No time to find accommodation? Our guide to the best hotels in Port Elizabeth, the friendly city …
Those who live in PE think it’s the best city in the country. Certainly it’s the most underrated. Port Elizabeth is one of the largest cities in South Africa, and is laid out in a way that you can reach everything within 15 minutes of the airport – not something you can attribute to Jo’burg.
Port Elizabeth regards itself as the end of the Garden Route, a city with warm temperatures all year round, beaches that give Durban and Cape Town’s beaches a serious run for their money, a host of historical attractions and walks, whale sightings during autumn, and access to wild game reserves within an hour of town.
Port Elizabeth is relaxed, its people get more sunshine than anywhere else in the country, and the notion of hospitality is inherent in the city’s culture.
Our guide to help you find hotels in Port Elizabeth – depending on why you’re visiting:
IN PORT ELIZABETH FOR THE BEACHES
PE has beaches that stretch for miles. All the way from Bluewater Bay to Sardinia Bay. The more northerly beaches, close to the city, include swimming beaches that promise warm water and hours of gentle beach time. You will probably want to avoid King’s Beach, despite its popularity, during peak season, and head to Humewood beach or Wells Estate (each of the aforementioned have had or have Blue Flag status) but Hobie beach just off Shark Rock Pier is also popular, particularly for wind surfing. Pollock and Denville beaches offer equally good seaside time, and for less populated sands head around the peninsula to Wildside, Blue Horizon Bay and in particular, Sardinia Bay – PE’s gem – a bit of a drive, but worth it as it lies within a marine reserve.
Examples of boutique hotels / luxury guest houses in Port Elizabeth with easy access to the beach:
Conifer Beach House, Humewood – this four star delight is set in lush gardens yet moments from PE’s top swimming beaches and offers four stylish units with their own private patios, WiFi, air-conditioning and the works.
No 5 Boutique Art Hotel, Summerstrand – right in the heart of the beachfront suburb of Summerstrand, this boutique hotel lies 100 metres from the sea with seven suites within landscaped gardens.
IN PORT ELIZABETH FOR THE ATTRACTIONS
A self-guided architectural tour of historical Port Elizabeth takes you through the centre of the city, filled with old buildings, monuments and a Victorian Feather market to boot. But Port Elizabeth’s attractions don’t end there. There is also the Red Location Museum, the South African Air Force Museum, the Donkin Reserve, the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum and St George’s Park. And don’t forget Route 67 – 67 pieces of art celebrating the years Mandela was in public service to the country. And those are just the attractions in the centre of Port Elizabeth.
Examples of hotels in the centre of Port Elizabeth near attractions:
The Hub Boutique Hotel, Walmer – within the leafy suburb of Walmer, this purpose-built boutique hotel manages to combine the luxury of a hotel with the intimacy of a guest house; suites sleep up to 3 people each, some with private patios or roof garden.
Hallack Manor Guest House, St Georges Park – a small, luxury guest house with eight en-suite bedrooms, a pool, lovely garden, and laundry service within walking distance of St George’s Park and close to the Nelson Mandela Stadium.
IN PORT ELIZABETH FOR THE NIGHTLIFE
As well as ‘friendly’ and ‘windy’, PE has been described as ‘sleepy’. But its night life has a charm of its own: Richmond Hill is the restaurant district of the city with great coffee shops, delis and eateries; If you’re after culture the opera house, the oldest in the country, in Whites Road offers a range of ballet, drama, jazz and concerts; St George’s Park cricket ground host bands during the summer; the Nelson Mandela Stadium hosts night games; the Boardwalk complex, which now also has a new hotel, is popular; the Hobie Beach Yacht Club is good for live gigs, whilst students and the young party crowd hang out at places like Toby Joe’s at the Brookes Pavilion.
Examples of hotels close to Port Elizabeth’s nightlife:
St Phillips Bed and Breakfast, Richmond Hill – this three star B&B is a double storey Victorian manor in one of the oldest and most historical parts of PE, perfect for round the corner bakeries and coffee shops, or browsing antique stores.
Singa Town Lodge, Summerstrand – decadence at its best, this sumptuous hotel offers 12 luxury suites, each with its own eclectic and individual décor, close to the city’s centre and nightlife favourites.
IN PORT ELIZABETH FOR THE WILDLIFE
When it comes to seeing wild game within an hour of the city, Port Elizabeth is ideally placed. It boasts about its access to the Big Seven – over and above access to the Big Five, there is the bonus of the great white shark and the southern right whale in the bay waters of the Addo Elephant Park – and with other game parks like Shamwari, Kwantu and Lalibela on the city’s doorstep, PE’s wildlife is hard to beat. Anywhere in PE with good access to the N2 will get you out of the city quickly.
Examples of hotels in Port Elizabeth ideally placed for wild life access:
Doncaster Cottages, St Georges Park – built in the late 1800s, these pretty settler cottages have been lovingly decorated and restored and offer a cottage and a mews-studio style accommodation close to restaurants of Richmond Hill, with easy access to the N2.
Lemon Tree Lane, Mill Park – in the heart of Port Elizabeth’s garden suburb just 10 minutes from the airport, this five star guesthouse offers various self-contained suites.