1 . The Table Bay Hotel

Cape Town,

CALL DIRECT: (27-21) 406-5000

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The Table Bay Hotel is at the head of our list of Top 10 South Africa Luxury Hotels because it’s the stateliest spot in this warm-climate country. An amazing location overlooking the home of South Africa’s former president Nelson Mandela and gorgeous Table Mountain means pure bliss for you!

Yes, you read right. You don’t have to be from South Africa to be impressed by the fact that you are just mere footsteps from Robben Island Prison, home of Mandela during the greatest part of his 27 years of political embodiment. We suggest you get a closer look at the Cape Town attractions and the harbor from beyond the hotel property, but, if you just can’t drag yourself from your luxe room or suite, it’ll be okay. You can see both right from the comfort of your own super-plush hotel bed! And meals at The Table Bay Hotel are attractions of their own. Here, you’ll be licking your chops at the sight of succulent South African cuisine and regional wines that will make you woozy with delight. For a satisfying dessert, opt for a chocolate treatment at the onsite Camelot Spa.

Highlights

The Table Bay Hotel’s Camelot Spa not only offers chocolate treatments, it also features irresistible brown sugar and vanilla essence body scrubs.

Related Onsite Offerings

Airport transfers, babysitting services, concierge, butler service, Jacuzzi, pool, doctor, dentist, conference facilities, business services, high tea service, shopping center, spa and photographer.

Getting there

The Table Bay Hotel is only 20 minutes from Cape Town International Airport.

2 . Thanda Private Game Reserve

Hluhluwe,

CALL DIRECT: (46) 950-8234

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A better title couldn’t be found for the No. 2 choice on our list of Top 10 South Africa Luxury Hotels. You’ll fall head over boot-wearing heels for Thanda Private Game Reserve – Thanda meaning love in Zulu – especially when you luxuriously discover the natural beauty of the untamed African bush.

We have to admit that we were pretty skeptical about the so-called luxury African safaris this Zululand hotspot so assertively boasts about. But we were thinking more along the lines of miles of backpacking under the sweltering sun, not a lavish ride on a big, cushy open-topped Land Rover. You’ll be racing right from the airport landing strip to Thanda Private Game Reserve to see the furry warthogs, cheetahs, hyenas and wild dogs roaming the plains. And don’t think since you’ll be roaming the wild that you won’t be fed a good and hearty meal! Start your adventure with a tasty African bush breakfast while the fuzzy inhabitants are kept at bay by experienced rangers. And a bush dinner lit by paraffin lanterns and candlelight is the perfect way to end your day of South African excitement.

Highlights

Thanda Private Game Reserve is South Africa’s top award winning safari destination and is situated in northern Zululand.

Fun facts

Thanda Private Game Reserve is home to more than four hundred bird species.

Related Onsite Offerings

You’ll love stargazing with the knowledgeable game rangers. The natural, unpolluted air ensures a clear view of the magical African sky.

3 . Alta Bay

Cape Town,

CALL DIRECT: +27.21.487.8800

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Climb to new heights of luxury at Alta Bay, our No. 3 pick on our list of Top 10 South Africa Luxury Hotels. This modern, five-star retreat is set high on the slopes of Table Mountain and overlooks pristine Cape Town, giving you an elevated way of life – literally!

Voted as one of the best hidden gems in Africa, we whole-heartedly have to agree. Unlike Alta Bay’s fellow hotel and our No. 1 choice, The Table Bay Hotel which is not on the shoreline, at Alta Bay you’ll be treated to endless views of the surrounding Table Bay while you laze by the outdoor pool or on the top terrace. And the boutique suites are the epitome of urban, understated luxury. Instead of gaudy chandeliers and loads of sateen fabric draping the windows and bed, the seven suites offer a simpler yet lavish sense of style including locally handcrafted furniture and natural meranti headboards all set in a soothing neutral color palette.

Related Onsite Offerings

Let Alta Bay help you make the most of your stay by arranging in-room massage and beauty treatments, private yoga and pilates sessions and local tours during your stay.

Fun facts

Alta Bay was featured in Frommer's South Africa Guide, 4th Edition!

Highlights

Alta Bay is conveniently located just minutes away from the heart of Cape Town.

4 . Thornwood

Bela Bela Limpopo,

CALL DIRECT: 27-82-888-2540

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Why leave your hotel for adventure when it can come to straight to you? At the No. 4 choice on our list of Top 10 South Africa Luxury Hotels, Thornwood offers the unique opportunity to sleep in the wild African bush within Weavers Nature Park – and we aren’t talkin’ tents and lumpy sleeping bags, either!

How do plush, canopied beds sounds? We loved living in the lap of luxury in the lap of the wild at Thornwood, and we’re positive you will too. Why? Let’s just say we have an inclination that you’ll much prefer warming your toe-toes around a luxe fire pit on the sprawling deck overlooking the pristine landscape than gruelingly searching for wood to build a fire on your own. But for those of you who don’t mind getting a little dirty, we highly recommend traversing the self-guided walking trails surrounding Thornwood. You’ll have a chance to see true African wildlife like wildebeest, zebra and giraffe. And don’t forget to explore the famous Phinda Game Reserve right next door!

Highlights

Not only is Thornwood neighbors with the renowned Phinda Game Reserve, but The Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park, too!

Related Onsite Offerings

Thornwood’s main lodge features two full ensuite bedrooms with outdoor showers and bathtubs that open out to the African bush.

Related activities

SCUBA diving, snorkeling, Big 5 Adventures at Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Park, canoeing and river boat tours, fishing, horseback riding and visits to nearby cultural villages.

5 . The Palace of the Lost City

Vlaeberg, Western Cape

CALL DIRECT: +1 (888) 818 - 8821

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Our No. 5 pick on our list of Top 10 South Africa Luxury Hotels may have been based on an ancient legend about a North African king and his bejeweled homestead, but the bliss we guarantee you’ll feel at the luscious estate of what has come to be known as The Palace of the Lost City is no myth.

Happiness here comes from mosaic marble floors, 80-ft. frescoed ceilings and an enchanted staircase lined with lanterns that leads to the Hidden Cave Falls at this African wonderland. Really, we were shocked by how much this place has to offer besides its shining location in Sun City. Not only does it feature 338 luxury rooms and suites, The Palace of the Lost City is home to not one but two world-class, 18-hole championship golf courses designed by South African golfing god, Gary Player. And did we mention The Valley of Waves – one of the most advanced waterparks in the world? But the true star here is the famous Shawu. Be sure to give homage to the immortalized, life-size statue of one of the Kruger National Park’s magnificent seven elephants, famous for his tusks. He resides in the meticulously-gardened open courtyard.

Highlights

The Palace of the Lost City is part of the Leading Hotels of the World.

Fun facts

The famous Shawu had tusks that measured a whopping three meters each!

Related Onsite Offerings

The Valley of Waves water park features five exhilaration flume rides.

6 . The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa

Cape Town, Western Cape

CALL DIRECT: 27 21 437 9000

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Standing at the edge of the world is The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa. It may be our No. 6 pick on our list of Top 10 South Africa Luxury Hotels but this award-winning boutique hotel has double the amount of majestic mountains surrounding it, offering a true look at South African glory.

Okay, so maybe there’s no such thing as the edge of the world, but if there was one, this would be it. This heavenly hotspot not only features amazing views of but proximity to The Twelve Apostles mountain range and the endless Atlantic. We know we should be bragging about how posh and pretty the inside of the five-star hotel is, but we just can’t stop gushing about the locale! Nearby Table Mountain National Park offers a wilderness escapade for the off-road adventurers and the vibrant shops and eateries of the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront are just 15 minutes away! It would be doing this hotel a grave injustice of we didn’t mention the more-than-comfortable guestrooms and suites. Decorated in an eclectic mix of contemporary African style and classic European influences, they will be a welcome sight for sore eyes – and feet! – after a daylong tour of the Cape Windlands.

Highlights

A vacation at The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa wouldn’t be complete without an indigenous fynbos flora body treatment in the open-air gazebo at the onsite Sanctuary Spa.

Fun facts

The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa was voted the No. 1 City Hotel Spa in Africa and the Middle East by Travel + Leisure Magazine in 2009.

Related Onsite Offerings

For even more fun at The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa, take in a movie in the 16-seat cinema – available for private parties, too!

7 . Singita Ebony Lodge

Skukuza, Western Cape

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Set on the lovely Singita Game Reserve, the Singita Ebony Lodge – our No.7 choice on our list of Top 10 South Africa Luxury Hotels – could very well be where the term “armchair safari” was perfected. And you’ll understand why when you see elephant and antelope grazing just feet away from your suite!

This is African bush living at another level. If you thought you needed a Land Rover to take you to the wildlife, think again! Of course you’ll be perfectly safe at this all-suite lodge, so there’s no need to fret about a wiry wildebeest crawling into bed with you at night. In fact, there is nothing scratchy or uncomfortable in any of the 12 secluded, thatched suites. You’ll feel safe and snug in the colonial-style accommodations bedecked with cozy African throws, fine Egyptian linens and antique accents. Just because you can see buffalo and other wild animals from the deck of your suite’s private pool doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a full-fledged safari during your stay at Ebony Lodge. Morning and sundown safaris are offered daily. And don’t worry about meals – your stay is all-inclusive!

Getting there

Singita Ebony Lodge is located in the Sabi Sand on 45,000 acres of private land in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve on the western border of the Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga province, South Africa.

Fun facts

Children older than 10 years of age pay only half of the rate!

Related Onsite Offerings

If your day safari has you beat, try a rejuvenating treatment at the onsite spa and fully-equipped fitness center!

8 . Arabella Western Cape Hotel and Spa

Overberg,

CALL DIRECT: (28) 284-0000

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Centered in the Kogelberg Biosphere and overlooking South Africa’s largest natural lagoon is Arabella Western Cape Hotel and Spa. Golfers, spa-enthusiasts and anyone who loves relaxation are invited to this award-winning retreat – and we promise, no creatures from the black lagoon are lurking here!

With so many options to unwind under the South African sun, we didn’t know where to rush to first when we got to Arabella, until we laid eyes on the 18-hole championship golf course overlooking the turquoise waters of the Bot River Lagoon and the Kogelberg mountain range. Play on rolling fairways and in challenging water traps, then put your clubs down for one of the most excellent spa experiences you’ve ever had. Fusing Far Eastern and Western rituals and techniques together, Arabella Spa is a must-do on your South African vacation. Here, you’ll rest upon mosaic slabs underneath heated aromatherapy towels after you are showered down by a therapist during the 15-step African Rainforest Experience. We swear, you won’t want to skip this royal treatment!

Fun facts

World Luxury Hotel Award’s voted Arabella Western Cape Hotel and Spa as Best Luxury Coastal Hotel and Luxury Golf Resort.

Highlights

When you stay at Arabella Western Cape Hotel and Spa, you have the chance to experience the regions notable biodiversity, rich with whales, white sharks, seals and exotic bird colonies!

Related activities

Biking, bird watching, croquet, cricket, volleyball, golfing, tennis, cooking classes, pilates and casino nights.

9 . The Plettenberg

Plettenberg,

CALL DIRECT: 445332030

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You’ll get plenty of rest at The Plettenberg – in fact, you’ll get plenty of everything at this five-star Relais and Chateaux hotel perched on the rocky terrain overlooking Plettenberg Bay. Our No. 9 destination on our list of Top 10 South Africa Luxury Hotels definitely won’t disappoint!

Besides an African safari through the untamed bush lands, we couldn’t think of any better way to spend a South African vacation than soaking in a heated outdoor infinity pool and watching dolphins play in the bay. And at The Plettenberg, you can do both! We aren’t going to lie, however; once you see your luxury room or suite aglow in soothing vanilla tones, you may not make it off the property grounds! You shouldn’t feel bad if you don’t; just sit back, relax and summon your waiter to pour you another glass of aged vino straight from The Plettenberg’s award-winning wine cellar, stocked with delicious local favorites.

Highlights

For sumptuous body treatments, check out the onsite Carchele Beauty Spa

Getting there

From Plettenberg Bay Airport, exit the airport road, turning left and then right onto Robberg Rd. Follow Robberg Road to the end. At the T-junction turn right into Piesang River Road. At the roundabout/traffic circle, turn left, onto Strand Street. Drive across the bridge and up the hill. Turn right onto Sewell Street.Turn right onto Church Street and the hotel will be up ahead.

Fun facts

The Plettenberg features 37 luxury rooms and suites.

10 . One and Only Cape Town

Cape Town, Western Cape

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One and Only Cape Town boasts more than just the title as our final Top 10 South Africa Luxury Hotels destination; it is the only hotel that offers true island living. And if that’s not enough, wait until you hear about how it teamed up with our No. 7 choice for an unforgettable African adventure!

As the newest hotel on our list, we had high expectations for this Victoria and Alfred Waterfront getaway. Luckily, our grand aspirations for this resort were far from thwarted. How could we be disappointed with 40 Island Suites to choose from? Yes, One and Only Cape Town offers two lushly landscaped islands at the center of the waterfront, giving you 360-degree water views as well as views of Table Mountain and Signal Hill. With the One and Only Singita Package, you can enjoy both urban island living and the wild ways of the African bush during your South African vacation! This hot deal includes your stay at One and Only, plus an additional three-night stay at a lodge in the Singita Game Reserve, like Ebony Lodge.

Average temperature

73 degrees F

Highlights

One and Only Cape Town’s seven-story, crescent-shaped Marina Rise building offers panoramic views of Cape Town, Table Mountain and the ocean.

Fun facts

One and Only Cape Town features 91 luxury rooms and suites.

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