Located on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, 15 minutes drive from the city bowl of Cape Town, you’ll find the Vineyard Hotel in Newlands. Three weeks ago we stayed here for 3 nights, and we were not disappointed. As we live in Franschhoek and as we love to go to Cape Town for new foodie experiences and other adventures, sometimes it’s just more convenient to stay over. It’s more relaxt: one can have a glass of wine during dinner or lunch (and take a taxi or an Uber), you don’t have to worry about traffic towards the city and out again, and it’s just more festive! You change an evening out straight into a mini-holiday or at least secret getaway.
Where to stay in Cape Town
While there are plenty of spacious, clean and nice guesthouses in most parts of South Africa (for example along the whole Garden Route) I find it sometimes difficult in downtown Cape Town to find a great place to stay for a reasonable price. Either the rooms are small and old, without decent car parking and the breakfast a joke, or the place is all perfect and super duper luxurious, but the price ridiculous. Bummer! Accommodation is not the most important aspect of travelling. It’s the atmosphere, the food, the things you do, the new experiences, the people you meet, a relaxed vibe and your travel partner(s) what makes or breaks your trip. But having said that, it is also pleasant to have a safe, clean and convenient place to stay! Whether it’s a big hotel or a cute B&B, one likes to stay in a positive, happy place with comfortable beds, clean bathrooms, a parking for your car and welcoming people. And if possible some outdoor space for the necessarily fresh air. There are places in central Cape Town which offer that all, but a room there will probably cost you a small fortune. I find that a waste of money. I rather spend the price you pay for 1 night on a new lens for my camera, a present for a good friend, 3 (or more) restaurant outings or a set of sharp kitchen knifes. But to stay at a good located and affordable but old, rundown place without garden and safe parking doesn’t make me happy either. That’s why we decided this time to stay in the Vineyard, a multi facility luxury hotel slightly out of the city center – with pleasant rooms, safe parking, plenty of outdoor space, a Gym, pool, Spa and more! Also, the price for a night here is a lot friendlier than the price you pay in a 4 or 5 star hotel in Cape Town Central. Today I will tell you about our experience at the Vineyard Hotel in Newlands.
The Vineyard Hotel
We found the room we stayed in spacious, clean and pleasant. Quite essential and normal for a hotel, but often I find hotels lacking. At the Vineyard it all worked fine, from the showerhead to the Wi-Fi connection, from the safe to the hair dryer. The beds were comfortable and big, there was a desk in our room to get some work done and one also had your small refreshments tray, mini fridge plus coffee, tea and biscuits facilities. At the Vineyard Hotel there are 4 different room categories: Courtyard rooms (Standard or Deluxe), Mountain rooms (Standard or Deluxe), Suites (Junior Suites or Suites) and Cottages (with fully equiped kitchen facilities). In total the hotel offers 207 en-suite accommodation units. So, it’s not a small and cute bed and breakfast, where you meet the owners and play with their dog. I like to go to small places like that, but in cities I can also appreciate hotels; it’s convenient, easy and often has better facilities. Then I don’t mind that it’s bigger and less personal than a Bed and Breakfast. Having said that, I found the Vineyard Hotel not impersonal or too big at all. With 207 rooms it isn’t small, but with the outdoor space they’ve got it isn’t crowded. The architecture and decor of the hotel is special. You can see and feel that it’s an historic building, and also nowadays there is modern art, furniture and design. I specifically liked the colourful large handprinted panels behind reception and in the hallways. They look like mosaic but actually it’s paint on ceramics, made by South African artist Esias Bosch. How beautiful is the floor in this bathroom? I love it.
The best thing about staying a bit more outside the city of Cape Town, is the space! At this part of Cape Town the weather is usually a bit cooler, which is good for vegetation, and for the visitors during the hot summer months too. That’s why the first Cape Farms and Vineyards were established in this part of the Cape during the 18th century. In 1799, the founder of the Vineyard, Lady Anne, built a country cottage on the grounds and since then, as urban residence and hotel, it has welcomed statesmen, artists, celebreties and guests. The Vineyard’s historic, eco-award winning riverside gardens are so beautiful and peaceful. With lots of different flora and fauna it’s a true Cape Town green paradise. If you are interested to learn more, you can book a guided tour to explore the indigenous gardens with more explanation about the Cape floral kingdom and the history of the grounds.
Besides the spacious gardens the pool area is another big plus I think. With great mountain views, enough loungers + umbrellas and the Splash Café for simple lunch food, it is the perfect lazy hangout spot during the afternoon. At Splash Café you can order coffees, juices, sandwiches, salads, burgers, sushi and other (light) lunch food. You can sit down at a table, that is what most of business people do when they prefer a casual, quick lunch-and-meeting over a long, formal lunch. If you stay in the hotel for leisure, you can also ask the staff from the Splash Café to bring your food/drinks at the pool side.
There are two other restaurants at the Vineyards Hotel: the Square Restaurant, for breakfast, casual lunch and dinner. And there is Myoga, for the more upmarket lunches and dinners. You can do for example a 7-course tasting menu and wine pairing here. As we had a whole list of restaurant we wanted to try in Cape Town, we didn’t dine at the restaurants of the Vineyard.
We did have a drink in the bar of the Garden Lounge, and we had breakfast one morning at the Square restaurant. We found the breakfast okay, but nothing special. You can either go for the continental breakfast buffet, or order à la carte breakfast like eggs or pancakes. With 207 rooms I think they could make breakfast a bit more special and change the presentation of the buffet. We decided to go out for breakfast in the city on day 2 and 3, just to make it more fun than another boring hotel buffet. Sorry Vineyard Hotel, but I think that’s something you can work on. It wasn’t bad but also not fantastic.
The River walk is beautifully done, has historic value and is such a nice extra to offer to guests.
This guy here lives on the grounds of the Vineyard Hotel, as a permanent resident. Enough fresh grass to nibble at. Tough life!
For food obsessed people like us, or just for the sporty ones, it’s great that the Vineyard Hotel offers Gym facilities! Perfect to do an early morning session, or late afternoon work-out to burn off some calories. You can train all by yourself, or book a personal trainer. Also there is the Angsana Spa for massages, facials, pedicures, manicures and other beauty treatments. Not to forget about the banqueting and conference facilities the hotel can host.
On top of the roof of the Splash Café, indoor swimming pool and Gym building, there is a huge Solar System installation. The Vineyard Hotel is very sustainable, and won in 2015 the Fair-Trade Tourism Certification award for it’s “Living Green” programme. Besides solar they also recycle materials and make sure excess foods will go to soup kitchens and social community projects. And other food waste (like peels, leaves or roots) will go to the local farmers, to use for their animal feed.
When you are not a Gym person, but like to go for a run, there is a 3 or 5 km jogging route in the direct area of the hotel. The route map you can find in your room. Such an attentive extra, I think. Sometimes when I’m at a new place and wanna go for a run, I have no idea where to go without getting lost. This is the perfect solution for both guest as staff. The concierge avoids 938203 time the same question, and for the guest it’s better too because of the clear map.
Hot or not?
Hot! Yes, I would recommend this hotel to anyone who likes to travel, wants to stay not too far from the Mother City, but prefers space, a garden, a swimming pool and views over the perfect central location. Personally I found the location still good, by the way. Although it’s not central Cape Town, Newlands (and Claremont) are good, safe areas of Cape Town. It’s close to Constantia, Kirstenbosch and the University, and also not that far from the V&A Waterfront, Atlantic Seaboard and the city bowl. Just keep in mind the M3 towards the city (Rhodes Drive) can be busy in the morning, and it can be busy after 4pm in opposite direction. If you are on holiday or city getaway, I should not worry too much about it as you’ve got time. And when you stay at the Vineyard for business, it might be a good idea to leave slightly earlier for your morning appointment in the City Bowl. Still, to me this is a small disadvantage and not as important as a pleasant room, good parking, spacious grounds, a pool and a Gym.
The Vineyard Hotel is situated on Colinton Road, Newlands, Cape Town.
Location is very close to Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, The Constantia Winelands, Claremont and Cavendish Square.
It’s about a 15 minutes drive to the city bowl of Cape Town (Long Street) without traffic, and about 15-20 minutes to the V&A Waterfront, Sea Point and Green Point.
Depending on the time of the year and the room type, prices start from ZAR 2300 per room per night, including breakfast. Look out for specials! Click here for more information.
The Vineyard Hotel has two sister hotels: Oude Werf in Stellenbosch and Townhouse in Cape Town.
* Note: I have not been asked, payed or invited to write about the Vineyard Hotel. It was my own idea and we paid the bill in full ourselves. My opinion is honest as always. All photos are mine.