Cape Town - Here’s a new word for you: “staycation”. It’s a noun and it means locals can take a midweek break, live like a tourist for a little while, and enjoy what our wonderful city has to offer.
It’s hosted by Once In Cape Town, which is a three-star hostel and backpacker lodge in Kloof Street. For the ridiculously low price of R650 a couple you get all this: a night in a private room with en suite bathroom and TV (okay, it’s the size of a computer monitor, but still), two tickets to the movie of your choice at the Labia, a meal of any two pizzas and two glasses of wine at Mitico in Kloof Street, and a light breakfast the next morning downstairs at Yours Truly. Just for a cost comparison, the room alone would normally cost from R325 per person sharing.
You don’t even have to take a day off from work to do this, although if you can spare the time to make the most of it, it’s a great opportunity to soak up the vibe of Kloof Street. The “staycation”, as with any booking at Once In Cape Town, can be tailor-made for your needs and desires.
Being a backpacker hostel, the whole place brims with youthful exuberance. The staff at the front desk are as happy as puppies with two tails to see you, and every time you pass through reception they’ll say hello, greet you by name, and ask how you are. The first floor comprises shared dorm rooms (so inexpensive as to be almost free for those arriving with forex), the second has the private rooms, and the top floor is for long-term guests. At the back is a communal area with a fire pit, and there is a partially outdoor bar on the first floor (there is some fairy-lit coverage for when it rains) which buzzes at night – until 9pm, when they politely tell you to continue drinking downstairs at Yours Truly. I loved that there are plants everywhere – on the walls, hanging from the rafters, in pots. Books too, and a knitting corner.
The Labia is a treasured Cape Town institution, lovingly nurtured by Ludi and Ann Kraus, who have kept it going for decades, and we love them for that. It’s the only independent cinema we have and any real Capetonian has fond memories of it. It’s the only place I ever go to watch movies, and it’s a piece of history I hope will last longer than me. Get your popcorn in a brown paper bag with salt that drops to the bottom, and a lurid Slush Puppy, with or without vodka. There is a fully licensed bar so having a drink with your movie is the right thing to do.
Dinner at Mitico afterwards was excellent. There are several dinner and movie packages with the Labia and nearby restaurants, which usually specify what you eat. This deal offers you any two large thin-based pizzas, so I had what I call the heart attack – quattro formaggi with bacon – and Mr Shine had the Capricciosa which has mozzarella, salami, mushrooms, and olives. We had Klein Constantia cab merlot.
The whole thing ends with a quick light breakfast at Yours Truly downstairs the following morning. You can have a large bowl of muesli with yoghurt and honey, or a croissant with butter, jam, and grated cheese, as well as coffee or tea, and juice. If you don’t fancy that, the breakfast voucher serves as a R20 discount on any menu item.
l Go to onceincapetown.co.za, e-mail [email protected], or call 021 424 6169.