Locals lovingly call it the Republic of Hout Bay: that should give visitors an idea of this seaside village’s bohemian spirit. Hout Bay Manor embodies that quirky charm, but with impeccable taste—eclectic furniture straight out of Alice in Wonderland finds a home alongside traditional African fabrics and motifs, all beneath the eaves of a classic Cape Dutch home dating back to 1871. The owners accent imposing four-poster beds and claw-foot tubs with pops of scarlet or teal splashed throughout the interiors, and somehow the manor’s old bones and new vibe blend together with ease.
The hotel is only 20 minutes from Cape Town but still a world away, and once guests get into the laid-back Hout Bay groove, they may never want to leave the lovely pool to make that drive back to the city.
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Once quiet, Hout Bay is quite a trendy burg these days, home to a clutch of popular eateries and boutiques. Make sure to grab some fish-n-chips at the harbor and stroll along the beach. For authentic Greek food, head to Spiro’s. Every weekend, legions of stylish Capetonians descend on the village for the popular Bay Harbour Market, where hundreds of stalls hawk everything from beaded jewelry to Cape Malay–style snacks, and live bands play in the background.
Need to Know
Rooms: 16 rooms, one suite. From $226. Check-in: 2 p.m.; check-out: 11:30 a.m. Dining options: The dreamy Pure restaurant serves osso buco, seafood risotto, and malva pudding (a warm, apricot custard of Cape Dutch origin) beneath sculptural chandeliers in a sophisticated dining room. Spa and gym details: There’s no gym at the hotel, but you can book spa treatments in the soothing Inzolo Wellness Suite.
Who it’s best for: Families and couples looking for an off-the-beaten path retreat with character in spades. Our favorite room: The Sotho rooms for their private outdoor showers. Good to know: Ask for a winetasting in the subterranean wine cellar, which is decorated with black-and-white pictures of the hotel’s early days.