Taj opens Cape Town hotel

{ Posted on Aug 14 2013 by B-man }
Categories : Travel news

The much anticipated Taj Cape Town, the 176-room luxury five-star hotel in the heart of Cape Town has opened.

In a city block bounded by Adderley and Wale streets and St George’s Mall, the hotel occupies two historic buildings: the original South African Reserve Bank and the Temple Chambers, or Board of Executors building, opposite the entrance to the Company Gardens and St George’s Cathedral. Both have been restored and 17-new storeys, with walk-out balconies and views over the city centre added.

The Taj Cape Town is in an area steeped in history and alive with art, culture, cuisine and entertainment. “Like all great city hotels, you have museums, art galleries, top restaurants, live music venues, open-air markets and crafts all right on the doorstep,” says GM Michael Pownall, an experienced hotelier, who came back to South Africa last year to run the hotel.

Taj operates a portfolio of hotels that includes The Pierre in New York, 51 Buckingham Gate in London and its flagship property, the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai. It currently operates some 80 hotels in over 10 countries, including Australia, the Middle East, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and now South Africa.

The Taj Cape Town offers a selection of 11 room types – most with views of the mountain or over the city. These include a two-bedroom, split-level Presidential Suite on the top floors, complete with its own its own massage and steam rooms, kitchen, office, gym and a top-floor deck large enough for outdoor entertaining.

The Taj Club floor with its private lounge is served by a dedicated butler team, providing breakfast, high tea and evening canaps and cocktails. Within the restored historic buildings there are 20 Heritage Luxury rooms with views of the mountain or over the city. The 17 new floors accommodate Tower Rooms with their walk-out balconies and panoramic views.

Comfortable, classic furniture doesn’t preclude high-speed internet and a wireless multi-media hub allowing laptops to be interfaced with the television. Large marble-clad bathrooms are standard.

The first floor of the BoE building, with its large sash windows letting in plenty of natural light, houses the banqueting and meeting rooms. Here the interiors have been restored to their original opulence, which is now complemented by state-of-the-art technology. There are seven meeting rooms, the largest of which is able to host a meeting for 110 guests. Two others can accommodate up to 60 delegates each. Two smaller rooms can seat 30 people each. There are also two boardrooms and a business centre.

The hotel has two restaurants and a seafood and champagne bar. Mint, a grill restaurant is built on three levels. It is bounded by an open-plan show kitchen, a floor-to-ceiling wine wall and full-length glass sliding doors giving views of St George’s Mall. It is an all-day informal restaurant offering classic meat, poultry and seafood grills.

The ground floor of the Temple Chambers building has been restored to house the Bombay Brasserie, a fine-dining Indian restaurant offering authentic Indian flavours in contemporary dishes. It is modelled on its famous namesake in London, which is considered one of the top Indian restaurants in the UK.

With views of the Houses of Parliament and the entrance to the Company Gardens, the Twankey, a seafood and champagne bar, is bound to be a hit with MPs, politicians and lawyers. Local bands provide live evening entertainment. It also incorporates a coffee bar serving light meals.

The restored ground floor of the Reserve Bank, boasts the original marble columns, skylight and chandeliers, all of which have been restored to their former glory. Even the clock in the banking hall, which first kept banking hours in 1932, has been polished and repaired. Leading off the lobby are a formal lounge, cocktail bar and cigar bar.

Another feature of the hotel that should prove popular is the Jiva Spa. Exclusive to the Taj group, the spas draw on the ancient Indian healing wisdom of Ayurveda. Everything that touches the body is completely natural, from organic cotton, sun-bleached fabrics and oven-baked pottery, bamboo fibre, soy cotton and a range of other ingredients making up 200 customised products. The spa is equipped with single – and double-treatment suites, beauty treatment rooms, and vitality pools.

Downstairs from the spa is a gym, complete with a heated indoor pool, two saunas and male and female changing areas.

There are a number of opening specials available to consumers and travel agents, starting from R3 500 per room for two people, including breakfast at the Mint Restaurant. There is also a selection of packages including a honeymoon offer or romantic break, a family offer, a Cape Town City Centre Getaway and a spa and wellness offer.

The staff complement of around 300 is led by Pownall, who has managed luxury hotels in Cape Town before. Justin Arenhold is executive assistant manager, Theo Cromhout director of sales and marketing and James Boreland beverage manager. All three have wide experience of the South African hotel industry.

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