You might hear Long Street before you see it—this bustling artery is the heart of Cape Town, home to some of the city’s most popular restaurants, bars, and boutiques, all within a few blocks’ radius of the Grand Daddy Hotel. Built in 1895, this landmark building has been transformed into one of the city’s quirkier havens, though it somehow manages to walk the fine line between campy and classy. It’s a spot that’s beloved by tourists and locals alike (don’t be surprised to stumble onto a local fashion shoot in the gilded Daddy Cool bar).
Behind the stately gray exterior lies a whimsical world: snuggle into crisp white sheets in one of the 26 colorful rooms or suites, or settle into a stylishly appointed Airstream in the rooftop trailer park. And speaking of the rooftop: there’s no better place to take in the view of Table Mountain presiding over the city.
Have you been here? Share a tip or a photo with fellow travelers.
With all of Cape Town’s top nightlife at the hotel’s doorstep, it doesn’t get more central than Long Street, a stretch with pleasantly dilapidated Victorian-era facades and plenty of charm beneath the grit (it’s best to keep a close eye on your belongings to be on the safe side, though). Score colorful souvenirs at Pan African Market, check out local designers at MeMeMe, browse hard-to-find tomes at Clarke’s Books, spring for gourmet tapas at Fork, or choose from one of the 99 bottles at the Beerhouse—all within a few blocks of the hotel. Nearby Bree, Loop, and Wale streets are also teeming with establishments worth checking out, so plan to spend time ambling around the neighborhood.
Need to Know
Rooms: 26 rooms and 7 Airstream trailers on the rooftop. From $124. Check-in: 2 p.m.; check-out: 11 a.m. Dining options: The house restaurant L’Apero serves modern South African cuisine, such as chicken livers, venison carpaccio, and ostrich burgers, in a chic dining room. Laid-back lunches in the trailer park can be booked ahead. For a boozy evening, have a drink at the glamorous Daddy Cool or the bedouin tent at the Sky Bar. Spa and gym details: There’s no gym or spa on site, though in-room massages can be arranged.
Who it’s best for: Families and leisure travelers with a sense of humor (and who don’t mind a bit of ambient noise from the lively street below). Our favorite rooms: Guests can’t go wrong with any of the Airstream trailers, but the blingy Gold Rush and seaside-evoking Beach House are worth the splurge. Good to know: Don’t miss a movie at the Pink Flamingo rooftop cinema. The weekly screenings can get sold out quickly in the summer, so book ahead online.
Grand Daddy Hotel in Cape Town, South Africa
In a city with no shortage of great lodgings, Cape Town’s Grand Daddy Hotel offers guests something a little different: a night’s sleep in a vintage Airstream trailer parked on the roof of the hotel. The top-floor trailer park—which includes seven units, all with views of Table Mountain—was conceived by owner Jody Aufrichtig and local design studio Whatiftheworld. A different South African artist imagined the look of each trailer, and themes include the pink-hued “Love of Lace,” by Tracy Lynch, and Mark and Joe Stead’s “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” featuring a human-size bear suit in the closet. During your stay, take advantage of the adjacent rooftop bar and picnic seating, a more sociable option than trailer-side room service. —Diane Vadino Grand Daddy Hotel, 27/(0) 21-424-7247, from $90. This appeared in the March/April 2010 issue.