Celebrate South African culture and history and make the most out of this annual holiday
Once in Cape Town Backpackers
Your next travel adventure starts right here at this Mother City hostel
Once-in-a-lifetime experiences are rare. So when they come around, it is imperative to grab them with both hands and embrace the encounter, making sure to take full advantage. When walking through the doors of Once in Cape Town, which is situated on the Mother City’s trendy Kloof Street, this once-in-a -lifetime opportunity comes to life and you are truly presented with the exceptional prospect that anything is possible.
Opened in late 2013, the centrally located Cape Town accommodation (it's been listed on Lonely Planet's Top 6 'Poshtels' selection) positions itself as a hostel-meets-hotel type of place where travellers from near and far can tailor-make their own once-in-a-lifetime holiday experience. As a contemporary "design-led" hostel, Once in Cape Town offers intrepid travellers the best aspects of a lively backpackers lodge and a reliable 3-star hotel. Not to mention, also good vibes, essential amenities and a supreme location that’s conveniently close to everything, but not right in the thick of the urban chaos. There is a supermarket and food store located just about two minutes away for those who are going to be doing their own cooking, and of course Kloof Street is a hip and happening lane of restaurants and bars in case you do want to go out. A trip to Long Street, the city’s main party artery, is also just a couple of stumbles away.
Along with bonus benefits, like a private booth for Skype sessions and a chill room with movies available for viewing on lazy days, visitors will find the one main ingredient that separates the good hostels from the great ones: people.
You can hang out with new acquaintances over coffee or local craft beers at the in-house café, Yours Truly, which is a partner of Once in Cape Town. The eatery has become a firm favourite amongst the Capetonian crowd – it pulls them in with its gourmet sandwiches, top-notch drinks and live music on the sundowner terrace – giving guests the chance to meet the colourful characters of the Mother City. And then, of course, there is Up Yours – Kloof Street's one and only rooftop bar situated above Yours Truly. The sundowner venue is the ideal hotspot to have a drink (or two) while watching breathtaking sunsets over Lion’s Head.
You’ll also likely make a buddy or two while joining in on one of the hostel’s free activities on offer. Think trips to Signal Hill, salsa dancing sessions on the Sea Point promenade or Sunday outings to Mzoli’s, which are all organised by the Once in Cape Town staff (all of whom you’ll probably also end up befriending). For those who wish to explore parts of Cape Town on their own – such as Kloof Street, they can download the Voicemap app where co-founder of Once in Cape Town, Kim Whitaker takes guests through the area explaining its attractions and sights. What’s more, you could even consider hiring one of the establishment’s six trendy rental bikes to take part in well-known social cycling events, like Moonlight Mass, or to make personal missions around our pretty city.
Potential guests will be happy to find that the hotel aspect of the establishment manifests as a number of creature comforts. For starters, there is free and fast Wi-fi available throughout the building. Furthermore, those staying in the dorms get little, but essential luxuries, like en-suite bathrooms for each of the two bunk bed, four-person shared rooms (so there’ll be no anxiety over the late-night loo run). Most importantly, the beds themselves are made of hard, light-coloured spruce wood to ensure a solid, sturdy sleep at night – the bunks are also long enough with plenty of space between the top and the bottom for the super tall folk who risk concussions and cold feet with every hostel stay. Plus, each cot has a box at its head that has international and local plug outlets inside; the mini wooden chest locks up so you can leave your valuables safely inside and even have your laptop charging all day while you’re out exploring the city.
There are also ensuite private rooms (these are dazzled with colourful murals by local artists) – either with twin beds or a king-size bed – and two family rooms that sleep four and six each, so you could be travelling in a group with people on different budgets and happily stay together under one roof. Though no matter where you’re sleeping, you also get breakfast at Yours Truly thrown in with your stay – overnighters are given a mini-menu to choose from that lets them tailor-make a morning meal at the on-site eatery.
In short, checking in at Once in Cape Town hostel is on par with the thrill of arriving in a new city knowing that there are so many fresh things to discover or returning to a favourite place because there are plenty of opportunities for more firsts. It’s that ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ feeling, and if you’re a junkie for it, then Once in Cape Town is a good place for your next beginning.
Tip: If you’re wondering what to do on any given day, there is a board in the reception area with a daily ‘Things to Do’ list and a helpful weather forecast. Also, ask one of the friendly staff members for insider tips and local secrets.
The Bill: Rates change regularly, but prices range from R235 to R1 500 depending on which room is booked and for how many people. Prices also change according to the time of year. Bookings can be made online at Onceincapetown.co.za, and this is where you’ll find the cheapest rates.
Planning a trip to the Mother City? Have a look at the section of our site devoted to restaurants in Cape Town for ideas on where to dine. Looking to see other lodgings in the city? Have a look at our guide of 10 Top Backpackers in Cape Town.
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