It’s surprising, but I had an odd voyeur like feeling when I was being given a guided tour of one of Cape Town’s premier hotels. Snooping through cupboards, checking mattresses for firmness, moving through the halls, this definitely feels like Goldilocks territory.
However, unlike the golden haired urchin, I was here legally, exploring the plush interior of The Westin Cape Town, and not sneaking through an ursine abode in a fairy tale.
Along with a group of fellow journalists, I was given an early look into the future of this luxury five star hotel as it undergoes a R150 million refurbishment. This first since it opened its doors; the refurb is being done on a floor by floor basis and is expected to be completed in mid-October 2019.
“To limit noise and any inconvenience, we planned this refurb on a floor-by-floor approach. We are committed to creating inspiring, relaxing and productive guest rooms that will leave our guests feeling more rested, rejuvenated and energized to take on their next challenge,” says Leon Meyer, General Manager of The Westin Cape Town.
“The hotel’s guestrooms will be completely remodelled and have been specially designed by the Global Marriott International design team to keep up with modern-day décor and design trends. The renovation ensures we remain up to date with modern design trends and, more importantly, adds real intrinsic value to each guest experience,” he says.
In addition the hotel has opened the new Westin Club, a lounge that offers a panoramic look across Cape Town that showcases the city’s iconic landmarks of Table Mountain, Lion’s Head, Signal Hill and the Waterfront. During our visit the lounge was dotted with people glued to their laptops or just lolling with a drink, soaking in the sprawling vista.
However, it wasn’t just the interior that we were exposed to, underneath the hotel we were given unfiltered access to the hotel’s reverse osmosis plant. Utilising the hotel’s natural position on reclaimed land, pumps remove around 1.2 million litres of seawater from the basement levels and can produce 400 000 litres of water when the plant is running at full production: an annual saving of around 100+ million litres of municipal water.
Prior to the installation of the plant, independent research was conducted and the plant was approved by authorities. Funded by The Hospitality Group, The Westin Cape Town’s owners, it will also supply the nearby Tsogo Sun Waterfront and Tsogo Sun Cullinan.
I’d like to say our intrepid party was invited to their rooftop garden, but that would be too grand an epitaph to attach to a party of journalists making their way through a hotel. Although, recollections of the Poseidon Adventure did flash through my head as we climbed the steep narrow stairs to their verdant herbatorium.
Off limits to guests this slice of greenery is an ingenious use of form and function. Tucked away behind The Westin sign that you see at the top of the hotel as you drive past, this little enclave is a treasure trove of herbs, which are used in all its restaurants. As an Afrikaans speaker would say, “Dis ‘n belewenis.”
Following a pleasant late afternoon traipse in; under and on top of The Westin Cape Town, we were given a glimpse of how the other half lives as we were escorted to the Presidential Suite. Fit for royalty? You’d be right, not only does it cost about R40 000 to stay there, actual royalty has stayed there. Despite many inducements, the hotel steadfastly refused to divulge the identity of the aforementioned royal.
But, our visit had reached its zenith and after indulging in some excellent canapes and cocktails, we made our way home, back to life and reality.