Cape Town was the second on our list of three honeymoon destinations. We started with the island destination of Mauritius, and we ended with the Maldives. Cape Town was sandwiched in between. Surprisingly, Cape Town turned out to be our very favorite place on the whole trip! I will have a sequence of posts describing a bunch of the fun things that we did in Cape Town, but this post will focus on a review of our lodging: The Hilton Cape Town City Centre.
As the name implies, this is located centrally in Cape Town. For us, this was perfect. We were able to walk from the hotel to a variety of great restaurants. While it's a long walk to the V&A Waterfront, another popular tourist destination, it is indeed walkable. It's also a short walk to Long Street, where most of the nightlife and partying is. We found the location to be a perfect hub for our stay in Cape Town.
We checked in late one night after flying from Mauritius to Johannesburg and onto Cape Town. My wife is the Hilton Honors Diamond member so she sat down at the check-in area with the friendly receptionist. He told us that due to my wife's diamond status, we were ugpraded to a suite. Nice! He also gave us a card for internet (more on that later…).
We took the elevator up to our room, and we were really pleased with the size! Upon first walking in, we entered into the living room area. I took an iPhone panorama shot of the room, and I must comment that the panorama mode on these new smartphones really does help to capture a full room!
Not visible in the pic above is a half bathroom just to the right of the image. In the cabinets near the sink in the picture, there's a fridge for putting refreshments in. That's always handy. Walking in the room, we then saw an arrival gift on our table. We had been given a bottle of champagne and some chocolate covered strawberries as a congratulations for our honeymoon. Nice touch... Thanks!
After arriving at the couches, we turned left through the double doors and arrived in the bedroom. The bedroom was large, and it had more closet space, a desk, a bed, and an entrance to the restroom.
Speaking of BEDroom, my wife would be annoyed if I didn't mention perhaps the worst part of the whole room. The BED. In her own words: "It was like sleeping on a slab of concrete with bedding on it." I can't disagree… When we got there late at night, we were really tired, and I remember flopping on the bed, and it didn't feel like flopping onto a soft bed. So if you like REALLY, REALLY hard mattresses, then this hotel is probably worth it just for that!
The bathroom was really large and spacious. Upon entering, double sinks are on the left, and the tub is on the right. Moving down a bit more, the toilet is on the right and the shower is on the left.
So that's the room. As I mentioned, when we first arrived, we were exhausted. It hadn't been that long since we finished flying all the way to the other side of the world (flight reports here, here, and here), and we had just finished traveling from Mauritius to Cape Town. We passed out quickly, but when I woke up the next morning, I saw another great feature of the room: the view! The picture below is clickable if you want the full-size image.
What a view! Cape Town really is a beautiful place, and Table Mountain (the plateau on the right) really defines the look and feel of the city as it is essentially built around the giant mountain. Note the fog rolling over the top of Table Mountain. Apparently locals call that the "table cloth" ;-).
On our first day, we woke up to start planning what to do in Cape Town so we hopped on the internet… Ah… The internet… The internet situation here was probably the most annoying internet connection I have ever used at a hotel. Most hotels will have you log in and buy internet, knocking it off your bill if you're an elite member. Some hotels will give you a passcode. Every place does it a little bit differently. The way this property does it is with these little note cards. Each note card has a code for internet access. Every code has a different rating for how long your internet connection lasts, how much data you're allocated, and what kinds of speeds you are given. Take a look at the pic below, for example.
Note the two cards specify different prices, different speed caps, and different data caps. So annoying! We have a multitude of devices (tablets, phones, computers, etc), and we had to get a card for each one of these devices. Depending on which employee we spoke to, some were hesitant to give us cards, some would give us a few, and there was no consistency in regard to which card we would get. Furthermore, their network doesn't remember your device so we actually had to re-type the code every time we logged on. It was cumbersome trying to figure out which device was using which card. I just don't see the point of this. They should just charge for internet like normal hotels do. We were able to get a bunch of these cards, and we got our free internet… so that's great, but we actually had to maintain a pad of paper with all the internet codes for each device, track which cards expired (too much data usage or a 1 day time limit), and then go get new cards. VERY ANNOYING! Okay. Rant about internet = over.
Changing gears, there is a club lounge at this Hilton, and while it won't blow your mind in terms of size or amount of offerings, we found it to be invaluable for our stay there. We'd hop down in the morning and get breakfast, and there was always a decent selection of food. They also had canned sodas so i could grab a couple and take them up to our fridge in the room for easy access. In the evening, there was happy hour with free hors d'oeuvres and alcoholic drinks. I wouldn't say that there was enough of a spread there to serve as a dinner substitute, but if you weren't super hungry, you could make it work for a night or two.
The gym, while small, was very clean and well kept. There were a selection of free weights, a couple treadmills, and a couple weight machines. It was a simple gym, but it did the job.
Putting the rock hard bed and the troublesome internet aside, we loved this hotel. It was a great hub for all of our Cape Town adventures! I have upcoming posts about many of these adventures :-).
As a final point, the concierge at this hotel was one of the most helpful concierges I have ever used. They helped us book a driver for our trip to Stellenbosch, they helped us rent a car, they helped us get a package of goods shipped back to the states, and they were extremely friendly. If you don't mind a hard mattress, I wholeheartedly recommend the Hilton Cape Town City Centre for your trip to Cape Town!