African Pride Hotels is an upmarket brand within the Protea Hotels group, which earlier in the year was bought by Marriott International. There are 11 African Pride hotels spread across the South African provinces of Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and Western Cape.
Where Is It?
One of a number of smart new business hotels that have sprung up in the Cape Town city bowl in recent years, this African Pride property is set conveniently in the suburb of Gardens at the foot of Table Mountain. The hotel calls itself a ‘green heart in the jewel of the metropolis’ and it’s an accurate descriptor, as it’s within walking distance of the National Museum, the Planetarium, and the Company Gardens. It’s ideal for the business person on an in-and-out trip, being located close to a number of restaurants in ostensibly one of the safer parts of town.
The hotel offers 129 bedrooms and suites ranging in size from 40m2 to 100m2, as well as six penthouse suites. Arrival at your room is via a high-speed elevator overlooking the expansive reception area. I experienced some trepidation walking down a light-saving corridor. I get the green debate, but I’d like a little more than the gloomy first impression. But all was forgiven on entry – even the most jaded of travellers can’t not be impressed by the sheer size and scope of Table Mountain, which can be seen through a massive panoramic window. My room was populated with functional designer furniture, including a sophisticated stretched sofa. The hotel blurb asked me to adjust the lighting to suit my mood. I’m perpetually baffled by hotel lighting switches and I struggled to find the one to eventually give me deep-sleep darkness. I feel these could be better marked. Suites are equipped with a host of first class leisure and entertainment amenities, including two flat-screen televisions with satellite television channels, and a DVD player. Guests each receive 50MB of free internet per day, and I found the Wi-Fi worked well. The bathroom was a joy to behold and the shower nozzle with its high pressure induced a little under-spray rendition of my favourite arias. Again, I was exhorted to set the lighting to enjoy a candlelight effect. Too bad I was alone, but the fluffy slippers and gown fitted perfectly.
Restaurants & Bars
I took my breakfast at the Savour Restaurant and was told to select it from a four metre-long refrigerated counter. I judge any breakfast on the crispiness of the bacon and the texture of the omelette. I had to ferret about a bit for the bacon I wanted, but the omelette was sublime and well-cooked. The coffee, by the way, is memorable. I didn’t, as the hotel website suggests, “mingle with the local and international cognoscenti at the opulent Murano Bar; sip cocktails in an elevated chandelier pod and enjoy 360 degree views of Table Mountain, Lion’s Head, Signal Hill and the city”, but trust me, if I’d had the time, I would have. I’m told twenty thousand Murano crystal links rim the outer edge of the bar – who am I to dispute that?
Meeting & Conference Facilities
The hotel claims to be a world class setting for executive meetings and conferences with five boardrooms, four meeting rooms and a spacious conference room capable of accommodating up to 200 delegates. When I was there it seemed to be heaving with busy and well-fed government delegates, two of whom told me they had no complaints.
The Suntra Spa says it offers the very best holistic, therapeutic and aesthetic care, combined with the latest technology, and it includes anti-ageing facials, hands-on body therapies and extreme make-overs. The hotel also offers a swimming pool and gym for those looking to release a few endorphins.
As Arnold Schwarzenegger always says, I’ll be back. A luxury hotel in a convenient location.