Capetown - best areas to stay in?

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Jan 31st, 2007, 04:50 AM
  #1
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Capetown - best areas to stay in?

Hey folks! These forums are very helpful. My friend and I are traveling to Capetown at the end of March/beginning of April. Both of us are single women in our 30s. We'd like to find someplace safe, but fun and w/n walking distance of main attractions.

What areas of Capetown are the best to stay in?

Any suggestions re: Green Point area?

Much oblige!
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Jan 31st, 2007, 06:15 AM
  #2
santharamhari
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Areas? Camps Bay, Bantry Bay, V&F, or you can stay in Stellenbosch in wine country......

Hopefully Selwyn from these boards will see this thread and will be able to post more info to answer your question. He's from Cape Town.

Hari
 
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Jan 31st, 2007, 06:51 AM
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The main attractions are the V&A Waterfront, Robben Island and Table Mountain tramway (in my opinion).

If you want to walk to the first two (and take a boat to Robben Island), the best areas to stay are the V&A Waterfront or Greenpoint.

A reasonable hotel in Greenpoint is the Victoria Junction. Most hotels at the Waterfront will be more expensive.
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Jan 31st, 2007, 09:16 AM
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520
 
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During our southern Africa trip in Late NOvember, early December '06,we stayed in two different places in Capetown at the beginning of our trip and at the end, and both were wonderful. In our first visit we stayed at a completely wonderful boutique hotel, Camps Bay Retreat, owned by the same people who own the Bay Hotel and the Victoria and Albert apartments--but you're dependent on taxis--or renting your own car. When we came back to Cape Town at the end of our trip, we stayed in the Gardens, at a bed and breakfast/boutique hotel, Welgelegen House, which is also extraordinary and is probably closer to what you're looking for--it has fourteen rooms, is amazingly reasonable, the rooms are wonderful, the public rooms very stylish (that's the way it's always written up) and the breakfasts absolutely the best of any that we had throughout our three-week trip. But what really makes it outstanding is how helpful the staff is--fun, warm, terrific. There are three women who manage it, and each is exceptional. It's very close to the section of Kloof Street that is filled with restaurants, shops, and galleries--fun and safe to walk around--and also easy to get to other happening parts of Cape Town. It's booked months in advance, so if you're interested you should contact them pronto--we were just lucky as they had a cancellation at the last moment, and we were able to get a room just before we left. I had tried them much earlier in the planning stage and they hadn't had anything.
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Jan 31st, 2007, 05:33 PM
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santharamhari
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520,

I read your note on campsbay retreat and recommended it to my sister and her family who are visiting Cape Town prior to going to Lebala end May....

Thanks,
Hari
 
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Jan 31st, 2007, 06:07 PM
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520
 
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As you can see, Hari, we loved it--your sister should check the web site. There are two sets of rooms, the Deck House and the Manor House--the rooms in the Manor House don't show up as well in the website, but they're wonderful--and the bathrooms are spectacular. Compared to places like the Cape Grace, it's a remarkable bargain--I think at the exchange rate then, we paid about $270 per night w/breakfast. If your sister can afford it, she should ask for room 1--which was/is the owner's room--very large with a lovely terrace, sitting room and spectacular bath--I'm not sure what it goes for, but certainly less than the Cape Grace. The rooms at the Deck House look quite wonderful, but we were so happy where we were, we never wandered over to check them out. (The Manor House is the original, kind of Italinate House from what was a private estate, while the Deck House is a group of rooms on another part of the grounds that are new, very open and modern. The rooms in the Manor are more traditional, but elegant and warm w/o being overdone or stuffy. I think we stayed in a luxury room and room one is a suite. The staff were helpful, thoughtful and unobtrusive. On safari, we met one of the most well-traveled couples we've ever met, and their son runs a travel agency in Cape Town--for his wedding in 2005, all of the guests stayed at Camps Bay Retreat. Since it's only been open for two years, they were surprised we knew about it, and we have our South African travel agent to thank for it.

We hated to leave--and, hesitant as I am to admit it, it's the kind of place one almost wants to keep secret. Since it doesn't look as if we'll be going back for sometime and since it is so special, I guess it's only fair to share it with all the people who have been so helpful on this forum--especially you, Hari.
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Jan 31st, 2007, 07:22 PM
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santharamhari
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Thanks a lot 520...i'm going to get her to read this thread. Apprciate it.

Hari
 
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Feb 1st, 2007, 12:46 AM
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sam34,

Firstly if you are travlling to Cape Town in March or April I would really start booking your accommodation soonest as these are very busy times for the tourism industry in my city.

Relative to some of the responses you have already had I just want to comment about the Camps Bay Retreat. I have never stayed at the venue nor visited it so I assume that what 520 is telling you is spot on to the extent that I will now go do a recognisance on the establishment in the hope that I might send some of my own clients there in the future. What I do want to say is that you WILL need a vehicle or taxi hire to go anywhere other than in Camps Bay. Amongst others the Kloof Street area, with all its restaurants, that 520 speaks of is most definitely not within walking range of Camps Bay Retreat. Furthermore even though Camps Bay Retreat probably is good value in its price range I do believe that you could much better money for value wise when it coems to trying to find good quality accommodation in Cape Town.

Relative to the little bit that you have told us on in your mail it seems as if you want to be located somewhere near to where "it is all happening". Furthermore obviously safety, comfort and good value are of importance o you and your friend.

With that being the case I would suggest that you stay in the Green Point area. This region is close to The Waterfront, city and is a central point to star all types of exploration through Cape Town.

When it comes to accommodation in Gren Point my recommendations would be that you stay at the following places of stay:

Davids

http://www.davids.co.za/

Wonderful venue with fantastic hosts. Close to city as well as the Green Point strip where there are many restaurants. Well appointed and has to be amongst the best value in Cape Town. Highly recommended.

____________________


Cape Standard

http://www.capestandard.co.za/home.htm

Well located. Lovely guesthouse with super friendly host. Great value for money and certainly not expensive. Rooms are done up in a rustic manner with all conveniences available. Great breakfast area.

_______________




Village Lodge Cottages

http://www.thevillagelodge.com/content/cottages.asp


These are fantastic self catering cottages at excellent rates. They are located in De Watrekant which borders the city centre and Green Point region. The cottages are very quaint, fabulously furnished with huge, huge, huge amounts of space. They are also extremely well maintained. If you elect to stay at the cottages you will be staying are right in the middle of where it is all happening near the city centre (10 minute walk away) as well the Waterfront. (20 minute walk away). The cottages are also close to many great little coffee houses, a wonderful deli called Andiamo ( http://www.eatout.co.za/EatOut/Eat_R...8,1686,00.html ) as well as interesting restaurants like:

Africa Cafe, ( http://www.africacafe.co.za )

Tank ( http://www.eatout.co.za/EatOut/Eat_R...8,1562,00.html )

Pigale ( http://www.eatout.co.za/EatOut/Eat_R...8,1732,00.html)

Ginja.( http://www.eatout.co.za/EatOut/Eat_R...8,1327,00.html )

At the coffee houses you can have your morning breakfast seeing that these venues are self catering places of stay and do not include breakfast.

Most important is the fact that the cottages represent excellent value for money and you could get away without having car hire and only use taxis if need be as most is within walking distance.

One of the big differences between the Gren Point area and Camps Bay is that you wont be near to the sea when you stay in Green Point. If this is important to you and you would prefer to stay in Camps Bay then I would suggest that you stay at one of the following two places.


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Feb 1st, 2007, 01:20 AM
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Sam 34

Oh well it seems as if Fodors is up to its old tricks of only allowing a certain length of mail once again. We used to have this problem on this board many years ago. Anyway here is the balance of my previous mail:


The Bay Atlantic

http://www.thebayatlantic.com/Default.htm

Smallish rooms but wonderfully located in a safe area in Camps Bay. Magnificent sea views and fabulous swimming pool. Excellent value for money. Hosts are also very friendly

Heres hoping the above helps you in the choices that you have to make and that you have a wonderful stay in our city.

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa
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Feb 1st, 2007, 08:56 PM
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Oy! So many high end suggestions -- Victoria Junction is tricked out like an Ian Schrager hotel and priced similarly. These are all 4+ star hotels, and anything in Camps Bay is *not* within walking distance of anything except Camps Bay.

520's suggestion of Welgelegen House is the most reasonable reply so far to your question. If you like stylish urban hotels along the Ian Schrager line and are happy with higher end, then better located options than Victoria Junction include the Metropole Hotel on Long Street (www.metropole.co.za) and the Urban Chic Hotel (www.urbanchic.co.za), also on Long Street and better located to the night life, as well as to the Company Gardens, museums, etc.

You could also check out the brand new Extreme Hotel, which is gorgeous, funky and full of interesting people -- film crews on shoots, musicians, world-class surfers -- just opened in December. www.extreme-hotels.com

I also recommend a night elsewhere -- in a B&B or hotel in Franschhoek if you want to wallow in winelands luxury. Alternatively, you could do a cultural tour and after dinner (Mzoli's) and jazz (Vuyo's) in one of the townships, spend the night in Khayelitsha (Vicky's B&B is famous), and I can recommend Zuki's in Masipumelele as an undiscovered gem -- Charlotte who runs Nomthunzie tours is brilliant and will take great care of you ([email protected]). There are also some newly refurbished chalets in the West Coast National Park (1 hours drive north) that are community run and quite affordable, and make a great base for exploring the West Coast area for a day.

My advice: don't just wallow in affordable luxury, also get beneath the surface and absorb some authentic local culture!

Finally -- Selwyn's suggestions for restaurants are fine (quality, reliability), but they are definitely tourist restaurants. Ginja is WAY overpriced and Africa Cafe packs in busloads (literally) of tourists. Tank is gorgeous, but the crowd at night is quite full of itself, and there's better sushi to be had if that's your thing. If you want to talk restaurants, I suggest a new thread...

HTH

Kurt

http://afrikatourism.blogspot.com/
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Feb 2nd, 2007, 05:36 AM
  #11
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Wow! Thanks for all your great suggestions ... esp. Selwyn & Kurt. Kurt, I will have to check out your blog in detail. I could plan this trip all day, but I'm not sure my boss would like that.

I think we will end up renting a car, but I'm a city girl and need to be w/n walking distance of stuff. Our budget, which may need adjustment, is around R280 ($40) pp/per night. I don't need fancy - just clean, helpful staff, and decent location.

I'm sure I'll back here w/ more questions, but thanks for a great start!!

-Sonja
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Feb 2nd, 2007, 10:51 AM
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We stayed at the Welgelegen in 2004 and would also recommend. However, it may have changed management since then so I am glad to see from 520's report that things haven't changed.
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Feb 2nd, 2007, 08:07 PM
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520
 
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the original owner did sell Welgelgen House, but the new ownership continues to manage it with some of the same people, and from what I understand, the same warm, easygoing, lovely approach. I think the cheapest room they had was $125 per night so you might have to stretch your budget. I didn't see ANYTHING in Capetown for $80/$40 per person per night--EXCEPT for The Town Hotel which was recommended by one of the agents I spoke to when researching our trip; it was under renovation and rooms were being offered at $80.00 a night on hotelClub, a hotel website that supposedly offers special rates--but one can often can the same rate by contacting the hotel directly. I've read good write-ups about The Town, and its renovation should be complete by now--which may mean the rates are also up.

We liked being in The Gardens--it was a completely different experience from Camps Bay, which made it fun--almost like staying in two different cities--and think there are many, many more things to see than RBCal's listing--V & A Waterfront, seemed pretty generic to us--but these things are so personal.
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Feb 3rd, 2007, 01:17 AM
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Welgelegen Guesthouse was sold about 1.5 years ago when the original owner, Lanie van Reenen moved to Europe. I suppose when it comes to places of stay it is a case of horses for courses because I had a visitor who stayed at the guesthouse about 5 years ago and loved it. About 8 months ago he returned to Cape Town with his wife and once again he booked them into Welgelegen. The morning of their arrival I received a frantic call of "come and fetch us so that we can find new accommodation". When I arrived at the guesthouse he complained that he had been put into a "shoebox" to use his exact words. I saw their room later on and I think he exaggerated slightly but heres what happened. When Welgelegen was owned by Lanie she also had a flatlet that was over the road from the guesthouse. Furthermore her guesthouse had 5 rooms. My visitors stayed in the flatlet the first time round and it was huge and I might add fantastic in my opinion. My visitor specifically asked for the flatlet the second time round and was not responded to accordingly. The reason was simple, the flatlet was not included in the Welgelegen sale. I am mentioning this in case other Fodorites land up in the same position as I do know of some who have stayed in the flatlet in the past. I must also add that when Lanie sold the guesthouse she first enlarged its size before selling the establishment. In my opinion Welgelegen lost all its charm when it was made into a bigger establishment. I also believe that it is an expensive place to stay when measured in value for rands relative to what is available in the surrounding area. Furthermore overall I do not agree that this is such a great place to stay for the very reason that it is NOT in my opinion within walking distance from the city especially for those who are not that fit. The guesthouse is situated at the top of a long hill leading up from the city and the walk back after a day of touring is pretty hard. Thus if you elect to stay at Welgelegen it would be relatively important to have hired a car.

sam34

Relative to your budget I have to agree with 520 that you will have a reasonable amount of difficulty finding a hotel room in the price range you are looking for however you will find some great little guesthouses that will suit your pocket if you look hard enough.

I have already told you about Davids and Cape Standard. Also go take a look at:

Wilton Manor
http://www.fullhouserentals.co.za/in...lton_manor.htm

Over the road from Davids Guesthouse. Has all that you will need for a good stay. Well located and well priced.

40 Winks
http://www.40winksguesthouse.co.za/

Well placed in the Green Point area. Very friendly hosts. Well priced and good, safe clean place to stay

Launic
http://www.launichouse.co.za

Over the road from Cape Standard. Well located. Clean safe and comfortable. Well priced and well run guesthouse.



Kurt

Love your blog site. Very informative, down to earth and how I like to see Cape Town being a born and bred Capetonian. Might add that I dont necessarily agree with some of your thoughts about township tours but then my disagreement only stretches to about 1% of your content. I would encourage Fodorites to go take a look at this site as I think it is well written, is very informative and most important written with passion and from the heart by someone who obviously cares for Cape Town.

Kurt I also like the fact that you advocate that visitors should not only wallow in affordable luxury, also get beneath the surface and absorb some authentic local culture! With that said I just have to say that the Extreme Hotel goes in the exact opposite direction to this advice. Found this contrast to be quite funny. I also have to agree with you when you say that restaurants like Ginja, Tank etc are touristy but please bear in mind that these venues were only suggested because of the location being close to the Village Lodge cottages in De Waterkant. I differ with you totally as far as the Africa Cafe is concerned. Yes it is touristy but then I also must say that I feel it should be a must do event for every visitor to Cape Town. I take 80% of my visitor that I have to the Africa Cafe for dinner and have been doing so for 10 years. I am still to find one visitor who has not enjoyed the venue. To be more precise most come out of the venue screaming with joy. I say again it is touristy but it works and that is all that counts, after all visitors would want to enjoy themselves as much as possible when visiting any city of the world let alone Cape Town. Anyway as you quite correctly say if we have to start talking about restaurants lets open another thread and right now I just dont have the time to do so.

Just my twopence worth

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa



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Feb 3rd, 2007, 05:11 AM
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accommodation idea within your budget:

Prince Lodge www.tiscover.co.za/princelodge

Double rooms at R250/night. I pass it all the time and it looks clean and friendly, but I have no direct experience with them. Cape Town Tourism member but not graded (i.e., no star rating). Pretty well located, especially given the price.

PS - sorry about the previous post of restaurants. It was an off-topic draft that wasn't meant to go 'live'...


Kurt

http://afrikatourism.blogspot.com/
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Mar 26th, 2007, 04:35 PM
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we have always stayed in simonstown never had a problem
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