For over 250 years, the location of the current President Hotel has been a coveted one. In the 18th century, it was the site of the Society House, a recreational retreat in Cape Town where the rich and elite of the day would travel to be seen. After several ownership changes and much history, the first hotel there was launched over a century later, eventually becoming the Queen’s Hotel then The President Hotel. When one of the Queen’s Hotel’s frequent guests couldn’t book his regular suite, he bought the entire hotel to avoid that catastrophe from happening again!
The current President Hotel was opened by former President Nelson Mandela himself in 1998, during his tenure as president. With 349 rooms, it now operates as South Africa’s largest independent hotel but is still as popular as ever. We haven’t seen a hotel this busy since Covid-19 struck, and we’ve been to a few!
Situated in Bantry Bay, the most wind-free location in Cape Town – between the affluent suburbs of Clifton and Sea Point – the hotel lies in the shadow of Lions Head Mountain, making it ideally located for both seaside walks and hikes. It is also well positioned to explore the rest of the Mother City as it is one of the stops on the City Sightseeing Cape Town Hop-on Hop-off Bus routes, something we took advantage of. The friendly staff at the travel desk will be happy to assist you in planning your activities.
Families are well-catered for at The President Hotel with bright, spacious family apartments, an outdoor play area, a kids club and kid’s menus in the restaurants. If you need some time out from the little ones, then qualified babysitters can also be arranged. Since February 2022, fur babies are also welcomed by prior arrangement.
The rooms and apartments are spread over 6 floors, some of which are mountain or sea facing. Our family stayed in a sea-facing apartment with 2 en-suite bedrooms, an open-plan lounge, a dining area and a kitchenette equipped with a microwave, coffee machine and fridge. Floor to ceiling glass windows around the apartment let the outside in, immersing us in our beautiful surroundings. There were televisions in the lounge as well as both bedrooms, and a welcome platter of fresh fruit, nuts and dried fruit awaited us. It felt so much like a home away from home that we could have easily stayed there for a month.
Guests are connected to the high speed wi-fi as soon as they arrive, and there are many electrical outlets to plug in multiple devices around the rooms. Smart technology is utilised with the directory of services, room service menu and other information all accessible online by scanning QR codes.
My favourite part though, was the balcony where we loved soaking in the sea views and sunsets while the sounds of laughter floated upward from the pool below.
Surrounded by palm trees, the huge outdoor infinity pool overlooking the ocean is where you’ll find most guests on hot days. Other hotel facilities include a fitness centre and a wellness centre with a spa, hair salon and medical rooms.
A huge buffet breakfast is served in the mornings with a wide range of choices for everyone. We were also treated to a delectable dinner at The Islands restaurant where we feasted on a wild mushroom and walnut gnocchi starter, a Norwegian salmon main course and a chocolate fondant and ice cream dessert. If you’re in the mood for something lighter, then there are many other options on the menu. The hotel’s wood-fired pizzas also seemed to be a hit with other guests and Botany Café serves light meals and drinks all afternoon.
Along with the resident guests, the hotel also welcomes local day visitors who come for meals or host functions there. The kids love the play area!
Visitors to Cape Town are often bewildered by the wide array of accommodation choices available in the Mother City. But if it’s proximity to the seaside combined with affordable family-friendly comfort that you’re looking for, then look no further than The President Hotel. The hotels popularity surely is evidence that they’re doing something right.