While some are trying to escape the city, others are trying to get in… and we highly recommend it.
Bear in mind that city dwelling comes with immaculate views of majestic Table Mountain, Lion’s Head and Signal Hill – and if you swivel your head around you’re met with the sparkly vista of endless ocean – the idea is suddenly growing on you, isn’t it.
There’s something vibrant about the pavements of the CBD, people are either in a rush to get somewhere or slowly soaking in the sights, sounds and tastes surrounding them. Whatever your preference, being a tourist in your own city is the most fun way to spend a weekend.
First stop, Pepper Club Hotel and Spa…
Five words, one for each star rating, come to mind – Elegant, Enchanting, Energetic, Enigmatic and Elevator (it’s the first lift I have seen with a TV, they’ve literally committed to keeping guests entertained for every waking second of their stay).
If you want to explore inner-city luxury, this is the best place to start. Crystal chandeliers, oversized red chairs and bright colours greet you at the entrance, not at all what I expected. A valet parks your car and a doorman pounces ahead of you to open the door – welcome to extraordinary living. The foyer reminded me of a holiday in New York, the overall theme of the hotel has a strong Hollywood influence.
A neon blue bar, the Paparazzi Lounge, is a trendy space to relax and siphon off signature cocktails. Well known for its romantic atmosphere, the Sinatra Restaurant caters to a cosmopolitan palate with their European contemporary food menu. Burgers, grills, salads and soups – they cater for all taste levels.
The rooms are spacious and elegantly decorated with all the luxuries to boot. The view from your window is the real game-changer, you’re guaranteed an uninterrupted visual of Table Mountain or Lions Head, both equally enchanting. It’s hypnotic watching the table cloth fall off the mountain, if you can pull yourself away from the view you could order in or explore outside.
The hotel is situated in the beating heart of the CBD, on Loop Street. It’s a short walk to several of Cape Town’s iconic areas. A few steps down the road and you’re in Green Market Square. Turn right and walk straight up to Company Gardens to soak up some sunshine with the pigeons and squirrels. And when the day fades into night, you’re a hop and a skip away from Long Street – where bars, clubs and smoking lounges line the bustling street.
Next stop Table Mountain
Eager to experience the city like tourist, an early morning start is a must. We manage to beat the crowds at Table Mountain and are swiftly whisked up the mountain on the cableway. If you’re an adventurer and a true Capetonian, you can always hike up instead.
No matter how many times I look down on the city from the top of the mountain, I always see it differently. Stop, breath in the views and appreciate the beauty in front of you. On a clear day it is never ending. Another great idea is to download a walking tour of Table Mountain, plug in your headphones and let the voice lead you. A morning well spent, rekindling the love of your city.
A diamond in the works
The next stop over is the Diamond Works Tour on the foreshore. Surrounded by precious stones, glass of champagne in hand, I suddenly felt a sense of belonging. It was short-lived, but the knowledge imparted by our host Aimee Lentz, will be remembered for years to come.
It is fascinating to learn about the quality, size, colour, cut and rarity of these stones. You can even watch a diamond being masterfully polished and cut. And similar to the ‘heart of the ocean’ from the Titanic, I had the pleasure of wearing a custom made tanzanite and diamond pendant worth a cool R1.3-million. I call it my millionaire moment. It is a fascinating experience, one not to be missed.
I have seen Cape Town through fresh eyes being a tourist in my city, holidays are costly, so if you’re longing for an escape maybe you should try your own back yard… you will open up pockets of the city you didn’t know existed.
This adventure is available in one package from tour operator Escape 2 Africa:
Two nights accommodation in a Deluxe 5 Star Suite
Return airport transfers
2 tickets to Table Mountain
2 Red Bus tickets
Diamond Works factory tour, on day of arrival only