The Tarragon

Hout Bay, Cape Town, South Africa Book from

Reviewed by Emma Taylor
Five luxury serviced cottages for 2-6 in a magical setting on the southern slopes of Table Mountain, ideal for exploring the Cape Peninsula
It’s not hard to see why the Flemings left dreary old Blighty to find their 'place in the sun'. Clinging to the southern slopes of the Table Mountain range, The Tarragon stands out on position alone: an immense, rugged backdrop, towering pines and huge African skies. Its altitude ensures the cool garden and large pool are a verdant haven from the 11-hours-a-day summer sun. Close to the laidback restaurants and family-friendly beach of hip Hout Bay, it's also easy driving distance from all that the Cape has to offer.

This may well be enough to draw you here, but what we love most about these cottages is the blend of boutique hotel with the convenience and privacy of self-catering. The interiors are a welcome contrast to the multitude of frilly self-catering gigs in the area. They exude careful, simple design: smart slate and travertine finishing, natural fabrics and leather sofas in light and neutral colours. Mark and Julia's sheer thoughtfulness have made it a lovely place to stay, with everything you could possibly need. Including sunshine.


  • Tranquil and calm setting, perfect for coming home to
  • High-quality, spacious cottages with private outdoor dining areas
  • Good sized heated pool and beautifully kept gardens
  • Very helpful owners and charming staff who are at the property everyday and really have thought of everything
  • Great for groups and families with older children


  • You’ll have to drive everywhere, which can be a bit of a pain when you’re self-catering and have run out of milk
  • Some of the bedrooms do not have a view
  • You don’t get the evening sun or sunsets on this side of the mountain
  • Bear in mind that the sea on the Atlantic side of the Cape is quite chilly!

Best time to go

There is always something to do in the Cape, and The Tarragon is open all year. The South African summer falls between November and March, but out of season stays in October and April can see hot sunny days too. Pack for a variety of weather at any time of year - it can be unpredictable! Christmas and New Year are especially festive in Cape Town, but you’ll need to book way ahead and prices soar.

Our top tips

Most people don't realise quite how much there is to do and you could easily base yourself at The Tarragon for 2 weeks given its close proximity to a lot of the sights.

Alternatively for a combination of beachside, city and mountain vistas you could spend 3 or 4 nights here, a couple in Camps Bay and another couple in Cape Town itself, before heading off to the wine region for instance. There is a 3 night minimum stay.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Cottages
  • 5
  • Self-catering
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Heated Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen


Each cottage is different in size and outlook, though all have the same stylish finish and brilliantly stocked kitchens. This makes them perfect for travelling with kids or as a large group that needs a bit more space. Two of the cottages also make great little hideaways for couples.

The Flemings’ property developer past is evident - they renovated the existing properties by keeping the basic layout of the sandstone-clad cottages, but adding floor-to-ceiling sliding doors to let in the fresh mountain air, luxurious and practical bathrooms and individual touches of art work and soft furnishings that work well against the simple natural materials. There are fresh local flowers throughout, CD players, TV and DVD players, free WiFi, games, magazines and books. If you are travelling with a baby you’ll arrive to find a cot, bedding and toys - there are even bowls, beakers and cutlery for toddlers.

Angelica (sleeps 6) is by far the best (and most expensive cottage) with an enormous private terrace with great views. It has 3 double bedrooms (including 1 twin), 2 of which have doors onto the terrace. There are 2 bathrooms - an ensuite with a large, romantic sunken bathtub, and another which is finished in travertine. The spacious open-plan living area has black slating, a wood burner, underfloor heating and a solid oak dining table. Large sliding doors open onto the elevated terrace where you can eat alfresco, marvelling at the valley views.

Thyme (sleeps 6) is similarly furnished, but here all the bedrooms have ensuite slate bathrooms. The lounge/dining area is spacious and comfortable, with funky wall hangings. It opens directly on to your outdoor terrace overlooking the gardens, the pool and the valley beyond, (as does 1 of the bedrooms). The other 2 bedrooms have independent entrances so this cottage is not really suitable for those with younger children, but it’s great for friends or teenagers. Thyme is closed during low season.

Ivy (sleeps 4) is a smaller version with 2 ensuite bedrooms and an open-plan slate kitchen and lounge; perfect for a small family. It's very private with mountain views from the living room.

Jasmine and Saffron (both sleep 2) are 1-double-bedroomed cottages (which can be made up as twins) with a lounge, a separate kitchen, an ensuite slate bathroom, and views of the koi pond / gardens and pool respectively. We’d recommend these for couples.

Features include:

  • Barbeque
  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Dishwasher
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fireplace
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Microwave
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Oven
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Washing machine
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet


In your cottage you'll find tea, coffee, sugar and fresh milk, as well as a bottle of wine and at the end of the season a plethora of products left by former guests! All cottages have fully-equipped kitchens with gleaming marble surfaces, a Bosch dishwasher, a microwave, a hob and a fridge, as well as designer kettles and toasters and all the kitchen utensils you could possibly need. There's an outdoor dining area and a small braai, plus a large communal braai spot, with a great view of the valley.

Hout Bay has a Woolworths (the equivalent of M&S in the UK), a Pick 'n' Pay (general groceries) and a Spar - closest to the cottages and more of a deli than supermarket with locally made bread, cakes, jams and chutneys and a great fruit and vegetable section. If you don’t feel like cooking, then most of the local restaurants do deliveries including the spicy Wang Thai in Constantia. Mark and Julia can give you details and directions for all the restaurants and shops mentioned here.

Cape Town (15km / 20 minutes’ drive) has a fantastic variety of restaurants and we never fail to be amazed by their value for money. For fresh, creative sushi, head to ultra-trendy Tank in the Malay quarter, then take a post-lunch wander around the shops.

Hout Bay (5-10 minutes) also has its fair share of good eateries, though these are more laidback and less sophisticated than those in central Cape Town. For a sunny afternoon, a hugely popular lunch spot is Dunes, right on the beach, where an enormous plate of fresh calamari, salad and fries will set you back around a fiver. It's a hit with locals and tourists alike, and if you decide to go on a weekend, go early (12pm) or be prepared to queue (no advance bookings). Very family friendly, it even has a small playground.

Just a 10-minute drive from The Tarragon, a picnic at one of the local vineyards is a great way to sample the local wines. We recommend Buitenwerwachting, where you sit in dappled shade under imposing African oaks, nibbling a homemade picnic and sipping their signature white, the famous Buiten Blanc.

Features include:

  • Children meals
  • Coffee tea making
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Microwave
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Oven


  • Chapman’s Peak Drive is an absolute must, as essential as the obligatory jaunt up Table Mountain. Cut into a sheer rock face it’s hard to imagine how they even began to build it and the view of the coastline, Hout Bay, the Table Mountain range and Chapman’s Peak itself are truly awesome. Go at sunset for the added wow factor, packing a Cape Pinotage and rug in the boot for a sundowner with a difference

  • An early morning stroll on nearby Llandudno Beach will illustrate why hundreds of film crews and models flock to Cape Town each year for various shoots. The light is stunning and the backdrop almost too perfect to be real. At sunrise you’ll catch a bikini shoot in full swing, but the rest of the beach will be yours for a peaceful walk before breakfast

  • Victoria Road is Cape Town’s own Miami SoBe. Take a seat at one of the strip’s numerous bars at sunset (we recommend the long-standing Eclipse) and count the Gucci shades and sixpacks as they sashay past. As the sun sets, glance behind and watch the rays light up the Twelve Apostles mountain range

  • A trip to the local township is well worth the effort and a real eye-opener. We’d recommend an organised tour at Imizamu Yethu in Hout Bay, where all The Tarragon's staff live; chat to residents, visit a “shebeen” (drinking den) and play with the local kids

  • Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, Robben Island is where former president Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for more than 2 decades

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Horse-riding
  • Kayaking
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Whalewatching
  • Windsurfing
  • Wine tasting
  • Yoga


Hout Bay is a great destination for families and these serviced cottages give you the privacy and space you need with extra support.

Prices are for the cottage regardless of numbers and ages of guests.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

Angelica sleeps 6, so it's is great if you're a larger family, want more space or are travelling with grandparents in tow; Ivy sleeps 4 and works better for a smaller family. Thyme also sleeps 6, but the bedrooms can only be accessed via external doors making it more suited to families with older children or groups of friends.


Babysitting is available by arrangement.

Baby equipment:

  • Cots
  • High chairs
  • Baby bedding
  • Toys
  • Baby bowls, beakers and cutlery

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

The well-equipped kitchens are great for family catering and dining; there are plenty of child-friendly places to eat in Cape Town and Hout Bay and most local restaurants will deliver if you don't want to cook.

Kids Activities on site:

  • Swimming pool
  • Great garden with visiting geese, peacocks and butterflies
  • Climbing frame with swings in a separate, fenced and wooded, area

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Beach at Hout Bay
  • Whale-watching
  • Surfing
  • World of Birds in Hout Bay is one of the world's largest aviaries

Families Should Know:

Parents should note that they need to supervise younger kids around the pool and the koi ponds. You do have to drive everywhere here - there's nothing within easy walking distance.


  • Airport 35 minutes
  • Hospital: 20 minutes
Kid Friendly:

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