Add some spice to life

2011-07-29 12:41

Am I the only one who gets thrown back to the 1940s whenever I hear the name Pepper Club?

I think of smoky cigar lounges rather than five-star hotels in Cape Town.

­Performers at the Cape Town Jazz Festival have been staying at the Pepper Club for a few years now, which is how I got to know about it.

Found on the corner of Pepper and Loop streets in the CBD, this hotel was named the best luxury hotel in South Africa by CNN Traveller last year.

So, with this accolade in mind, I was ­prepared to be blown away. And I was – mostly.

The first thing that stood out for me was the hotel’s classy check-in counter, with its low tables and comfortable chairs.

There was none of that bank ­teller-like welcome.

The entrance to my room opened up into a passage that led to the bedroom, while another led the way to a spacious bathroom with a separate bath and shower. Another door along the passage led to a living room with an open-plan kitchen.

It was my first self-catering five-star hotel experience and I was ­excited.

I had visions of ­entertaining friends, wearing a cute apron while baking or ­roasting something in the oven.

I would grudgingly serve tea to those who didn’t want “grown-up drinks” from the mini-bar.

My guests would lounge on the brown leather couches while taking in the panoramic view of Table Mountain as ­

Beyoncé’s latest album played in the background.

Of course, none of us would be watching the huge LCD flat-screen TV because the ­conversation would be far too sparkling for that.

Sadly, my fantasy never came to fruition as it turned out that my days in Cape Town would be filled with countless sightseeing tours.

And really, who wants to cook anything when some of the Mother City’s finest eateries are less than a minute’s walk away on Long Street?

When I was too lazy to walk that far for my dinner, the hotel’s Sinatra’s restaurant had delicious traditional and modern Italian ­cuisine on the menu.

The few moments I had to ­appreciate the hotel’s chic ­Paparazzi cocktail bar and piano lounge were while I was waiting for the their complimentary car – a Rolls-Royce Phantom – to take me wherever I wanted to go in the city.

Unfortunately, I also found the time to experience the downside of the room. Each time I had to get some work done on my laptop, I had to place it on my lap ­because there was no work station.

I later discovered that other rooms didn’t have the same problem.

For a hotel that also caters for a corporate clientele (they even have conference rooms), the lack of work stations in some rooms needs to be addressed.

Another problem was the land-line telephone that gently ­whispered whenever it rang. How is anyone expected to hear a ­wake-up call?

All in all, the hotel felt like a home away from home – only with much better views and housekeeping staff to miraculously tidy up after me.

» Seabi was at the hotel as a guest of SA Tourism 

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