I am not a native of the Mother City, which I think is my biggest advantage. I am always finding new corners, destinations and fascinations which locals stopped admiring a long time ago. I see these places with fresh eyes, a new allure and just might entice someone to become a tourist in their own backyard.
I remember so clearly my first visit to Cape Town, it was over 10 years ago. You never really see Table Mountain, until you see Table Mountain. Standing guard over the city, I couldn’t believe her size and power. I took pictures, tons of pictures – from every angle, and each angle brought out another side of beauty.
I recall touristing through Bantry Bay, Camps Bay and Llandudno – the sheer beauty stilled my heart. I felt like I had stepped out of South Africa and onto some foreign land far far away. I looked at the President Hotel from the road below and wondered what it would be like to have such luxuries to drift in and out off.
Fast forward 13 years, and I had the pleasure of answering my own question, while enjoying a weekend break at the very same hotel, children in tow. The hotel is draped in stark white, and gives off a distinct ‘holiday at the beach vibe’. Yes please and thank you, we’ll have one of those.
If you’re lucky enough to book the family suite, you’re in for a treat. The rooms are spacious and situated on opposite sides of the apartment. The décor is tasteful and modern, with understated tones. The lounge and dining area were big enough to claim territory and the remote control. There is a kitchenette if you would like to throw something together for yourself – which as a parent is always a great option – children are hungry right before bedtime and shortly after you have sat down to relax.
But… we didn’t come to cook or watch TV, we came to soak up the vibe – and with a balcony that looks over Bantry Bay, we were in the right place. Lions Head on your right and the waves crashing on the shore to the left, it is the quintessential Cape Town stay.
The hotels in the city are constantly reaching out for technologies to up the levels of customer service, and the President Hotel is leaps and bounds ahead of the competition with innovation. I found it very useful to have a phone in my room that allows me to call anywhere, including international destinations, use data, and take the phone anywhere with me during my stay – as an international traveller this is gold star service. Taking the hassle out of arranging a local SIM card and learning how to use the network is a big win.
The hotel offers so much for the kids to do – there are swimming pools and a well-equipped play area, and City Sightseeing Tours to while your days away.
I’ve always felt like the tours were for lazy tourists. I personally prefer to experience a place by walking the streets, so I didn’t get the attraction of being stuck on a bus. But thanks to the President Hotel, we were trying new things and a City Tour was part of our itinerary. You are a short walk away from the Red Bus Tour pick-up to the V&A Waterfront.
We headed straight for the harbour cruise, where the kids couldn’t get enough of the seals, and I couldn’t get enough of the ships up close, and the beauty of the waterfront from afar. We wondered at the engineering feats of the designers and builders who worked here over the centuries, and those who much later built the waterfront. Could they have imagined all this?
All too soon it was time to get off the boat and back onto the bus.
It was a rare overcast and damp day in Cape Town as we glided through the CBD and Long Street before heading up Kloof Street towards Table Mountain. Cape Town is a world-class city in most respects, no matter which angle you look at it from. From the top of a bus, the Mother City’s citizens go about their lives, walking dogs, running, cycling and drinking coffee.
The audio guides had my son hooked on the information being delivered. It’s the kind of interactive history lesson both kids and adults find spellbinding. Predictably, the view from the cable way at Table Mountain was breathtaking, even on a cloudy day, but we had more plans.
We had a full-on picnic to look forward to thanks to lovely folks at the President Hotel, unfortunately the weather was not playing its part so we decided to picnic inside instead. Baskets filled to the brim with chicken wraps, cheese, biscuits, charcuterie and dessert were wolfed down. Back to the hotel and the afternoon was spent laying poolside while the kids gave the jungle gym a good go.
If you’re in the mood for a lazy pool day do yourself a favour and make sure you try the pizza. It is without a doubt one of the best in town, the chicken and mushroom pizza is the ONE.
We drove home rekindling the memory of the first day we visited the city all those years ago. We had grown by two people, but the magic was still firmly in place – and about that place we wanted to frequent in Bantry Bay, we plan on doing just that, again and again.
Contact: 021 434 8111
Address: 4 Alexander Road, Bantry Bay
Website: President Hotel