Where To Stay In Bloemfontein, South Africa

Located at the crossroads of South Africa, Bloemfontein — or Bloem as the locals it — is a city that serves double duty as the country’s judicial capital, and Free State’s provincial capital. Also home to a university, it sees a mix of business and leisure travelers, although the latter usually just pass through for a night on their way to somewhere else.

But unlike many business-oriented cities, Bloem has more than just the standard chain hotels when it comes to wired-in lodging options. The city also has a refreshing number of upmarket guesthouses perfect for business travelers who prefer to sleep boutique-style.

Here are five of the best hotels in Bloemfontein:

Courtesy of hobbit.co.za

1. Hobbit Boutique Hotel

One of our favorite places to stay in Bloemfontein, the Hobbit Boutique Hotel also doubles as the city’s J.R.R. Tolkien headquarters, as it is home to the local Tolkien society and will direct guests to various shrines including the house where the author was born in 1892. A quaint Victorian guesthouse, rooms are in two 1921 houses and are done up in cottage style with sprigged counterpanes and painted bathtubs. Luxury amenities include a nightly turndown service with sherry and chocolate, and the property is a favorite with visiting dignitaries and literati. Common areas are even cozier than the bedrooms – don’t skip the reading room with its chess table or the charming outdoor patio off the English style pub, where you can have a meal and a quiet drink. WiFi and a swimming pool complete the picture.

19 President Steyn Ave., Tel: 051-447 0663

protea willow

Courtesy of marriott.com

2. Protea Hotel Willow Lake

One of several Protea properties in the city, Willow Lake is a stylish four-star hotel that is one of the best deals in town. The décor in the 94 rooms is modern and neutral – think soothing beige and chocolate color scheme and fluffy white duvets on comfortable mattresses. Bathrooms are a work of art and standards of cleanliness are high. The hotel is close to the Waterfront and Mimosa Malls and the 2nd Street eating, shopping and nightlife districts and overlooks the zoo — you can actually see the elephant enclosure from the patio. For entertainment there is a swimming pool and onsite restaurant and bar, but only limited room service options. WiFi is standard, and there is a conference center should you wish to plan meetings.

101 Henry Street, Willows, Tel: 051 412 5400

protea bloemfontein

Courtesy of marriott.com

3. Protea Hotel Bloemfontein

Looking better inside than it does from the exterior, this hotel is popular with parents visiting students at Grey College, located just south of Nelson Mandela Ave. Part of the Protea Luxury Collection, the rooms feature Asian-inspired minimalist decor in a soothing white-on-white color scheme. Grab drinks on the terrace by the long, skinny pool in summer or dinner by the fireplace at the stylish restaurant and cocktail bar. WiFi is available.

202 Nelson Mandela Drive, Brandweg, Tel: 051-444 4321 

anta boga hotel room

Courtesy of antaboga.co.za

4. Anta Boga Hotel

The Anta Boga is large for a boutique guesthouse – it can sleep up to 80 people — and gets high marks for its interior design elements. The colonial Balinese-inspired bedrooms are luxurious and feature dark wood four-poster bed frames and framed reproductions on crème colored walls, while the bathrooms are a fabulous fusion of tile, wood and marble with round sinks and square standalone tubs. Everything is very clean and comfortable. Service is also noteworthy and the attention to detail high – visit in winter, for instance, and expect to find slippers by the bed and the heat turned up in your room upon check-in, along with a welcome letter from the manager and a light snack. Perhaps what is most unique of all about this property is that despite its relatively small size, it caters to corporate travelers with a dedicated conference center – and it also works well for weddings and private events. Wi-Fi comes standard, as do in-room safes.

8 Stapelberg Street, Tel: 051 444 4647

Bon Hotels

Courtesy of bonhotels.com

5. Bon Hotel Bloemfontein Central

This is a business hotel through and through, and unless you’re attending an event in one of the many conference rooms or you have a meeting downtown, there’s not much reason to stay. Rooms are clean and pleasant enough, furnished with fridges (no minibars, so BYOB), flat screen TVs and bathrooms that could probably do with an update.

The hotel’s amenities are largely business-based but aside from the meeting rooms, there’s a buffet-style restaurant and a fairly atmospheric bar. Each guest gets 500Mb worth of fast, free Wi-Fi per day and there’s a decent selection of TV channels, if you need some entertainment while you catch up on your emails in the evening.

Bloem Plaza, East Burger Street, Tel: 051 403 8000

More from AFKTravel:

15 Ways To Experience Bloemfontein On A Budget

The Top Hotels Of Hermanus, South Africa

5 Wild Coast Hotels You Need To Stay In

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