Yours Truly on Kloof Street is definitely in the running for my favourite spot to unwind, soak up the vibe and catch up with friends over a cold beer and a pizza. Until recently I’d been vaguely aware of Once in Cape Town next door, but hadn’t ever ventured in. What a rookie error. A minute or two after I met up with one of the owners and general manager Kim Whitaker I was smitten – with a wash of memories from my backpacking days flooding back, and dozens of questions popping in to my head about all their innovate designs, concepts and offers.
My tour started with a warm welcome from the team at reception, and a bombardment of information about incredible events and outings on the activity board! It’s such a simple addition to the front room, but the perfect way to give guests a taste of what the Mother City has to offer. The ground floor also has a quirky Skype booth, movie room and spacious outside area – kitted out with wooden tables and benches, hanging baskets and an impressive braai/ poitjie area that was about to be put to good use.
The self-catering kitchen is clean and well equipped for travellers that need a break from restaurant food or have special dietary requirements. The two features that really caught my eye were the Xhosa lessons in colourful chalk on the wall – with basic conversation starters; and the containers allocated to each guest in the fridge, to avoid things getting muddled up or munched by a hungry midnight monster 😉
The first floor is where the fun really begins… as sharing a dorm with friends or fellow backpackers is guaranteed to get you in the mood to live up to Once’s tag line:
Sleep. Eat. Explore. Each dorm has a unique theme and décor to match, with an en-suite bathroom and two sets of bunks. Look forward to big, comfy mattresses, clean white linen and very nifty lockers at the top of each bed, equipped with universal plugs and space for all your valuables.
If you’d like to have your own space, or privacy for a romantic weekend away, then the en-suite double rooms on the top floor will be right up your street. Little luxuries include fluffy white towels, handmade soap, a full-length mirror and DSTV. Another thing to keep in mind when you book is that all the rooms on the right-hand side of the corridor have gorgeous views of Table Mountain.
But back to my conversation with Kim and answers to some of my questions that you may be interested in… Once opened in November 2013, and is already getting repeat business (always a great sign); they have lots of South African guests as well as tourists from all around the world; and their partnership with Yours Truly has been a great success (which is not hard to believe once you’ve tried their coffee and sampled a few things off the menu).
Kim is incredibly passionate about Once, and constantly coming up with ways to support local artisans. For example the bucket stools and hangers are from Pedersen and Lennard at the Woodstock Exchange; the Linen is from sourced from a company based in Durban and the soap is handmade by , a small business that empowers local women in Cape Town. Once has initiated a recycling initiative for several businesses in the area with EnviroCon too.
Kim is also on the ball when it comes to international trends and new ideas to enhance the experience for her guests. For example they’re about to add hair dryers and straighteners to the girls’ dorm. They’ve also introduced a staycation special for locals, for just R650 per couple, which is running till the end of November 2014: dinner at Mitico, Labia movie theatre tickets, a night’s stay in a private room and breakfast at Yours Truly. This special is available Monday – Thursday, until the end of November 2014 so don’t leave it too long before you book.
Contact Number: 021 424 6169
Address: 73 Kloof Street, Gardens, Cape Town.