Unlike so many other cities, the centre of Cape Town – come 5pm, when the office workers go home – is not a ghost town. In the last decade a massive rejuvenation effort has given the city centre a new lease on life, and the inner city is thriving.
Restaurants abound, music drifts out of trendy bars and the areas around Greenmarket Square and Long Street buzz with happy revellers out for a night on the town.
And in the footsteps of all this revelry has followed a boom in high-end hotels, catering for leisure and corporate travellers who want to feel the pulse of the city after a day in the boardroom, or down on the beach.
The latest addition to the city skyline is the Pepper Club - on the corner of Loop and Pepper Streets it’s a stone’s throw from the bars and restaurants of Long Street, and a short walk down to heart of the city.
The rooms are especially well positioned for corporate travellers, or holidaymakers who want their hotel rooms to be functional, stylish and easy to settle into. The rooms are sophisticated, modern and well equipped, but have little in the way of originality. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Personally, when travelling on business I like my hotel rooms not to have too much character – I’m there to sleep and shower, and I don’t want to spend time working out any idiosyncrasies. So when it comes to settling in quickly, the sleek Pepper Club rooms fit the bill nicely. In addition, the Cayenne Spa and 8th floor gym offer great city and mountain views, and offers well-priced specials that will surely pull in the locals.
There are 14 different room types, and I won’t bore you with describing them all, but suffice to say they boast the flat screen TV, modern décor, good linen, city views and spacious bathrooms you’d expect from a five-star hotel in SA’s tourism capital. Free Wi-Fi is a nice bonus, and I also liked the fact that most rooms come with a kitchenette, so if you can’t be bothered to go out, or want to save some cash, you can prepare something simple in your room.
Not that you’re likely to do much of that, to be honest. Cape Town is the country’s culinary capital, and there are a dozen top-notch restaurants just a few minutes’ walk from the front door. Again, the Pepper Club’s great central location means there’s no fussing with taxis or transfers. However, if you feel like splashing a few grand, you can book a ride in the hotel’s Rolls Royce Phantom.
Off the lobby there’s a great little bar (called, somewhat mysteriously, ‘Paparazzi’), which does a pretty good gin martini. Oyster and bubbly specials, and live music, are also likely to prove popular draw cards.
The bar spills into the recently launched restaurant Sinatra’s, which promises Italian cuisine with flair, but failed to impress on the night I visited. Lovely décor – the right mix of glam and stylish – but a menu that promised too much and delivered too little. The fact we were the only Saturday night diners didn’t help either. But the hotel also has a linked eatery in Camps Bay called ‘Pepper Club on the Beach’ and perhaps that will fare a little better. Summer is on its way, so it will be well worth stopping in.
Sinatra’s was the only blip in an otherwise excellent stay in a hotel that makes a great city base for visitors. With sophisticated rooms, great service and a central location, the Pepper Club definitely worth a look if you’re paying the Mother City a visit.
If you’re in the city and want to sample the Pepper Club style, we’re giving away a one-night stay for two people sharing, including breakfast, in one of the royal deluxe suites. All you have to do to enter is fill in your details below…