Tag Archives: hotels

Zebra in chains

Zebra in chains
I suppose it's kind-of only half a zebra, and I suppose those aren't chains... but "Half-breed zebra in wire" just never had the same ring to it. :) If you've visited Cape Town you'll probably have seen this zebra outside the Hilton hotel in Buitengracht Street. It's actually a really nice way to help guests find your hotel - drive down Buitengracht until you see the zebra.

A confusion of flora

A confusion of flora
Once picked, we can refer to these as a bunch of flowers; but like this - I suggest we refer to this collective as a confusion of flowers. It seems like a fairly apt name, IMO.

After a blistering hot Friday, we had a strangely-cool Saturday, with plenty of cloud-cover, especially congregating around Table Mountain like a huge ball of grey cotton wool. Kerry-Anne and I headed out to the Alphen Hotel in Constantia to meet up with friends for lunch at La Belle, a lovely restaurant on the hotel's estate.

La Belle is pretty awesome - the service is great, and the food is superb. The pork neck I ordered was spectacular, the cheese cake was heavenly, but the coffee was unfortunately only average. I'd definitely recommend you visit La Belle though - you're sure to enjoy it.

The Great Star of Africa

The Great Star of Africa

The Cullinan Hotel is named after Sir Thomas Cullinan, the owner of the Pretoria mine where the largest gem-quality diamond was mined back in 1905. Before it was cut, the Cullinan diamond (also known also as The Great Star of Africa) had a mass of approximately 3106.75 carat - which is more or less 621.35 grams!

The Cullinan 1 diamond, cut from the raw Cullinan diamond, now has its home in Britain's crown jewels, forming the head of the Sceptre with the Cross.

There's an interesting story about how the diamond was transported to England via registered mail - read about hit in the Wikipedia Article.

Dinner and a stylish Green Point restaurant

Dinner and a stylish Green Point restaurant
Don't you love discovering stylish restaurants that really make you feel at home? Kerry-Anne and I visited Bistro 1800° at the 5-star Cape Royale hotel for their new menu launch last week - and my, what a treat it was...

After relaxing with drinks at Sky Bar, on the hotel's roof-top, we returned to the ground level for dinner - an arrangement of bite-sized versions of the restaurant's new menu. (Click on the pictures below to see a sampling of what we were treated to - yum, right?) I won't go into the delicious details, but on the menu for the evening was an assortment of specialty breads, cheese soufflé, loin of lamb, beef fillet, kingklip, berry pavlova and an incredible, and I do mean incredible, chocolate mousse!

Something that I found really interesting about the restaurant is the origin of its name. I believe it's derived from the New York-style grill that they use to sear their steak at precisely 1800 degrees Fahrenheit, which is a whopping 982 degrees Celsius! Now that's pretty warm heh? Chef Jonathan Gargan believes that it's their special super-hot grill that's responsible for the juicy goodness - and while I can certainly agree that the steak is juicy and good, I do think he's being just a little modest - it probably also has a little to do with years of culinary magic he's rehearsed in the kitchen. ;)

Visit Bistro 1800° at 47 Main Road in Green Point - you won't regret it. Also, when you arrive, stop your car right in front of the building, make use of the valet parking, and step out like royalty leaving the smiling staff to find a safe spot for your car in the building's basement - it's way more fun that way.

A view from Sky Bar at Cape Royale Hotel

Sea Point from the Cape Royale Hotel
On this beautiful clear-sky wind-free evening Kerry-Anne and I were fortunate to be treated for drinks while watching the sun set from the open-air Sky Bar on top of Green Point's 5-star Cape Royale Hotel.

Besides for the stylish-yet-unpretentious vibe, what's especially great about Sky Bar is the view. The Cape Royale Hotel is the tallest building in the area, which means that while sipping drinks you're treated to a 360° view of the mountains, ocean, and city. :)

We spent about an hour on the roof-top, enjoying the view, drinking cocktails, and eating oysters. We even managed to squeeze in an impromptu neck and shoulder massage, at Sky Bar, courtesy of the hotel's Equinox Spa (which was, for the record, pretty darn fantastic!).

In a follow-up post I'll share a little more about our dinner at the hotel's in-house Bistro 1800° restaurant, but for now click on the photos below and take a look at the transfixing view of Table Bay and the city from Sky Bar. Pretty awesome, heh?

Light at the end

Light at the end
Winchester Mansions in Sea Point has recently had a significant make-over - and while I'm sure it was all for the best, I think I'll miss the old charm.

Kerry-Anne and I had breakfast at the hotel - and while the food was perfectly good, and the service impeccable, I wouldn't recommend it as a place to have breakfast unless you're actually staying in the hotel. The breakfast area is tucked away inside the hotel, with no views to the outside - and there really are plenty of places in the area with far more beautiful views.

Still, even though the breakfast spot isn't wonderful, on the plus side, I think Winchester Mansions will remain my favourite place for Sunday afternoon tea and scones!

An old hotel patio

An old hotel patio
There's something charming about old hotels in small and remote towns, like Riebeek West. This is the front patio of the Royal Hotel. Unlike modern up-market hotels, this old colonial hotel was built right along the street with no huge bright-green lawn, large water fountains, and no undercover valet parking. :)

When we go away on vacation in South Africa we normally stay in B&Bs. After visiting here I think perhaps for our next local vacation we'll try to find an old colonial hotel like the Royal Hotel - just to get a feel for what it must have been like back in the day's of the Cape Colony.

See the beautiful evening photos on their website. The hotel was quaint and retro-stylish, but not as pretty as their website shows. Although, perhaps that's just because it wasn't lit as brightly since it was only mid-afternoon when we visited!