Cape Town gets a quirky makeover from an illustrator this July
Once In Cape Town: A Hostel That Feels Like a Hotel …
... but won’t hurt your holiday budget
Tucked next to Yours Truly on vibrant Kloof Street is a contemporary hostel-meets-hotel where travellers can tailor-make their own holiday experience. Along with clean, comfy rooms (with en-suite bathrooms), come free daily activities, organised tours and an outside chill area, for connecting with other travellers over drinks or a braai.
BACKPACKERS MEETS HOTEL
Once In Cape Town opened in late 2013 and has been featured on Lonely Planet's “Poshtels” line-up, meaning it’s an upgrade from the usual hostel experience. They offer the best aspects of a lively backpackers lodge and a reliable 3-star hotel.
Not to mention the good vibes, essential amenities and a supreme location that’s conveniently close to everything. Kloof Street is a hip and happening lane of restaurants and bars, so you’ll be spoilt for choice if you feel like getting a taste of local nightlife. A trip to Long Street, the city’s main party avenue, is also just a stumble away. For visitors who prefer to cook their own meals, there’s a large communal kitchen at Once in Cape Town and supermarkets close by.
EATING OUT MADE EASY
Grab a bite and mingle with other travellers at one of Once In Cape Town’s in-house restaurants: Hudson’s The Burger Joint; Yours Truly, cafe and bar, where free breakfast is served for guests; and Today & Tomorrow, with heartier menu of pizzas and pastas. Yours Truly transforms into the ideal spot for day-time merriment and stays open until 11pm. Locals love this place – prepare to meet Capetonians at this Cape Town institution.
DO FREE STUFF
You’ll likely make a friend or two while joining in on one of the hostel’s free activities on offer (check out the activities board near reception). Think trips to Signal Hill, salsa dancing sessions on the Sea Point promenade or a braai in the townships, all of which are organised by Once in Cape Town’s Chief Entertainment Officers (who you’ll probably also end up befriending).
There’s also a weekly “no power hour”, which means no phones, only people. Your reward is free beer, but beware: if you use your phone, there are consequences.
EXPLORE CAPE TOWN SOLO
To explore parts of Cape Town on your own, like Kloof Street, you 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. Or hire one of the hostel’s trendy rental bikes or even a longboard, for solo adventures.
GET A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP
You’ll be pleased to discover all the creature comforts that make for an all-around more enjoyable travel experience – like free, fast wifi and private bathrooms for each of the two bunk bed, four-person shared rooms.
There are also ensuite private rooms (decorated 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.
Plus, each bunk bed is custom-built with international and local plug outlets inside; the mini wooden chest locks up valuables, including your laptop, which you can comfortably leave charging all day while you’re out exploring the city.
MAKE SOME MEMORIES
Besides taking local and international guests to multi-day festivals around southern Africa, the Once In Cape Town team offers assistance with booking local bucket list–type activities.
Go on a tour of Cape Point (currently the most popular outing with guests), swim with penguins, dive with the Great White shark, visit 300-year-old wineries, learn the craft of brewing beer, eat authentic Cape cuisine and explore the largest township in the country.
Note: Once In Cape Town believes in responsible and sustainable travel, so only offer experiences that align with their values. They are Fairtrade accredited and recognise the importance of animal welfare, human rights and the respect of indigenous cultures and communities.
By Daryn Wood
Going out? These are the party places in Cape Town.
Use our events section for an up-to-date overview of what’s happening in the city, suburbs and dorpies. Join our newsletter and add us to your mobile home screen for the ultimate guide to discoveries in Cape Town.