The 5 Best City Hotels in Africa

The best city hotels in Africa, according to Travel + Leisure readers, provide unparalleled access to the continent’s rich culture and food scenes.

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Looking at the city hotels in Africa picked by Travel + Leisure readers, it's easy to deduce their favorite city. Cape Town, South Africa, claims four out of the top five hotels. Not that that's surprising. The Mother City, as it's known, is one of the most naturally beautiful cities in the world — arranged around Table Mountain with the Atlantic Ocean hugging one side and the Cape Winelands on the other­­ — and home to some of the best city hotels in Africa.

Every year for our World's Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels (including safari lodges) were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as city hotel, resort, or safari lodge based on their locations and amenities.

Three of the top five city hotels are in Cape Town's V&A Waterfront area. This harborside complex is home to a shopping mall; the Watershed, where vendors sell locally made arts, crafts, and produce; the excellent Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA); the departure point for Robben Island tours; a slew of restaurants and bars; and of course, hotels. An "ideal location," said a guest of this year's No. 1 hotel, Cape Grace.

Cape Grace exterior over the water
Belinda Amoedo/Courtesy of Cape Grace

A short stroll from Cape Grace are One&Only Cape Town (No. 3) and Silo Hotel (No. 2). The latter has an enviable position on the upper floors of the Zeitz MOCAA building, a strikingly reimagined grain silo. The hotel is known not only for its stylish design but also for its extensive collection of art. "What a unique building from the architecture to the interiors," said one T+L reader. "I was blown away and would highly recommend it!"

The other Cape Town hotel on the list is in the central suburb of Gardens, a stone's throw from the city center and with Table Mountain as a scenic backdrop. The historic Mount Nelson, a Belmond Hotel (No. 5) — painted pastel pink and surrounded by leafy gardens — opened in 1899 and has since housed guests from Winston Churchill to John Lennon.

The only non-Cape Town hotel to make the list is Giraffe Manor (No. 4), in Nairobi, Kenya. Though it's technically a city hotel, it feels more like a country manor. As one guest put it, "it's all about the giraffes." The resident Rothschild's giraffes have made this hotel one of the world's most Instagrammed, often making an appearance at breakfast, poking their heads through windows to receive treats from guests. "One of the most memorable experiences of our lives," said one reader. "I have always wanted to stay there, and it did not disappoint."

1. Cape Grace, Cape Town

Table Mountain Luxury Room at Cape Grace
Courtesy of Cape Grace

Aside from its location, there's one thing about the Cape Grace hotel that keeps its guests coming back: great service. "The staff at the Cape Grace is what sets this hotel apart from others," said one reader. "The attention to details is first rate." There are 120 rooms and suites, classically styled in neutral tones highlighted with blues or greens to reflect the rooms' harbor or Table Mountain views. Kids are welcome — story readings and gingerbread decorating are offered — and babysitters are available for when the parents want to visit the spa or — a Cape Grace highlight — partake in a tasting session at the Bascule bar. "A very special place," concluded one T+L reader.

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 96.96

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2. Silo Hotel, Cape Town

View from a bathroom at Silo Hotel
Courtesy of Silo Hotel

Score: 96.27

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3. One&Only Cape Town

Exterior of One&Only Cape Town under Table Mountain
Courtesy One&Only

Score: 95.37

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4. Giraffe Manor, Nairobi, Kenya

Afternoon Tea at Giraffe Manor
Courtesy of The Safari Collection

Score: 91.81

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5. Mount Nelson, A Belmond Hotel, Cape Town

Exterior facade of Mount Nelson Hotel, A Belmond Hotel
Courtesy of Belmond

Score: 91.79

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