If you are looking for the best accommodation in Clarens, we have got you covered. Clarens is a small town at the foot of the Maluti mountains and is also known as the Jewel of the Eastern Free State. It’s a popular destination for both South African guests and visitors from overseas, due to the wide section of accommodation that is found in the area.
There are also many hiking trails around the town in what is known as the Clarens Village Conservancy, as well as many guest farms in the area. Aside from accommodation, tourists are attracted to Clarens by various forms of entertainment. There are various things to do in Clarens that make it a hidden gem for locals and travellers in the know, including various places like the Basotho Cultural Village, mountains, and gaming.
The area is a cultural heartland that attracts a huge number of visitors throughout the year. The nearest town to Golden Gate National Park is Clarens, when driving through the eastern gate of the park.
There are beautiful areas surrounding the park, and accommodation whether you are looking for hotels, chalets, or camping sites. There are between 300 and 400 places to stay so you are sure to find something to fit your requirements. Lodgings range from self-catering houses, guesthouses and B&Bs to hotels.
It is also a place where you can truly relax and explore without trepidation. Guests in Clarens feel very safe and you can walk to many places like
the centre of town to go see the restaurants and galleries.
How To Choose Your Accommodation
The main things to be taken in to consideration when choosing where to stay in Clarens will be budget and standard amenities. Location is usually a consideration but in the case of Clarens, the town is so compact that everything is located conveniently enough that at most times you will be 5 minutes away from the town centre or from the sightseeing locations.
To help you with these, we have separated this list into two classes. The first being the primarily focused on the best hotel all things considered. Thereafter, we have included those which are give good value money being more affordable.
List Of Best Accommodation in Clarence
Kiara Lodge is my personal pick for the best accommodation in Clarens. The place is fully equipped and offers creature comforts that are almost uncharacteristic with the area and surrounding destinations. You can have just as much fun inside the lodge area as you can have in the popular surrounding destinations.
It is a best-seller in Clarens and if you want to get accommodation here you will want plan your bookings in advance, especially for peak times like weekends and the holiday season.
The only thing I can complain about at Kiara is that while WiFi is selected in certain areas of the property, it is not free. The prices for internet connectivity are fairly reasonable but take away from what would otherwise be an experience with no complaints. Kiara lodge is perfect for families and large groups.
There is lots to do on the property and the facilities are immaculately maintained. The indoor pool complex is huge, and the temperatures are regulated to make swimming comfortable at any time of the year. The list of things to do is too long to mention, with entertainment areas both indoors and outdoors.
For the young at heart, the true standout is the state of the art games room where the young and young at heart can revel for the whole day. This is all over and above the views of the Maluti mountains that can be seen from every corner of the lodge.
Over 18s also have their own entertainment lounge at @ease lounge, where you can unwind with a game of pool, darts or watch a big game. When you don’t feel like cooking, you can have a night out at the onsite restaurant, The Trout and Mallard which serves hearty food.
The whole experienced is topped off by profession and friendly staff who cater to guests to make your experience a pleasant one.
Protea Hotel By Marriott Clarens
A list of the best hotels in an area of South Africa is rarely complete without a Protea Marriott hotel, and Clarens is no different. Protea Hotel Clarens is a four-star establishment and has all the creature comforts you would expect from a Marriott Hotel.
This particular hotel sports 70 luxurious rooms and is ideal whether you are planning a trip for two or a business conference with a dash of African safari.
It is conveniently located and within walking distance from all the restaurants and shops of interest. There is free WiFi up to 500MB available to guests. Facilities include an outdoor pool with splendid views over the Maluti mountains.
For more rigorous activity, you can make use of the jogging/hiking trails Rooms are tastefully furnished in a simply yet luxurious style that blends well with the scene natural surroundings. The guest rooms come in a standard size and a larger size that accommodate up to two adults. Each has the option between a double King Sized bed or two singles. To make the most of the location, you will want to get a room with a mountain view.
For your dining requirements, the restaurant on-site serves buffet breakfast with an a la carte menu for lunch and dinner. The staff at the hotel is well-trained and friendly so service is of a high standard as you would expect from a hotel like this.
Il Castello is a boutique hotel with real charm that caters for the discerning guest. The setting is serene, with the sound of birds and babbling brooks giving you a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The property is spread out across three levels, with a manicured garden and sound proofed rooms.
Il Castello is aimed at the high end travel market and has the requisite facilities available to guests. There is a concierge service and other quality of life amenities like a Nespresso coffee machine in each room, as well as free transportation to the town centre and back. The ‘basic‘ necessities like complimentary WiFi and private parking are available. All rooms come with full catering included in the room rate.
When you want to relax, there is a shared lounge indoors, and a rooftop terrace where you can enjoy your breakfast while taking in the views of the nearby mountains. Il Castello lives up to its name and gives the true feeling of staying in a Castle near the countryside.
Golden Gate Hotel and Chalets
Location, Location, Location. This popular hotel is nestled at the foot of the Maluti Mountains and is in the most desirable location of any hotel or guest house in all of Clarens. The hotel was part of brandwag camp, but since its recent refurbishment, is managed by SANParks, making it the number one choice for most visitors who are going to the town’s most popular attraction.
It is situated right in the Golden Gate national park and boasts 360 degree views. The location simply cannot be improved upon if you are in Clarens for the sights. The hotel is also a part of the area’s history, having been opened in 1963.
The new look and feel of the hotel after refurbishment takes a far more modern approach while still enhancing the original style of the 70s. If you want to remain connected WiFi is available in shared areas and is free of charge.
Rooms have high ceilings which give the feeling of spaciousness. Room decoration involves using pops of colour for a vibrant and unique look in every room.
For your dining requirements if you are staying in the hotel, there are two restaurants on-site that serve South African cuisine. Brandwag Lounge offers an a la carte menu while Matsusa has buffet option as well as a la carte.
Value For Money Accommodation
Lola’s Self Catering Accommodation
Lola’s gives amazing value at a great price point. There isn’t much of a compromise on what you get either. The property has great views and is tastefully furnished with contemporary finishings.
The only thing you are giving up compared to the pricier alternatives is slight proximity to the Maluti Mountain range which you can still enjoy in uninterrupted views from the veranda at Lola’s.
The tradeoff is that it is closer to the shops, restaurants and galleries. Everything is a 2-minute walk away. The accommodation is also pet friendly so if you can have your furry friends along for the trip.
The house is spacious and accommodates up to 6 guests. It is decorated in a modern style with clean lines. The number of full sized windows lets a lot of sunlight gets in making the place feel welcoming. Amenities at Lolas’s are up to par. There is ample parking available on-site, free WiFi available to guests, and barbecue facilities if you are so inclined.
A favourite of visitors is the electric blankets which can come in handy at night during the Winter season. There is an enclosed private lawn garden where you can enjoy a few tranquil moments.
44 Golf Villa
44 Golf Villa is a self-catering accommodation situated inside the gated community of Clarens Golf Estate. It consists of two bedrooms and can accommodate up to 4 people. One of the bedrooms is en-suite with double bed, while the second has two single beds and a separate bathroom. All of the bedrooms have underfloor heating.
The views Clarens has to offer can be enjoyed from all the rooms in the property, which is perched high up overlooking the estate, town and mountains in the distance.
The kitchen is fully equipped with most amenities that you would want. If you don’t want to cook, you can dine at the restaurant within the estate which you can stroll to. Since this is a gated estate, it is completely safe to walk at any time.
Free WiFi and on-site parking are available to guests, and the rental also includes a washing machine and braai facilities to make your stay comfortable.
If golfing is part of your vacation itinerary then this is the best place, as the only golf course in Clarens is on this estate. Guests at the estate also qualify for a discount on the 18 hole golf course.
This one is a charmer of a destination with a rustic exterior and a contemporary heart. The accommodation at Clarens Retreat comprises 11 self-catering units can accommodate between 2 and 4 guests each. The rooms are decorated in stylish contemporary décor that uses neutral colours that propagate sunlight well add warmth.
You can choose between a studio or one bedroomed apartment which can accommodate 2 people, or a two bedroom apartment which sleeps 4. All units are fully equipped. The location is convenient and the town centre is a 5-minute walk away.
At 1850m above sea level, Clarens is the highest livable town in the province and nights can get cold. The rooms here have either under-carpet heating or fireplaces to keep warm when things get chilly.
You have a good compliment of amenities available to you that includes daily servicing of rooms (all units serviced from 10am onward), premium cable television and on-site parking. WiFi is also available in all areas of the property and is free of charge. The one thing that is missing is air conditioning, but there is a fan.
If you want to take a break from doing your own catering, you have the option if having breakfast at the restaurant, TREAT, which serves an a la carte menu in a contemporary French country inspired setting.
De Molen Farm
De Molen Farm is located in the Rooiberge Mountains between Clarens and the Golden Gate National Park. The farm has been around since 1872 and De Molen keeps in touch with its heritage. This 3 star cottage is modest in terms of decorations but what you get in exchange are spacious living areas with great views and a sense of privacy.
If you want tranquility and quietness, you will find it here. It’s a great place to unwind, with a friendly host and staff. There is also enough to keep yourself busy with. You can take in the sights of yellow trees or take a leisurely to the river. There are animals on the property and kids can have a fun time feeding the horses and sheep.
De Molen consists of 4 cottages that offer different style for different visitors’ needs. Two of the cottages sport a classical farm style with traditional wooden furnishings that ooze old world charm. The other two are designed in a more modern style with brighter colours and a more minimalist style.
The venue is designed as a getaway self-catering retreat, with kitchens suited for farm cooking that makes it an ideal destination for a family vacation. Our pick of the different cottages is the 3 Bedroom Bungalow (also known as the Old Milkshed) because of its epic view from the dining room which spills out on to the private patio against the backdrop of the mountains. The smallest unit at De Molen hosts two adults, while the Old Milkshed can host up to 7 adults.
De Molen Farm has a good selection of amenities. There is, however, no internet access available and cellphone signal is also touch and go, so that is something to keep in mind.