Sophisticated inner-city sanctum

MAY 2013 – Set within walking distance of the Mother City’s parliament, business and legal districts, as well as its many cultural, retail and entertainment attractions, Taj Cape Town enjoys a central location second to none. Pair this with the warm hospitality and exquisite luxury for which Taj is world renowned and you’ve got a five-star offering perfectly suited to discerning international travellers. Now, with Taj Residences launched, there’s the option of owning a private sanctuary within this elegant hotel.

The lavish Taj Cape Town – a member of The Leading Hotels of the World – sits in the heart of the Mother City, offering tourists and business travellers world-class hospitality in a location that effortlessly blends heritage and contemporary urban dynamism.

Part of the international Taj Hotels, Resorts and Palaces group – the famous hospitality subsidiary of the global multinational, Tata – the hotel straddles two of Cape Town’s most beautiful historical buildings. Taj (and its partner Agencies) invested more than R500 million in meticulously restoring these late 19th-century city landmarks – the original South African Reserve Bank and the old Board of Executors (BOE) building – and harmoniously combining them with a contemporary high-rise tower. Today, spacious guest lounges, top restaurants and bars, a spa, executive business facilities and 176 rooms, suites and residences span 17 storeys, offering magnificent views over either the city or towards Table Mountain. Established in 1903, Taj is one of Asia’s largest hotel groups, with offerings ranging from modern business hotels through idyllic beach resorts to mesmerising Rajput palaces. It has a sterling reputation for breathing life into heritage buildings across the world and availing them in all their glory to its guests. From its flagship Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai to the stately Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur, in which the reigning king and his family still reside, the Taj brand has become synonymous with offering both refinement and typically Indian warmth in some of the world’s most beautiful, and historical settings. Taj Cape Town is no exception, especially with its prime setting in the dynamic historical and cultural hub of South Africa’s oldest city. It is within short walking distance of Parliament, Government Avenue and the park-like Company Gardens, as well as of the provincial Law Courts and St George’s Cathedral. The National Gallery and a wealth of important museums are close by, as are St George’s Mall and Greenmarket Square – both alive with street markets selling colourful local crafts. And that’s not to mention the many trendy boutiques and retail emporia in the vicinity, or the plethora of vibrant restaurants and bars. Ask the concierge for the special Taj map of local highlights and stroll out to explore them for yourself, or get a more in-depth view on one of the free guided history tours that depart daily from the lobby.

When the sightseeing gets too much, relax at the Taj’s spacious Jiva Grande Spa, where therapists offer speciality massages, authentic Indian therapies or signature treatments designed to treat the body and mind holistically. For a spot of refreshment, head to bistro style Mint restaurant, where a table under the trees on pedestrianised St George’s Mall offers the perfect spot to simply sit back and watch life flow by. The restaurant boasts a spectacular wine cellar, and its show kitchen serves up a mix of local and international dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In the evenings, the Twankey Bar provides an upbeat but cosy atmosphere in which to enjoy craft beer and delicious tapas – including local West Coast oysters. If it’s authentic Indian fine dining you’re after, then look no further than The Bombay Brasserie, sister to the top UK restaurant of the same name. Don’t miss the spicy tempered prawns, tandoori chargrilled prawns, dal makhani and the khushk raan (slow cooked leg of lamb), then sweeten the experience with the masala chai crème brûlée. Your stay might even overlap with an evening in the celebrated Taj ‘Expressions Series’, which sees guest chefs from different Cape wine regions hosting food-andwine pairing dinners.

The Taj is not just a leisure destination, though – it’s also a business venue with first-class facilities and state-of-the-art technology catering to top executives. The Taj Club, comprising 13 rooms and various suites with an Executive Club Lounge, offers a convenient and private meeting place with free Wi-Fi internet access, a selection of drinks and snacks available throughout the day, and a dedicated butler always on hand to organise any necessary arrangements, from restaurant bookings to airport transfers. The original wood-panelled boardrooms in the old Board of Executors building provide conference and banqueting facilities and are complemented by a technologically advanced business centre that offers IT and secretarial support.

At the end of a busy day of meetings, business travellers can unwind in the fully equipped fitness centre where there’s a 15-metre heated indoor swimming pool, a Jacuzzi and steam room. For those guests who find that either business or pleasure brings them to the Mother City on a regular basis, there’s now an additional highlight – the chance to own one of 10 residences in this five-star hotel. The studio, one- or two-bedroom apartments available for sectional-title purchase range in size from 80m2 to 136m2 and are spread out over various floors in the hotel. They offer a private sanctuary in a well-managed setting with all the conveniences of a large hotel – be it 24-hour security, room service, housekeeping or concierge assistance.

Each luxurious Residence is fully furnished and has either a walk- or sitout balcony that showcases the panoramic views. There’s air-conditioning, a home entertainment centre that includes satellite TV and the option of a DVD player or PlayStation on request, a telephone with international direct dialling, and a state-of- the-art Media Hub that allows you to connect your laptop to the TV, plug your iPod into the sound system or charge a device from a USB port. There’s even IT support should you not know how to make the most of the high-tech offerings. Bedrooms have double or twin beds, made up with luxury linen, while ensuite bathrooms feature an oversized tub and a walk-in shower, as well as Molton Brown toiletries. The fitted kitchen includes a hob, oven, microwave and fridge, as well as a kettle and toaster. There’s secure undercover parking with a valet service, round-the-clock security with CCTV surveillance and the option of daily housekeeping services.

Owners enjoy privileged access to the hotel’s business and leisure facilities, including the gym and spa. They can also lease or rent out their apartments on a monthly basis, so securing both annuity income and an appreciating asset. Certainly, whether you choose to purchase a lavish Residence or simply check-in for the night, Taj Cape Town offers a convenient, city-centre base that is sophisticated, secure and hospitable. Here, as the ancient Sanskrit verse goes, ‘Atithi Devo Bhavah’ – ‘the guest is God’.

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