Facilitating the effortless arrival at the front door of any Cape Town hotel, given the lack of parking, narrow pavements and lack of on-street space, is always a massive challenge. While the new Hilton – the third and newest property in the group’s South African portfolio – tries to get it right, there was much cursing and multi-point turns before our shuttle driver got his vehicle into the right position. The eventual welcome, though, was effusive and efficient. However, the signage to the room lifts was poor and I almost ended up in the basement car park, which itself is small and lacking in bays. I suppose it’s the price you pay for a convenient City Bowl location. Hilton Worldwide has two other hotels in South Africa – Hilton Sandton and Hilton Durban. The company now has 31 hotels across Africa, with another nine in the development pipeline.
Located in the heart of the Central Business District on the corner of Wale and Buitengracht Street, the 137-room Hilton Cape Town City Centre has just converted to the Hilton Hotels & Resorts brand following a four-month transformation process. The look is fresh, invigorating and contemporary, and combines European functionality with touches of African chic. The hotel has 102 guest rooms, 20 executive rooms, seven one-bedroom suites and eight two-bedroom suites with spectacular views of the city.
My first floor room was spacious, light and airy with a vista-type view of the city. Hilton have always done bathrooms well. The shower is big enough to hold a meeting in and compliments on the high pressure, extra-sized nozzle. Washing is a blast, literally, and a joy. I struggled a little to match light switches to lights, but I’ve always been a switch idiot, so read nothing into this. Another thing Hilton does well is provide the best in-room soaps and creams of all chains. And no, I didn’t slip a tube of hand cream into my bag. Okay I did. I’m known for cheap gifts!
Conference and Meeting Facilities
All meeting rooms are equipped with plasma televisions, audio-visual equipment, complimentary Wi-Fi and high-speed broadband Internet. I was hosting a function for just on 100 people and I found the elongated shape of the room awkward. In spite of the screens, many of the guests struggled to see the centrally-located event space. It worked after a fashion, but I’d sound a note of caution. The buffet breakfast was sublime and personally supervised by the banqueting chef. You can always judge a mass-catered breakfast by the scrambled egg. His was light, fluffy and texturally perfect. Not only was the chef one of the most engaging hotel staff members I’ve ever dealt with, but that compliment is extended to everyone else at the facility. They can’t do enough for you and are effusive in a discreet and obliging manner.
The hotel offers two restaurants, a boutique chocolatier, business centre, executive boardroom and eight meeting rooms. In addition, guests can enjoy a pool deck with swimming pool and bar, fitness centre, sauna and steam room and make use of the valet parking and babysitting services. I liked the fitness centre – airy, with the right blend of weight and cardio-vascular equipment, plenty of clean towels and lots of cold water.
Another world class hotel for spoilt-for-choice visitors to the Mother City. Now give me another plate of scrambled eggs.
Address: 126 Buitengracht Street, Cape Town, +27 21 4813700, hilton.com