Boutique hotels are as good as luxury hotel chains, but they offer something else – a touch of simplicity and flair, and the advantage of meeting individual needs because of their size.
As more and more visitors head to South Africa, so the measure of what makes a great place to stay has grown to embrace a simple sophistication and an exciting flair for the original. South Africa knows how to do a great boutique hotel. We think you’ll agree.
Here are some of the best boutique hotels in South Africa …
FRANSCHHOEK BOUTIQUE HOTEL, THE WINELANDS
Everything about this country town-living boutique hotel oozes elegance. It combines old-world sophistication with contemporary design in six generously sized ‘boudoirs’, each individually and gracefully designed. As a result, each room is both comfortable and exciting, as well as uniquely different.
The hotel’s situation, right on Huguenot Street, also makes it irresistibly central, allowing you to walk the little wine town’s high street, or effortlessly jump onto the regular wine tram through the Cape Winelands.
Added bonus: almost all the historically relevant buildings are around the corner from the hotel.
COOPMANHUIJS BOUTIQUE HOTEL, STELLENBOSCH, THE WINELANDS
This historical residence on Church Street was painstakingly renovated to emerge as Coopmanhuijs – an elegant, classic, yet unpretentious, 16-room boutique hotel on one of the most popular streets in the wine route’s most popular town.
Rooms range from petite, through standard, classic, luxury to deluxe. All are effortlessly decorated and come with Victorian-style bathrooms, private balconies and access to the hotel’s spa and courtyard swimming pool.
Added bonus: Helena’s Restaurant.
BATAVIA BOUTIQUE HOTEL, STELLENBOSCH, THE WINELANDS
Just off the bustle of historic Dorp Street, Batavia Boutique Hotel offers nine beautifully decorated and intimate suites.
Named for Batavia, the Dutch colony in South East Asia to which both Jan van Riebeeck, and Simon van der Stel – the founder of Stellenbosch, had connections (one served there; the other was born there), the hotel offers the choice of luxurious and superior suites.
Added bonus: galleries, restaurants and coffee shops are just around the corner from the hotel.
AU D’HEX ESTATE, WELLINGTON, WINELANDS
A converted Cape Dutch homestead in Wellington dating back to 1798, Au d’Hex is now a spacious ten-suite boutique hotel, sumptuously decorated and aimed both at couples on romantic weekend breaks, and at weddings.
The house lies in the most beautiful rose-infused gardens surrounded by mountains with a swimming pool, and a floating jetty under a marquet on the dam.
Added bonus: a French, vintage, a la carte restaurant serving gourmet breakfasts, light deli-style lunches, and picnics.
ISLAND WAY VILLA, PARSONS HILL, PORT ELIZABETH
Set right on the crest of the highest ridge in Port Elizabeth, with 180 degree sea views from the length of the balcony, this four-suite luxury boutique hotel does elegance in understated tones, blending comfort, privacy and contemporary in equal proportions.
All four suites open up via sliding doors onto the patio on which rest a swimming pool and jacuzzi under a series of 60-year-old palm trees.
Added bonus: fireplaces for winter evenings, two family units, and easy access to beaches.
THE HAMILTON BOUTIQUE, CRAIGHALL PARK, JOHANNESBURG
This modern, six-bedroomed suburban boutique hotel rests on a rise in the heart of tree-lined Craighall Park, a stone’s throw from Sandton – Johannesburg’s central business district.
Luxury bedrooms, and the dining room, face the interior garden and plunge pool. Natural light, the play of glass, and contemporary architecture combine for a stylish and sophisticated experience.
Added bonus: breakfast ‘til late, an all-day coffee bar, and the opportunity of dinner.
THE SYRENE SANDTON BOUTIQUE HOTEL, RIVONIA, SANDTON
All the promise of comfort in this modern and classically decorated sixteen-suite boutique hotel, with an extra presidential suite, in the northern suburb of Rivonia, close to Sandton.
The hotel offers a quiet and private stay in 44 square metre suites and includes a boutique winery, a collection of South African photographer, Koose van der Lende’s, work and an heirloom mini grand piano in the restaurant.
Added bonus: The Elm Tree restaurant run by owner/chef Tony Finney, and a Spa only 500 metres from the door of the hotel.
DUKE AND DUCHESS BOUTIQUE HOTEL, WATERKLOOF, PRETORIA
As its name suggests, this eight luxury suite hotel has a distinctly classical décor with antiques and art from the owner’s private collection throughout. There is an intimate, unmistakably lush, feel to the en suite bedrooms, each with its own private patio and view over the garden.
The communal lounge, in particular, is beautifully furnished and invites one to sit awhile and browse through coffee table books.
Added bonus: three of the suites are self-catering, and the landscaped gardens have private areas in which to entertain.
CITY LIVING BOUTIQUE HOTEL, BLOEMFONTEIN, FREE STATE
This contemporary, fresh-looking boutique hotel is a city living experience, and busier as a result. Its retro, ultra-modern style is aimed at millennials and the young-at-heart, and we like the play of colour and simplicity.
The shared spaces downstairs include a restaurant, whilst the 17 rooms, two executive suites, one family, and one luxury apartment provide all you need from city accommodation.
Added bonus: the trendy, coffee-shop-style of the restaurant, and the price.
AKABEKO BOUTIQUE HOTEL, THE HIGHLANDS MEANDER, NEAR KRUGER
The location of this peaceful boutique hotel in Dullstroom on the Highlands Meander, is enough to lure one to Mpumalanga. That it lies close to the Kruger National Park, is yet another reason to stay here.
Situated on Waterfall Farm, on the edge of the Hoppe River, the hotel combines stone, modern glass, and wooden floors effortlessly with indulgent décor and mosaic sunken baths to provide seven elegant suites with king sized beds.
Added bonus: the Akabeko Restaurant, providing fresh farm produce.
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