Where to Stay in Cape Town on a Budget

Cape Town sits in close proximity to some of South Africa's best natural beauty spots
Cape Town sits in close proximity to some of South Africa's best natural beauty spots

Though one of Africa’s glitziest cities, Cape Town is home to some seriously tempting shoestring accommodation, from hostels to budget hotels to homestays – all bookable on Culture Trip.

From world-class restaurants to elegant winery tours, thrilling contemporary galleries to reflective historic sights such as Robben Island Museum – the site of Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment – there’s a lot to experience in Cape Town. Whether your bag is beach bars or boutiques, there’s a lot to spend your money on in South Africa’s cosmopolitan heart – other than accommodation. If purse strings are tight, we can help; here are the best places to stay in Cape Town on a budget.

Stock Exchange Apartment Hotel

Chain Hotel, Budget Hotel
4.5/5 (79 Reviews)
Stock Exchange Apartment Hotel interior
Courtesy of Stock Exchange Apartment Hotel / Expedia.com
Hipster Woodstock, with its Old Biscuit Mill – a cool collection of ceramics shops, coffee roasters and trendy restaurants – is one of Cape Town’s most dynamic quarters, just a few minutes’ walk from the coast. Stock Exchange Apartment Hotel puts you in the thick of it and lets you save cash by cooking in kitchenettes – if you have the willpower to resist local culinary delights, that is. Contemporary geometric prints and bold pops of colour in the rooms are reminiscent of the energetic area.
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Gorgeous George by Design Hotels

Budget Hotel, Chain Hotel
4.7/5 (26 Reviews)
Gorgeous George by Design Hotels bedroom interior
Courtesy of Gorgeous George by Design Hotels / Expedia.com
With looks this good, the “gorgeous” tag suits. At this central stay, steps from the African crafts market at Greenmarket Square, mid-century modern touches – think three-legged tables and velvet sofas – meet industrial-chic vibes with exposed cement ceilings and metallics. The jewel in the design-forward crown? A rooftop indoor-outdoor pool, restaurant and lounge space. Drenched in greenery, Gorgeous George is as perfect for evening sharpeners as it is for morning OJs.
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Chartfield Guesthouse

Guesthouse
Chartfield Guesthouse bedroom interior
Courtesy of Chartfield Guesthouse / Expedia.com
It’s not all about downtown Cape Town. Kalk Bay, to the southeast, channels fishing village vibes with laid-back seafood eateries, galleries and tidal pools – just the thing when you really need a cool-down. And with white-washed walls and warm woods – not to mention ace sea views – the historic Chartfield Guesthouse has a breezy, laid-back feel that suits this seaside spot to a tee. Spend mornings nibbling pancakes on the terrace, included in your rate, with afternoons best spent lazing in the suntrap garden.
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Rouge on Rose Boutique Hotel

Boutique Hotel
Rouge on Rose Boutique Hotel lounge interior
Courtesy of Rouge on Rose Boutique Hotel / Expedia.com
If you’re seeking an intimate vibe, you’ll find it at Rouge on Rose. With just nine rooms, tucked into the historic and colourful neighbourhood of Bo-Kaap, this friendly boutique stay is run by a local mother and son team – who have insider intel on the best places to eat and shop in Cape Town. Pick their brains in the bold red lobby, then plan out the day from your sand-hued bedroom, furnished with subtle Asian touches.
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La Grenadine

Budget Hotel, Guesthouse
Map View
La Grenadine bedroom interior
Courtesy of La Grenadine / Booking.com
Set just off buzzy Kloof Street, a hotspot for bars and restaurants, La Grenadine feels a serene world away from the thrills of city life, thanks to a shade-dappled garden and cream-washed spaces, furnished with exposed stone and roll-top clawfoot baths. Just five rooms and a cottage make it feel intimate, while vintage touches from its French owners bring a bit of provençale glamour. This place has a conscience, too – there are solar panels on-site and 1% of its turnover goes to NGOs and charities.

2Inn1 Kensington

Inn, Budget Hotel, Spa Hotel
Map View
2Inn1 bedroom interior
Courtesy of 2Inn1 Kensington / Expedia.com
Who said a wallet-friendly hotel couldn’t do pampering? The spa, with its rungu massages and soothing facials, is a definite highlight of any stay at 2Inn1. Another perk? The garden and pool area provides a place to take the plunge on sweltering South African days whilst offering dramatic views out to Table Mountain and Lion’s Head. The rooms, all cool contemporary lines, aren’t half-bad either – especially given they come with free daily sundowners from 6pm-8pm.

Hotel on the Promenade

Hotel
Hotel on the Promenade exterior
Courtesy of Hotel on the Promenade / Expedia.com
Calling all beach bums: Hotel on the Promenade is a prime pick if you’re planning on spending your Cape Town time lazing on the sands. You’re just a hop from a string of beaches, including Milton, Sunset and Queen’s – posh Clifton is just a short drive away, too. Soak up the rays over a coffee on yellow terrace chairs, then stick around for a lunch of kingklip eel fillet with cream sauce. Handily, the hotel can sort out car hire and airport shuttle if you need it.
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Cape Cadogan Boutique Hotel

Boutique Hotel
4.8/5 (40 Reviews)
Cape Cadogan Boutique Hotel bedroom interior
Courtesy of Cape Cadogan Boutique Hotel / Expedia.com
Stay at this attractive mansion and you could almost imagine you’re crashing at the home of a wealthy Capetonian cousin – it’s far more intimate and friendly than the average hotel and yet still elegant. A tiny courtyard plunge pool cools you between naps on the stripy loungers; classically luxurious rooms have eco-friendly Africology toiletries and metro tiling in showers. Let them pack you a picnic for the park, or organise a tour of the city’s jazz scene.
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  • Once in Cape Town

    Hotel
    4.2/5 (43 Reviews)
    Once in Cape Town bar exterior
    Courtesy of Once in Cape Town / Expedia.com
    Bang on electric Kloof Street, Once in Cape Town is a natural pick for younger travellers or groups of friends. Choose between private dorms and socially shared setups, then make new friends among the jacaranda trees that frame the onsite restaurant – a favourite for craft beers, DJ sets and pizzas. There are loads of free daily activities on tap, too – from farmers’ market visits to braais in the townships. Just sign up at reception.
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    Ashanti Lodge & Travel Centre

    Lodge
    4.1/5 (42 Reviews)
    Ashanti Lodge bedroom interior
    Courtesy of Ashanti Lodge / Expedia.com
    Set in a gorgeous refurbished Victorian mansion at the foot of Table Mountain, Ashanti Lodge offers mixed and female-only dorms, single, double and twin rooms each equipped with basins – as bathrooms are shared – lockers and reading lights. In the morning, take a dip in the sparkling outdoor pool, relax in the garden or enjoy delicious cocktails and a meal in the bar area with fabulous mountain views. If you’d prefer to rough it, there’s a stretch of ground to pitch your tent and spend the night under the stars.
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    Never@Home

    Hotel, Lodge
    4.2/5 (79 Reviews)
    Never@Home pool and outdoor area
    Courtesy of Never@Home Cape Town / Expedia.com
    Situated on the vibrant Green Point strip and surrounded by trendy restaurants and bars, Never@Home is a funky, modern lodge located within walking distance of the V&A Waterfront – offering a variety of accommodation options, ranging from private twin and double rooms with en-suite or shared bathrooms, and mixed dorms. There’s also a ‘sanctuary dorm’ for females featuring a private outdoor patio, hairdryers and free toiletries. Never@Home ensures great value for money with free WiFi and linen, buzzing public areas, an outdoor pool, shuttle service and communal kitchen. If that’s not all, the on-site restaurant and bar serve fantastic South African fare and cocktails.
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    The Backpack

    Hostel, Lodge, Hotel

    Named one of the best hostels in Africa, the Backpack is an award-winning, fair trade and environmentally-friendly hostel. If you’re looking to make greener choices, be sure to book a room at the Backpack, as they use biodegradable cleaning products, recycle on a monthly basis, and use vegetable scraps to feed their worm farms. The lodge accommodates 100 people in 35 rooms, all of which are individually styled with air conditioning and private or shared bathrooms. Free continental breakfast and unlimited WiFi is included, not to mention the outdoor pool area, pool table, and travel centre to help you plan your Cape Town adventure.

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    Carnival Court Backpackers

    Lodge, Hotel
    3/5 (5 Reviews)
    Bars, restaurants and hostels on Long Street in Cape Town, South Africa
    © Ian Dagnall / Alamy Stock Photo
    Rated as one of the top 20 party hostels in the world, Carnival Court is located smack dab in the middle of all the action in Long Street, renowned for its vibrant nightlife and bars. If you enjoy city life, this is the place to be. This grand old Victorian lodge boasts three floors of cosy rooms and woodwork restored to its original splendour. From the two large balconies on the first and second floors, you can watch life unfold on the street below as you look out onto the slopes of Signal Hill. From late afternoon, mingle with fellow travellers in the buzzing bar for a drink – or a game of pool.
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    91 Loop Boutique Hostel

    Hostel, Boutique Hotel
    Map View
    91 Loop dorm interior
    Courtesy of 91 Loop / Expedia.com
    Conveniently located between hipster Bree Street Cape Town’s party centre on Long Street, 91 Loop Boutique Hostel delivers the best of both worlds. The MyCiti bus stops directly on its doorstep, offering guests cheap transport to all the best beaches and attractions Cape Town has to offer. Choose from a range of comfortable dorms, suites and futuristic pod rooms – all named after capital cities in the southern hemisphere. Bookings include free breakfast, key-card lockers, WiFi, a free welcome drink and weekly socials. And if that’s not all, The Honey Badger bar and café on-site is always ready to serve you a deluxe brewed coffee or cold beer.

    Lee-Shay Collison contributed additional reporting to this article.

    These recommendations were updated on July 8, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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