Where to stay in Cape Town
What's so special
Sea views don’t come much better than those on offer at the Ellerman. Built high up on the Bantry Bay cliffs, you can enjoy a fantastic ocean vista from your balcony.
How they rate it
The Ellerman made it onto Condé Nast Traveller’s Gold List 2012, so its readers rate it as one of the world’s best hotels. “This is one of my favourite places in the world,” says Peter Browne in the magazine. “It is exceptionally beautiful and undeniably sumptuous, with valuable paintings by the most respected South African artists, but it somehow never feels remotely intimidating or grand.”
There are only nine “elegant” rooms and two suites, and all but one enjoy a sea view. There is also a separate, three-bedroom Ellerman Villa, which has a private chef and butler service. The only drawback for anyone wanting to explore Cape Town is that the hotel is a ten-minute drive away, but that shouldn’t put you off staying.
As well as offering contemporary South African cuisine, the hotel has a 9,000-bottle wine cellar. Every dish is paired with a suitable wine by the sommelier.
A double room costs from £635. For more, visit www.ellerman.co.za, or call 00 27 21 430 3200.
What's so special
Its location is the reason the Steenberg is regularly voted one of the best hotels in South Africa. Nestled in Constantia Valley, it offers vineyards, beautiful countryside and wine tasting on the doorstep. This is also the closest wine-growing region to Cape Town.
How they rate it
This is “the ultimate out-of-town retreat”, says Pippa De Bruyn in The Daily Telegraph. The hotel is made up of three original 1682 farmhouse buildings located on a “large, tree-lined square and surrounded by manicured gardens, vineyards and a golf course”.
Renovations have been “sensitive to its 17th-century roots, but contemporary additions like the pool area, in particular, are fabulous”. The best rooms are the Cape Colonial Suite and the Premier Suite, “but all the premier rooms are also delightful”. The “unpretentious warmth and tolerance of the staff, and the many child-friendly facilities, make this the ideal family hotel”.
There are two “excellent” restaurants offering fine dining or “relaxed but equally sophisticated” food. Both are popular with locals, so book ahead. In the tasting room you can sample some of the estate’s “very fine wines”.
Double rooms start from £237. Visit www.steenberghotel.com, or call 00 27 21 713 2222.
The best British B&Bs
Enjoy great value for money at one of these urban gems, reviewed by Laura Holt in The Independent.
The Pig in the Wall in Southampton (pictured) opened in October and comes from the people behind “Hampshire’s rural sweethearts – Lime Wood Hotel and The Pig in the New Forest”. It was built from a 15th-century wool house within Southampton’s medieval walls and has “the same rustic feel as its sister properties, but fewer rooms (just 12) and no formal restaurant”. Breakfast is served in front of an open fire. Doubles from £115, Breakfast £10pp (Thepighotel.com; 02380-636900).
Number 38 in Bristol opened this year and “blurs the lines between hotel and B&B, with REN toiletries and Roberts radios, fluffy bathrobes and copper tubs, sleigh beds and antique chests”. There is a “hearty West Country breakfast, a delicious afternoon tea and a host of restaurants nearby to choose from”, as Number 38 doesn’t offer dinner. Doubles start at £100, including breakfast (Number38clifton.com; 01179-466905).
Didsbury House in Manchester is a “pretty guesthouse” set amid the shops and cafes of Didsbury Village. The best room is the Opus Loft, which boasts “two freestanding tubs and Temple Spa toiletries”. The other rooms offer rainshowers and large, pocket-sprung beds. The Blue Lounge “beckons with a cosy, crackling fire”. Doubles from £120, including breakfast (Eclectichotels.co.uk; 0161-448 2200).