Pepper Club is a great double act

By Helen Grange Time of article published Dec 28, 2010

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A unique double act provides visitors and holidaymakers with the best that Cape Town has to offer.

The über-trendy Pepper Club luxury hotel that connects to Cape Town’s famous Long Street is twinned with a fabulous club-cum-restaurant on Camps Bay called Pepper Club on the Beach.

Opened in March, Pepper Club oozes pure “urban cool” with its clean lines and muted colours accented by the odd bright chair or throw.

Hollywood icons on walls are complemented with Sammy Davis Jr playing in the background at Sinatra’s restaurant. And everywhere there is cutting-edge technology, including wireless internet, big flat-screen TVs, DVD players and intelligent coffee-making machines.

It has a retro-cum-classic, glamorous New York feel, helped along with touches like chandeliers and a double grand piano in the foyer, private cinema and a Rolls-Royce with a chauffeur.

It’s a breath of fresh air compared with rather more formal establishments in the Cape, and I was glad to see a group of fashionable young Asian tourists chatting away in the reception lounge as I booked in. There was no sign anywhere of a tweezered retiree scrutinising for faults.

Not that there’s no fault, mind. It can take 10 minutes to get from the ground floor to your room, due to there being only one guest elevator on African time servicing 20 floors, and you also need to find someone at the entrance to park your car.

But once in your suite, you feel completely spoilt by the gadgetry (the techno-challenged like me could do with a quick rundown of how to work them).

All Pepper Club suites have extra-length king-sized beds, which can be a bit of a squeeze in a one-bedroomed deluxe suite but you have more than enough space in the adjoining open-plan sitting room-cum-kitchenette, which contains a hob and oven, fridge, microwave, crockery and cutlery, so you can make your own meals if you like. My view was of the CBD, but other suites overlook Table Mountain, Signal Hill or Table Bay.

Pepper Club is suitable for the business traveller, but the fact that it’s near Long street with its vibrant nightlife is a boon if you’re sociable, as is being able to decamp to its club on the Camps Bay beach.

There I enjoyed a superb dinner overlooking the beachfront and Lion’s Head, and it came with entertaining interventions courtesy of the restaurant’s high-energy manager, Gavin Lockitch, who is well suited to the trendy people who gravitate to this balmy esplanade.

At the beach club, you can charge everything, including prepared beach picnics, back to your room, and there’s also a swimming pool, showers and restrooms, so you can spend the day and evening there with Cape Town’s beautiful people.

Upstairs is St Yves, one of Cape Town’s top nightclubs, to which you have VIP access as a hotel guest. It has regular performances by talented musicians and international DJs, so it’s worth making the effort before calling for the chauffeur to take you back to the hotel.

At the Cayenne Spa on the eighth floor, I was treated to its most popular treatment, the Intonga stick massage, which costs R560. Sticks are used to press out knots in your back, and it’s effective and relaxing. The spa also has a gym and sauna.

The pool deck is also on the eighth floor, with panoramic views of the city and mountains, but if you’re in the penthouse suite, you have a private pool, again with magnificent views.

The 29-seater Odeon cinema, meanwhile, is designed in a retro 1960s style and offers a comprehensive collection of classic and modern movies to enjoy at your leisure. It also screens sporting and entertainment events.

Then there’s the New York-style Paparazzi cocktail bar, which features live jazz evenings every Friday between 4 and 7pm, popular among the city’s elite party crowd.

CNN Traveller this year named Pepper Club Hotel & Spa as South Africa’s best luxury hotel, referring to it as “stylish” and “slick”, which is on the mark, in my opinion, with the piece de résistance being the beach club on Camps Bay.

l Pepper Club rooms range upwards from R1 490. Call 021 812 8888 or visit - Cape Times

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