtesy of Angala Hotel
    The owners of this rejuvenating retreat between Stellenbosch and Franschhoek will tell you that ‘Angala’ was a period when the Earth was being formed in limitless potential, and their hope is you to leave with some sense of that. After all, how can you not, when unwinding under the Cape Winelands mountains, in a simple but luxurious suite? Go hiking, swim in two pools, take a private yoga session, and end with a massage before dining on fresh local produce – or simply sit on the deck sipping local wines while taking in the natural scenery of the sculpted Simonsberg mountain.
    More info

    At a Glance

    Free Wifi
    Restaurant
    Full-service spa
    Concierge Service
    24 Hour Front Desk
    Laundry Facilities
    Bar/Lounge

    This is an updated version of an article originally written by Carina Claassens.

    These recommendations were updated on March 18, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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