Where to stay: SOUTH AFRICA
Inspirational places to stay. Authentic. Stylish. Local. Sustainable. Cultured.
Emily Moon River Lodge | Plettenberg Bay, South Africa
Just up the waterway from Plettenburg Bay, a few miles from the ocean, is a tranquil rural escape: Emily Moon River Lodge’s 16 suites are filled with eclectic treasures from Africa, Asia and Polynesia, and come standard with plenty of space, wooden viewing decks, outdoor showers, and all the luxe necessities. The restaurant offers views of the winding Bitou River, and serves Indian-inspired cuisine made with ingredients from the hotel’s own garden and local producers.
The Marine Hermanus | South Africa
This hotel is the grande dame of Hermanus, offering gracious accommodation, superb dining, great service and the best bed-based whale watching in town – the sea-view rooms are so close, and the bay below so deep, that you can actually hear the whales, let alone see them.
Kruger Shalati | Kruger National Park, South Africa
A true feat of design, this unusual property is built into a train that sits atop a bridge in Kruger National Park. Described as a sanctuary from the world, it’s easy to see why: Jaw-dropping views, indulgent facilities, and exceptional dining are on offer for guests in the rooms of this boutique wonder. All the while, the Kruger Shalati's articulate design gives a comfortable nod to its industrial heritage. If you’re looking for something very new and very different, this is it.
Marataba Conservation Camps | Marakele National Park, South Africa
This private-public collaboration with state-owned Marakele National Park is South Africa’s biodiversity hotspot you’ve never heard of, yet rhino, large elephant herds, big cats, pangolin, and prolific birdlife are all here along with the hypnotic beauty of the 2.5 billion-year-old Waterberg escarpment. Water seeps from ancient aquifers deep within its sedimentary rock, spilling into gorges and converging into rivers with deep Coke-colored pools.
Hallmark House | Johannesburg
Originally built in the 1970s as a diamond-polishing centre, the hotel is loacted in the hip Maboneng district on the east side of the Johannesburg CBD. Interiors have an industrial ‘Jo’burg’ vibe in the public spaces, with exposed cement ceilings and low-slung furnishings in a moody dark grey and black palette, interspersed with pops of colour and local knickknacks. There is a coffee bar, and a bar/restaurant. Rooms are outfitted with blonde wood and come with private terraces.
Radisson RED Johannesburg Rosebank
This new-build hotel, situated at Oxford Parks, is a vibrant mixed-use area comprising apartments, retailers, restaurants and offices. Featuring 222 rooms and suites with colorful interior design, including custom African-print wallpaper for each floor, street-style art displays which will rotate every six months, and high-tech additions like an interactive digi-wall and Chromecast televisions in each room.
The Robertson Small Hotel | Robertson, South Africa
A jewel in the crown of the Western Cape’s bucolic wine country, the Robertson Small Hotel has brought a welcome injection of luxury to the area since it opened in 2011. A recent overhaul adds extra polish to an idyll not particularly lacking in refinement - the owners have found talent from home and abroad to upgrade the property, with London-based designers Studio Ashby creating a new visual identity via bespoke items made by local designers.
Birkenhead House Hotel | Hermanus, South Africa
This sprawling cream-colored villa is perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking the ocean, and the stunning vantage point is one of the hotel's finest features: Hermanus is known for its rugged natural beauty, and Birkenhead House maximizes that in all directions. Hermanus is a lovely add-on to any South Africa trip, and this is the best hotel in the area by far. If you're a serious whale watcher, it's a no brainer: You can't beat these views.
Schoone Oordt Country House | Swellendam, Western Cape
Set in a much-photographed Victorian landmark dating from 1853, the charming Schoone Oordt Country House is surrounded by rolling fields and the majestic Langeberg Mountain range in the picturesque village of Swellendam. It has been lovingly restored over many years by Richard and Alison Walker and is tucked away on over 5000m² of lush grounds, with guests having access a stunning saltwater swimming pool and a fragrant rose garden.
Strandloper Ocean Boutique Hotel | Paternoster, South Africa
An airy seaside escape that exudes beachy minimalism in the form of white linens, pale woods, animal hide rugs, and furniture. The interiors are simple, but plush, in order to maximize the focus on the exterior, and that's just how a beach hideaway should be.
MannaBay Fine Boutique Hotel | Cape Town
This luxurious boutique hotel is located high on the slopes of Table Mountain, benefiting from superb city and mountain views, with highly-personal service and generous touches like complimentary dinner, high tea, house drinks and airport transfers. There's an atmosphere of comfort, with dramatic wall paper choices, monogrammed linen, bookshelves filled with well-thumbed books, eclectic furniture and arresting South African artworks.
Tintswalo Atlantic | Cape Town
The sublime property Tintswalo Atlantic is the only luxe hotel located within the Table Mountain National Park, and right on the ocean to boot. Wake up in one of 11 suites, all of which come with a different island theme — such as Ithaca Island, with its white walls, royal-blue touches and huge, cushion-adorned bed. The food is sublime, too; start the morning with a delivery of fresh croissants and coffee to your room or just linger by the pool, tucking into a basket of crispy calamari.
Pineapple House | Cape Town
With its blush-pink exterior and neon signage, Pineapple House is one of the coolest new hotels in the city, with a handy location just two blocks from the beach in Sea Point. Each of the nine rooms is different, but all are vibrant and, above all, fun — leopard-print headboards, tropical-print bedspreads and pretty cotton gowns from Woodstock Laundry all feature. Breakfast is served in the sunny, electric-blue room, complete with green velvet chairs and bold prints from local Krisjan Rossouw.
The Grand Daddy | Cape Town
The Grand Daddy is a funky boutique hotel with a rooftop Sky Bar, outdoor cinema, Airstream trailer park and stylish rooms. It is very much an urban hotel, located on Cape Town‘s bustling Long Street, near the hip restaurants and bars of Bree Street.
Babylonstoren | Simondium, Cape Winelands
Head to South Africa’s Drakenstein Valley and make your way to Babylonstoren, a dreamy estate situated in the heart of the Cape Winelands. White walls, green pastures, a bright blue sky, and countless vibrant colors abound. If arriving at Babylonstoren feels like entering a traditional Cape Dutch farm yard, don’t be surprised; this property is an incredibly well-preserved “werf” dating from 1690.
The Twelve Apostles Hotel | Cape Town
The coastal road between Camps Bay and Llandudno is a conservation area, so it’s undeveloped—just fynbos-covered mountains to one side, and the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean to the other. Until you round a curve in the road and catch your first glimpse of the Twelve Apostles, named after the Twelve Apostles mountain range that runs parallel to the coast, that is: Built into the contours of the mountainside, there’s a lot of hotel packed into its relatively small footprint.
Kensington Place | Cape Town
It’s all about location with a capital-L at this ultra-smart little hotel on the edge of a wooded ravine in swanky Higgovale. Extremely private, behind high walls, yet surrounded by natural beauty—tantalizing glimpses of the sky, Table Mountain or Lion’s Head from every room—yet minutes from the city’s best restaurants, party hotspots, shops and beaches. The courtyard-style walled garden has a small pool, and a number of outdoor relaxation areas with sun loungers or cafe tables and chairs.
Silo Hotel | Cape Town
With 360-degree views that encompass both Table Mountain and the nearby V&A Waterfront, the Silo stands out for its industrial-meets-global collector chic décor, and its ideal location—which also includes sitting atop the buzzy new Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town’s Museum of Contemporary African Art. Bold artworks from the collection hang in the ground floor entrance and around the hotel; even if you don’t overnight here, you’ll want to stay for a meal at the bar or restaurant in the sixth-floor lobby.
Labotessa | Cape Town
Originally built in the early 1700s, the congressional church – one of the oldest buildings in South Africa – has been turned into a boutique hotel property. It is the debut project in the Labotessa portfolio by hoteliers Jan Fourie and Johan du Plessis. Each of the hotel’s seven spacious suites features a private elevator access, a Juliet balcony and sweeping views of Lion’s Head and Table Mountain.
Gorgeous George | Cape Town
The inspired owners behind Gorgeous George - a new stunner in the heart of Cape Town - have let it be known that this is not your typical city hotel. Far from it! The moment you step inside this brilliantly conceived property, which seamlessly blends Edwardian splendor with Art Deco wonder and industrial chic, you will discover the creations of internationally renowned South African artists, including murals by David Brits, a crocodile chair by Porky Hefer, and much more.
Delaire Graff Lodges | Stellenbosch, South Africa
There are luxury lodges with views of the Cape Winelands, a wine lounge that surveys yet more soaring scenery and an art collection that includes the original of Vladimir Tretchikoff's Chinese Girl – the world's most reproduced painting. Plus butler service, free cocktails and canapés, on-the-house wine tasting, botanical gardens, cinema room, spa, two restaurants and infinity pool.