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Updated by Albert Thompson on Jun 06, 2015
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Best Hotels in Africa

1

Table Bay Hotel

Table Bay Hotel

The blue-roofed contemporary-Victorian hotel opened by Nelson Mandela is in "a great location," connected to the Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre. Guest rooms offer water or mountain views, and all have maritime decor. The informal Conservatory serves tapas and has a 6,000-bottle wine cellar. Views of Table Mountain from the lobby come courtesy of high arched windows. Two fireplaces and afternoon tea with music by a harpist or pianist are draws at The Lounge. "Don't miss the best breakfast buffet ever" at the Atlantic Grill. Phytotherapy, thalassotherapy, and hydrotherapy are available at Camelot Spa.

2

Cape Grace

Cape Grace

This sandstone-colored mainstay on the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront has a backdrop of Table Mountain and is "one of the most beautiful hotels in the world." Signal Restaurant serves "extraordinary food with amazing service" in dishes like cumin-crusted ostrich and Malay-spiced springbok loin. Bascule bar claims it stocks the Southern Hemisphere's largest selection of whiskeys. "Every part of the hotel, from rooms to restaurants, is welcoming and beautiful"—interiors showcase hand-painted fabrics and custom-made metal, glass, and leather. Lodgings reflect Cape influences and have blue, red, green, and gold highlights. A facial at the top-floor spa comes with Table Mountain views; also offered are massages inspired by the Khoisan people, using one of the first recorded essential oils in Africa and circular massage techniques that mirror tribal dances.

3

Royal Livingstone Hotel

Royal Livingstone Hotel

"The view from the patio is one I will never forget"—"the edge of Victoria Falls is one of the greatest settings in the world." Located along the Zambezi River, the route to the hotel is lined with red flame lilies, towering banana plants, and lilac jacaranda trees. The 17 colonial-style buildings are white-walled with thatched roofs and large verandas. Rooms are decorated with handmade rugs and wildlife pencil sketches. In 2012, flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi will be added to all rooms. Restaurant dishes include baked Zambezi bream and poached haddock with whiskey cream. "Staff helped me find the perfect souvenirs in town."

4

Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa

Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa

"Everything is over the top" at the former private home of an insurance magnate, where Nelson Mandela worked on his book Long Walk to Freedom. The grounds comprise six acres of gardens with a koi pond, while the reception area has a central glass dome. "Exceptionally comfortable rooms" have contemporary African art, brown latticed shutters, large bay windows, and shams with local motifs. Minibars are stocked with regional wines. Try the sound therapy at the spa, or take a dip in the heated pool with underwater music. The restaurant serves European dishes.

5

Gibb's Farm

Gibb's Farm

"With a view to settle the nerves," this colonial farmhouse on the wooded slopes of the Ngorongoro Crater was built as a coffee plantation in 1929. Looking out onto coffee fields and the Great Rift Valley, accommodations in clustered cottages have wooden floors, wraparound windows, and bathrooms with indoor and outdoor showers. Prepared with organic vegetables, fruits, and meats from the farm, the classic English meals are "good and interesting" to some guests and "quite forgettable" to others. "Observe hundreds of species of colorful tropical birds," or take part in hiking and mountain biking trips with naturalists. "I can't think of a more beautiful, interesting place."

6

Cape Cadogan Hotel

Cape Cadogan Hotel

This elegant 12-room retreat is tucked away on a quiet residential street in Gardens, a fashionable and quirky Cape Town neighborhood known for its restaurants and shops. Table Mountain forms a majestic backdrop, the famous Clifton beaches are a ten-minute drive away, and many of the city’s top attractions are within walking distance. A national monument, the original nineteenth-century Georgian house with Victorian influences still looks (from the outside) like a beautiful private home, complete with manicured garden and pool terrace. Inside, sumptuous fabrics, plump sofas, vases stuffed with sweet-smelling flowers, sepia prints in silver frames, and wrought-iron chandeliers create a luxurious, thoroughly grown-up atmosphere. Some of the accommodations are about as roomy as a French garret, while others are disproportionately enormous, with spacious open-plan bathrooms, but all are light and airy and have satellite TV, a DVD/surround-sound system, and high-speed Internet access.

7

Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa

Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa

This elegant 12-room retreat is tucked away on a quiet residential street in Gardens, a fashionable and quirky Cape Town neighborhood known for its restaurants and shops. Table Mountain forms a majestic backdrop, the famous Clifton beaches are a ten-minute drive away, and many of the city’s top attractions are within walking distance. A national monument, the original nineteenth-century Georgian house with Victorian influences still looks (from the outside) like a beautiful private home, complete with manicured garden and pool terrace. Inside, sumptuous fabrics, plump sofas, vases stuffed with sweet-smelling flowers, sepia prints in silver frames, and wrought-iron chandeliers create a luxurious, thoroughly grown-up atmosphere. Some of the accommodations are about as roomy as a French garret, while others are disproportionately enormous, with spacious open-plan bathrooms, but all are light and airy and have satellite TV, a DVD/surround-sound system, and high-speed Internet access.

8

Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel

Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel

This "old and evocative" flamingo-pink hotel at the foot of Table Mountain is on a garden estate near the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. Opening its doors in 1899, the "sophisticated British colonial-era property" comprises four main wings; garden cottage suites have toile wallpaper and Venetian mirrors and are set behind a rose garden. Oasis Bistro dishes up "the most enjoyable meals" near the pool, while Planet Restaurant serves contemporary dishes like smoked crocodile or Namibian red crab. Afternoon tea, served in the lounge and on the terrace, is "a not-to-be-missed traditional English extravaganza," complete with sandwiches and desserts. "Service is first-class all around." The Africology coffee-mint-clay spa treatment aims to combat high blood pressure.

9

Ellerman House

Ellerman House

Overlooking the Atlantic from the slopes of Lion's Head, walking distance to beaches yet only a 10 minute drive from the V&A Waterfront, this adults-only (14 and up) Relais & Chateaux property houses a fabulous private modern art collection in elegantly-furnished rooms and airy public spaces.

10

One&Only Cape Town

One&Only Cape Town

On the edge of a marina on the buzzing V&A Waterfront, this glamorous newcomer makes the other five-star harbor hotels seem buttoned-down by comparison. While service is still short of being seamless, the hotel raises the bar in Cape Town with its designer dining, luxurious accommodations, and innovative facilities. There’s a Nobu doing faultless food with a nod to locally sourced ingredients; Reuben’s, a Brasserie-styled spot with bistro fare , and a central bar with a gunshot view of Table Mountain. All of the 91 rooms and suites in the main hotel are smartly done in dark, African-inspired hues and sleek lines. There are also 40 island suites—hot accent colors liven up the decor here—set apart on one of two private islands within the marina that form part of the hotel (the other island has the retreat-like ESPA spa, wisely set away from the hotel’s superbly staffed gym and KidsOnly club). Quieter and more spacious but without views, these suites surround a vast free-form infinity pool with its casual, alfresco Isola restaurant (hotel guests only in high season) that serves wood-fired pizza, tapas, and salads.