I booked five nights at Scalabrini Guest House based on the Lonely Planet guidebook recommendation. I worried a bit that I could only find five reviews on TripAdvisor for Scalabrini at the time I booked, but was assured to see that at least all the reviews were positive. I’m glad I have the opportunity to add to the positive reviews.
I received prompt response from the Scalabrini staff from the time I submitted a booking reservation inquiry. They held my reservation when my credit card declined the deposit and worked with me until I authorized the lift on the security hold. The Scalabrini staff also arranged for an airport transfer for me through Excite Taxi, a convenience I really appreciated after 20+ hours of travel.
Upon arrival, I was welcomed by Yvette who efficiently processed me and gave me a thorough orientation of Scalabrini House. Over the next few days, Yvette proved to be a valuable resource as I explored Cape Town on my own; she even booked a day tour of the Cape Peninsula for me. There is always a staff person on duty after hours at Scalabrini, which is helpful because there is no reception desk per se. Another helpful staff was Tara, who helped arrange laundry service for me.
The Scalabrini Guest House may not look too impressive from the outside, but it was a homely haven on the inside. As a solo traveler, I felt safe staying there. Guests are provided a set of keys that ensure access to the guest house floor is limited only to registered guests. I often left early in the morning and may see a few people on the street outside but when I came back after dark, I did not see anyone loitering around the entrance. As a bonus reassurance, I always saw public safety officers and a public safety vehicle parked outside of or across the street from Scalabrini Guest House.
My single room was clean with big windows and an electric fan. The window looked out to construction/rubble across the street, but I didn’t come to Cape Town to stare out of my hotel window, I didn’t mind. The en suite was sufficiently-sized, with a shower with good water pressure. Wi-fi (for a very reasonable fee) was strong. Make sure you have the Type M/South African plug or adapter, with the three circular pins, as the rooms only have this type of outlet.
I was very pleased with the location of Scalabrini Guest House. I booked the 9 a.m. ferry to Robben Island for the morning after I arrived, and I was able to walk to the Waterfront area in less than half an hour, using a map and without having before explored the city. Other places of interest nearby include Company Gardens, Slave Lodge, District Six Museum, and Castle of Good Hope. Because of the location, I could walk to most of Red route stops of the City Sightseeing Tour bus and thus maximize my two-day City Sightseeing Tour bus by spending most of my time on the Blue route stops. Other Scalabrini Guest House reviews have mentioned the convenience of nearby grocery stores and being able to use the communal kitchen and dining area to prepare meals, but I had takeaway from the Eastern Food Bazaar (96 Long Market Street) frequently.
My one disappointment with staying at Scalabrini Guest House is that I was unable to share a meal with homeless clients at the soup kitchen (an opportunity that is still mentioned in the guest book). Unfortunately, due to funding cuts, the Scalabrini soup kitchen had terminated its services a month before.
I recommend the Scalabrini Guest House as a place to stay in Cape Town, especially for solo travelers. It is great value for the money and the staff make it feel like home.
- Also Known As:
- Scalabrini Guest House Cape Town, South Africa