We arrived at the Hilton after spending a week in Johannesburg for work. After being on the road for almost a month and this being our 4th continent in as many weeks, the Cape Town stop was designed for decompression before we headed back to the States.
I had requested a Suite Upgrade and we got it (for an additional 1,400 Rand/Night). The room was big (approximately 700 sq/ft) and everything was in good order and clean. We had a fantastic view over Cape Town and Table Mountain (when it wasn't covered by clouds).
When I arrive at a hotel that I've not stayed in before I snoop around a bit to see what the room has to offer. The minibar was one of the first things I found and it was pleasantly stocked but with no wine, beer or hard liquor. Hmmm, that seemed odd. Then I took a shower in the massive bathroom and was enjoying the big round rain shower head when I noticed a spray nozzle on the wall next to the toilet. Another Hmmm. I had just spent a few days in Dubai and this was the first place I had ever noticed a nozzle like this. Without going into undue detail, the hose is for hygiene in lieu of a bidet or one of the super fancy automatic cleaning toilets.
I was about to put 2 and 2 together when we stopped in the hotel restaurant to have dinner. The waiter noticed us turning our menus over and over looking for the wine list and informed us that we were in "The Muslim Area" of Cape Town and they did not serve liquor in the restaurant. He did kindly direct us to another area of the hotel, somewhat discreetly located and curtained off from an accidental viewing from other guests, where you could order food and drink. There was also an executive lounge that had a decent bar but, again, the room was windowless except for a small peephole in the door.
I have absolutely ZERO issues with different religious beliefs. I also had ZERO problem with the difficulty in getting a drink at this hotel. For anyone that thinks that alcohol shouldn't offend anybody I think they need some cultural edification. We were told you could order room service (which I did later on) and they had free booze in the Executive Lounge (if you had access) and they had a bar/restaurant tucked away on the Mezzanine Level; you just had to hunt a little bit for it.
My biggest complaint with the hotel was the tragic internet. It was pathetically slow given what is available these days, even in Cape Town. It was so bad I even called the Customer Service Desk and they informed me that those were indeed the internet speeds. Our cell phone data plans were faster than the wireless in the rooms and you had to get a different "voucher number" if you had more than 2 devices; we had 4 so we needed two different login numbers.
The staff were impeccably dressed, polite, helpful, and very eager to please. The rooms were serviced daily and not a single detail was missed. Great breakfast (make sure it's included in your rate) and decent room service but not for breakfast.
One other thing that was a problem. Because my partner and I were on a 4 week trip, we each had 2 suitcases and 1 backpack. This hotel room was almost as big as my partner's little bungalow home but it did not have a real closet. There were some cubbyholes where we could throw dirty clothes and the backpacks but not a single place to put a suitcase and very little space to hang anything. The furniture was so out of scale for a room this size (actually two rooms - a living room, dining room, kitchenette, powder room and then double doors leading into the bedroom and master bath)that there was no room left for our stuff. Once I started looking around I realized that everything was simply too big. From the massive club chairs circling the small dining table to the coffee table and sofa in the living room; the furniture took up all of the space. Instead of using a nook in the corner of the living room for the desk, a rather large and somewhat useless desk was placed in the corner of the bedroom effectively using up the space where a suitcase could have sat. There was a connecting door from our Living Room into another Guest Room so I could only assume that if you could afford to rent this room you would rent the adjacent room to use as a dressing area. Honestly, I don't know what they expected you to do with your suitcases except to constantly step around them which really took away from the aesthetic of our Suite.
But I wouldn't say "don't stay here" just because the Interior Designer was an idiot. The room certainly met the "Clean, Quiet and Comfortable" criteria, the Master Bath was huge and the bathtub was to die for. Just don't bring a lot of luggage or rent the room adjacent and really live it up. One last note; the Air Conditioning ran constantly. There was no setting where the fan would cycle on and off. It was either "On" or "Off" which tended to dry out our eyes and noses. I tinkered with both thermostats (our room was big enough to have 2 zones) but I either had to power the unit completely off or put up with air blowing on me 24/7. I would put the Energy Management guy right up there with the Interior Designer for an idiot award but they were at least quiet. If they were going to be made to run constantly the fan speed should have been almost zero on the lowest setting but it wasn't. A minor detail but for what we were paying per night this was simply bad design. Again, not bad enough to say "don't stay here" but as a builder and hotel operator, I found it not amusing.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in the heart of South Africa's second largest city at the foot of Table Mountain, the Hilton Cape Town City Centre hotel is only 20 minutes from Cape Town Airport and is close to many shops and businesses, the wine district, a variety of beaches and the National Parliament. All of the modern Guest Rooms at this Cape Town hotel boast large windows, 32-inch LCD TVs and complimentary wireless internet access. Upgrade to an Executive Room for stunning views of Table Mountain or the city and access to the Executive Lounge, with complimentary breakfast, canapés and drinks. Hold a conference for up to 120 guests in one of 6 meeting rooms or 2 board rooms, which offer the very latest in audio/visual technology and ensure your event is a success with our business center. Indulge in an all-day dining experience in the elegant Mezbaan restaurants(Halaal certified by ICSA) and sip cocktails and relax with a fragrant shisha pipe in the exotic Signal Hill Terrace Lounge and Restaurant. Work out in our Fitness Center or soak up the glorious South African sunshine and stunning views of the Bo-Kaap and Table Mountain in the outdoor swimming pool. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hilton Cape Town City Centre Hotel Cape Town Central
- Hilton Cape Town City Centre South Africa