An urban fantasy

Published Jul 22, 2012


I’m sitting in what feels like a bachelor pad on the 16th floor of the Pepperclub Hotel & Spa. I’ve just been kindly escorted to my hotel – a long story that includes not taking proper directions or noting names of streets. So, at the garage, playing damsel in distress I’m asking where to go and looking suitably confused, when a man eating a pie, filling up with petrol, says it’s not far, and personally escorts me there.

Getting a personal escort is a suitable introduction to the hotel, set smack bang in the middle of Cape Town’s CBD.

I park under a brightly lit porte-cochere and step into a lobby that’s flashy and bling, yet also tasteful. The lift lights up in pinks and pearls as I ascend to my pad.

I haven’t read up much about the hotel prior to arriving after a whirlwind week. So I’m delighted to see I have what amounts to a bachelor pad: a living area consisting of a dining room table, a swish leather couch, a big screen TV and, impressively, a kitchenette. Should I wish to cook, or make toast for breakfast or nuke a meal in the microwave, it’s all there for the taking. But this is a hotel, with Sinatra’s being the fine dining area and I take my meals there. But I do immediately like this combination of hotel and being able to cater for yourself.

It’s the tail end of a busy weekend in the Mother City, and this is my first night in. The sky darkens revealing Cape Town’s glittering lights. Designers at the hotel were inspired by New York interiors and I’m enjoying being in the heart of the city. I’ve always lived in suburbia – the closest I’ve ever come to urban city living was a brief foray when I lived in a house in Troyeville in Joburg when it seemed that suburb was on the cusp of turning into another Melville. If I craned my head around the second-floor balcony I saw the lights of Jozi in the near distance, the Ponte Tower and the Hillbrow Tower framing the darkness.

This was way before visionaries such as Adam Levin entered the scene, creating loft apartments and street markets, or before central Jozi started being so uber-cool. Now of course, Joburgers are flocking back to the city centre – Arts on Main on a Sunday, the Bioscope, urban is the new chic. So it’s a delightful surprise to be enjoying my own bit of urbanity.

The sun sets, I BBM friends back home, and explore my pad. An ultra-modern bathroom is complimented by the king-size bed in the bedroom. It’s all quite comfy, yet very stylish.

Supper is a sublime rib-eye steak with béarnaise sauce, recommended by the chef, and served with chips, a meal wolfed down. Other options on the menu include baked kingklip with salsa verdi, grilled peri peri chicken, wild mushroom tagliatelle as well as a small range of soup, salads and starters. I have dessert of chocolate pudding and berry-flavoured ice-cream which does the trick, but am left wondering whether the wild berries and amaretto zabaglione or classic creme brulée with citrus fruit compote might also have been good choices.

Other features include a state of the art gym and spa – although limited time prevents me from enjoying those. There’s also a private cinema which I glimpse as I dash into the business centre the next day. Another bonus – I appreciate the fact that using the business centre is all complimentary, as is wi-fi, unlike in some other hotels.

The hotel also has the Cayenne Spa offering full body wellness wraps, body exfoliations, massages and facials. The spa also features a sauna, an outdoor swimming pool and a fully equipped gym.

I wake to views of the city spread out before me, mountain one side, and the ocean glinting white in the distance. Staying in hotels always offers an excuse to pig out on mammoth hotel breakfasts, and then I do what I’ve always wanted to do: I walk to work. I stroll to the CT offices of the Independent Newspaper group in St George’s Mall just a few blocks from the hotel. The sidewalk cafes are full of people enjoying a mid-morning meal, the city coming alive, shops opening, and I’ve come full circle, living my urban fantasy life-cycle, with my pad being a few blocks from the office. I fantasise about living and working in a small radius, the car an accessory that occasionally comes out for brief forays.I could so get used to this. - Sunday Independent

For more information, visit or contact the hotel on 021 812 8888.

lArja Salafranca was a guest of the PepperClub Hotel and Spa.

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