The Table Bay: Cape Town
Our World | On 02, Feb 2012
The downside of working in the events industry is that you always end up doing the arranging for personal holidays (he says, but secretly happy that I had the control!). About a year ago I organised a personal holiday for myself, my partner and a good buddy down to South Africa for a wedding and then on to Zambia and Botswana for some R&R whilst the snow fell in the UK; these were all destinations that I had previously used for a variety of events over the years.
Although I could have gone off piste a little, trying a few new hotels, I decided to go with what I knew in Zambia and Cape Town and we enjoyed 3 days at each of these hotels. Having only stayed at The Table Bay for business, I had to change my mindset completely when in house. I didn’t want to see it through the eyes of an event organiser; I wanted to really enjoy it for what it is – a fabulous hotel, in a superb location.
The hotel has not changed hugely over the many years that it has stood proud on the V&A Waterfront; it still has large, very comfortable rooms, that feel very ‘international’, but that is not a criticism. The rooms have floor to ceiling windows overlooking the open water, the hustle and bustle of the waterfront and of course, Table Mountain itself… you are left in absolutely no doubt as to where in the world you are! Why would, or should the rooms try and compete with that?
Public space at the hotel is ‘voluminous’, with easy access to the shopping mall, the waterfront and the copious amounts of bars and restaurants located just a short stroll from the hotel. Therefore, as a ‘tourist’ apart from breakfast (possibly one of the best hotel breakfasts I have ever enjoyed) and maybe a pre-going out (or before bed) drink, the hotel is really more of a sumptuous place to lay your head at night.
I have used it for events, which means that I am fully aware of the great conference/ F&B venues on offer… but their website can also tell you that. However, what their website can’t fully bring to life is the ‘personality’ of the hotel. It’s modern, and despite being one of the original places to stay in Cape Town; it has really stood the test of time. The rooms are really rather lovely and the staff are international, friendly and, even in high season – they offer a very personalised service.
An example of just how service oriented they are would be when I announced to the concierge that I wanted to “hike up the rock”! As we all know, Cape Town has a reputation for being stunning, welcoming and just a little bit dangerous. In all the years I have been there, I have not experienced this ‘danger’ first hand – but I am aware of it and the V&A Waterfront is an oasis of safety in this unpredictable city. The Concierge chap did not want to put me off, but at the same time, he did not want to encourage me to do it on my own either (my travelling party never had any intention of climbing!) So, very warmly, he explained the challenges and made some route suggestions. He called a car for me, gave me his personal mobile number to call ‘just in case’, and off I went. My fellow travellers were to meet me at the top (them travelling by cable car, me hiking).
However, the wind picked up, the clouds came in and the cable car got closed down – I walked up and then down again… very, very tiring, but a great experience nonetheless! My Concierge friend heard about the cable car being closed down and rang me from his own phone (he was off duty) to see if I was alright. The fact is, nothing bad happened to me, but if his actions were not the epitome of a great hotel…I don’t know what is!…