Cape Town’s coastal suburb, Hout Bay, is a picturesque spot in the Western Cape; a place of verdant valleys braided with vineyards and trimmed with beaches lapped by the Atlantic. It’s also home to restaurants and bars that delight guests staying at the best hotels in Hout Bay: after all, where better to relax over a glass of crisp sauvignon blanc while tucking in to, say, citrus-grilled lamb.
Calm and comforting rooms grace this restored manor house, a five-minute drive from Hout Bay with its Atlantic-bashed beach and its working harbour. Choose between courtyard- and mountain-facing rooms – all of them are different but feature four-poster beds, warm wooden floors and glamorous chandeliers (Sangoma rooms and suites also have freestanding baths). Dine under shady trees on the terrace or beside the turquoise-tiled pool on tapas or freshly caught barbecued fish.
As the name suggests, this is a white square; a contemporary hilltop guest house enfolding a contemporary retreat, within easy reach of most sights in Cape Town. Apple TVs meet wooden floors, playing up the startlingly blue sky and sea views through large windows (particularly in the corner suite which, along with many rooms, has its own private terrace). You could laze all day by the cooling saltwater pool, surrounded by gardens thick with shrubs and trees; but you’re a 10-minute drive from Llandudno Beach, along the Cape Peninsula. Just don’t head out before you’ve sampled a long buffet breakfast of home-made breads and preserves poolside. For dinner, there are plenty of restaurants within minutes’ drive of the hotel.
It’s called the Beach House because it is right on Hout Bay’s golden beach, with great mountain views from its nine rooms. All are soothing spaces, timber-floored with art in seascape colours and accessories in shades of sand and green. Sliding doors open onto fine balconies. Deluxe Suites 8 and 9 come with kitchenettes, although there’s breakfast provided: continental or full English. You can spend the day in and out of the inviting turquoise pool, working on that suntan. Alternatively, get active outdoors over a session of canoeing or horse riding, with a steer from the hotel.
The setting is the showstopper at this guesthouse: it’s on the slopes of the Karbonkelberg mountain, with decked terraces designed to maximise views across the sea, mountains and Hout Bay valley below. You’ll stay in light-flooded, pared-back cocoons with room-width windows – the view is the only decoration you need. After a breakfast of fresh fruit, yoghurt, meats and home-made bread, sunbathe poolside or get into gear on a bike tour of the lovely terrain all around.
There’s a home-from-home feel about this hillside bungalow, with its superb mountain and valley views. Sleeping six, it’s serene and is set in mature gardens with a sheltered freeform pool and equipment for braai: South Africa’s barbecue ritual. Interiors are refreshingly spare and pale with funky Eames-style chairs, cool tiled floors and an open fireplace for chillier nights. There are shaded corners for the breakfasts you’ve whisked up in the kitchen. The sense of peace belies the proximity to Hout Bay beach and buzzy village, where you can buy dinner ingredients – and of course, wine.
In the wineland-rich Constantia Valley this stone-and-thatch lodge dials up the style and comfort with a palm-fringed heated pool and tennis court, set among 0.8ha (2 acres) of glorious sub-tropical grounds; with giddying views of grape-growing expanses and the Hottentots Holland Mountains from the main terrace. Beamed, high-ceilinged bedrooms and villas adorned with animal skins keep you cosy, and some also have four-posters and freestanding tubs. (Bag the one-bedroom cottage with an open-plan lounge and kitchenette and private terrace if you can.) On cooler nights, gather at the fireplace with something warming from the wine cellar. On a fine day, wander the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, five minutes away by car.
Get back to nature at these cute stone, chalet-style cottages on the back slopes of Table Mountain. Set in a garden with an outdoor pool, they’re peaceful retreats with whitewashed walls and beams, and some have fireplaces and well-placed objects – hence the sense of glamorous self-catering. Lace up your hiking boots – Houtkapperspoort borders the Cecilia Forest, where you’ll find a vast network of walks (jogging paths, too, if you’d rather), passing through Kirstenbosch and Newlands Forest to the top of Table Mountain National Park and Cape Town.
This coffee-coloured pile, 19th-century but fully renovated, practically insists you wrap up in your plush robe and slippers and keep your agenda light. A 20-minute drive from Central Cape Town, at the foot of picturesque Chapmans Foot Drive, it has modern rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows that spell indolence. Two penthouses up the ante with awesome glimpses of Hout Bay. Limit activity to evenings at the seafood restaurant, known for its freshly shucked oysters and seafood platters with ocean views. When it’s cooler, cosy up by the fireplace in the cigar lounge.
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