When it comes to stop-you-in-your tracks scenery, Cape Town knows a thing or two. On one side, Table Mountain gazes out over the city, while to the other, dozens of white-sand beaches tumble into the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. But for all the hiking, surfing and sunbathing you can do here, some of Cape Town’s simplest pleasures are to be found in its neighbourhoods. Take a stroll and you’ll discover a truly sensational art scene, from world-class museums on the V&A Waterfront to tiny galleries in Woodstock. Independent bars and restaurants serve wine from some of the region’s finest vineyards, and plates of seafood caught just off the coast. Handily, this is also a city that caters for all budgets, with everything from colourful guesthouses in Green Point to sprawling mansion hotels and luxe boutique boltholes in Bantry Bay.
Best for night owls
The clue’s in the name: Gorgeous George is one handsome hotel. Located in two heritage buildings — one art deco, the other Edwardian — its 32 spacious, design-focused studios go big on exposed concrete, steel beams, and Victorian-style penny tiles in the monochrome bathrooms. It’s very central — a short stroll from Bo-Kaap and a stumble from some of the neighbourhood’s excellent cocktail bars, but its own bar and restaurant, Gigi Rooftop, is a real showstopper, with loungers, a plunge pool with city views and velvet sofas.
ROOMS: From 3,950 rand (£184), B&B. gorgeousgeorge.co.za
Best for local character
Set in the former textile neighbourhood of Woodstock, a handy 10-minute taxi ride from the Waterfront, is the bright and bold Stock Exchange. Each of its 33 studios comes with a kitchenette to whip up your own meals in — when you’re not hanging out in the nearby cafes and Neighbourgoods Market, that is. Whitewashed brick walls, acid-green light fixtures and jazzy abstract throws add to the playful feel, with most furnishings sourced from local designers — there’s even an in-room map to tell you who created what, should you want to buy your own. A small pool and gym overlook the docks and Table Mountain, and there’s also an onsite microbrewery.
ROOMS: From 1,505 rand (£70). newmarkhotels.com
Best for coastal cool
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