So, we’re all familiar with hotels and hostels – they’re the places we stay when we’re on holiday. In the main, hotels are for the more ‘mature’ traveller and hostels are for backpackers. Wait up, though, there’s a new kid on the block – poshtels.
According to the Urban Dictionary a poshtel is ‘an upscale hostel. Combines the "posh" style with the "hostel" sensibilities and price. A cheap & chic hostel.’
Poshtels are taking the travel world by storm, and it’s not hard to see why. They are, basically, a boutique hostel, priced between a hostel and a hotel. They offer great design, comfortable accommodation, good wi-fi and, in most, an emphasis on promoting local activities and a sense of adventure.
In a nutshell, poshtels are like the sophisticated older sister of backpackers – the one you really want to be friends with, because she’s always doing cool stuff.
While Africa is still new to this fabulous accommodation style, there are a number of establishments that fit perfectly under the definition of poshtel. We’ve gathered together seven of our favourite ones in South Africa.
Once in Cape Town
Situated on Kloof Street, in the heart of Cape Town, Once in Cape Town is perfectly central, with easy access to buzzing Long Street, the lively CBD and public transport to get you to the beach or up the mountain.
With a range of room types – dorm, shared, twin, double and 4- or 6-sleeper family – there’s an option to suit all preferences and budget. Whichever you choose, they’re all clean, stylish and well-equipped, with hotel-quality linen etc. The free WiFi throughout will ensure that you’ll be instagramming your Cape Town holiday for everybody to see (and there’s no shortage of beauty here!)
Once in Cape Town calls itself an ‘All Star Hotel’. It’s a good description. Free Breakfast on the Go from the trendy Yours Truly café is included in the price and will make sure you’re sustained for your day of activities in this beautiful city. The 24-hour reception are happy to recommend, and give advice on, where to go and what to do. You’re spoilt for choice in the Mother City!
B.I.G., Cape Town
The Backpackers in Green Point is affectionately known as The B.I.G.. Situated in Green Point (surprise!), it’s within walking distance of the city centre, the infamous promenade, and has easy access via public transport to the beautiful beaches of the Mother City.
The B.IG. offers travellers a choice of single, double, triple, dormitory or family rooms, all en-suite, all on a bed-and-breakfast basis. There’s free WiFi, a comfy library, a games room and a travel desk showcasing the wide array of activities and adventures that Cape Town has to offer.
An added bonus at the B.I.G. is the garden – perfect for braaiing (or barbecuing, as it’s known elsewhere) – and a sparkling pool to dive into (and hang out in) after a hard day’s holidaying in Cape Town’s perfect sunshine.
The Surf Shack, Blouberg, Cape Town
If kite boarding, surfing or SUPing are your thing, The Surf Shack is where you want to be. In fact, even if they’re not, this luxury hostel is 700 metres from the beach and offers incredible views across Table Bay to the iconic Table Mountain. It’s like living on a postcard.
The Surf Shack offers a range of fully-serviced rooms – dormitories, budget rooms, standard rooms and private deluxe suites – ranging in price, but all affordable! There’s free WiFi, a communal kitchen, lounge, games room and – the best – a fabulous outdoor area with swimming pool and an elevated mini pool that’s heated, for those cooler days.
Don’t know how to surf? Want to learn how to SUP? Good news: there are lessons!
Don’t wanna do those things? Good news: the beach (and pool and garden) are perfect for sunbathing, reading and gazing in awe at the mountain across the bay.
Atlantic Point Backpackers, Cape Town
With easy access to the Waterfront, Cape Town’s city bowl and its world-renowned beaches, Atlantic Point Backpackers is a great base for exploring everything Cape Town has to offer. This is made even easier by their in-house tour company, Imagine Travel.
Free WiFi, free breakfast, roomy and comfortable communal areas and hotel-quality beds and linen are just a few of the good things you’ll find here. Add to that a great pool and outdoor area and you’ve got a winner.
Atlantic Point Backpackers offers dorm-style rooms (two 8-sleeper mixed dorms, a 4- and a 6-bed dorm and an 8-sleeper female dorm), two double rooms with a shared bathroom and nine double en-suite rooms. They’re all tastefully decorated with some great South African art on the walls.
African Array Lodge, Plettenberg Bay
In the heart of the spectacular Garden route, African Array Lodge provides a budget-friendly and comfortable base for exploring this breath-taking area. The Garden Route, so called due to its emerald vegetation, magical forests and lagoons and rivers, stretches from Mossel Bay to Storms River and is a favourite holiday destination for both locals and international visitors.
African Array Lodge is situated just outside of Plettenberg Bay, in a beautiful indigenous garden that blends in with the forest, and with views across the Piesang Valley, Jakkalskraal and the Roodefontein Dam to Robberg and the Indian Ocean.
Accommodation is offered in the lodge (two luxury en-suite rooms, two double rooms and a dorm); in the backpackers (three private rooms and a dorm); and at the campsite. All rooms are fully equipped, WiFi is free, and there’s a lounge, bar, communal kitchens and an outdoor terrace with views that’ll make you never want to leave.
Curiocity Backpackers, Johannesburg
You don’t get much cooler neighbourhoods than the Maboneng Precinct, in Johannesburg’s CBD. Curiocity is situated here, in Fox Street, in the building that was originally the premises of Pacific Press, who printed the publications for The Black Sash Movement, as well at the ANC’s Fighting Talk publication during the apartheid regime. Rumour has it that they sheltered the likes of our beloved Madiba and Joe Slovo on several occasions.
Curiocity is as cool as the area it’s in, and offers guests an in-house bar and restaurant, a sunny balcony from which to watch the street life below, chill out areas, free WiFi and a range of activities and trips to explore this fascinating city.
Accommodation is available to suit a range of tastes and budgets, with 4-, 6-, 8- and 12-sleeper mixed dorms; 8- and 10-sleeper women-only dorms; standard double rooms with shared bathrooms; the loft private en-suite double apartment; and, for a different experience entirely, the Relay Space Program – a light house sculpture with double bed, kitchenette and outside shower overlooking Jozi, (situated a block away from the hostel).
COMING SOON: Curiocity, Durban
Due to open its doors in Spring 2016, the seaside sister of Jozi’s Curiocity is situated in the middle of Durban’s CBD. Within easy walking distance of many of Durban’s favourite tourist spots and North Beach, be sure not to forget your sunblock and swimming costume. Even in winter, the Indian Ocean is warm and the KZN weather balmy.
Curiocity Durban is housed in the beautiful, historic, 1930’s Ambassador House, and will feature rooms ranging from en-suite private to shared dormitories. Add to that an outdoor cinema, yoga facilities, communal chill-out spots and a bar, and this sounds like something worth waiting for!
Have you got any favourite poshtels in Africa? Let us know, and we'll add 'em to our list.