I've stayed here half a dozen times in the last 4 years and always had a pleasant stay.
This time, I'd emailed ahead to say that I was disappointed at never being recognised as a returning guest. So when I got there, I was greeted like royalty. The manager came out to meet me, the front desk was superb and not only did I get a room upgrade, there were a few little treats waiting for me in my room. It really was a remarkable welcome.
Unfortunately, it kind of went downhill from there, certainly from a service perspective. Irrespective of time of day, or restaurant or bar, service was very slow and lacking. There seemed to be more people in suits than serving. During breakfast, you are offered tea or coffee, this seems to take an age to arrive - more often than not, it is a separate trip to bring milk and we had times where it was a 3 time effort if you wanted sugar :). Needless to say that your morning tea was cold before you could sweeten it.
Dinner in Mint ranged from OK to fiasco. The first time we ate in there we were told it was not halal so my colleague ordered a veg dish (which was pretty bland). The second time we were told it was definitely halal. Being sceptical we double checked with one of the guys in suits, it was comical as when the question 'is the food halal' the waiter vehemently nodded his head and the manager shook his and said no. Eventually, the guy in the suit suggested getting the chef out to confirm - she came out and confirmed it was 'halal friendly'. But you wouldn't think it was such a difficult question.
One night I had ribs and there weren't any napkins or serviettes. Not being the easiest of foods to eat, I was somewhat messy - they were most apologetic but said there was nothing they could do - they did (after persuasion) bring me a finger bowl but nothing to dry them on.
The food was actually good quality but often had to be sent back as either the order was mixed up or the meat wasn't cooked as requested. As we were there for 3 weeks we did eat here a few times. There were 6 of us in total and orders were a lot more accurate if we went in twos.
Bombay Brasserie was very good. Even though I preferred Bukhara (which is just around the corner), I would recommend BB for a fine dining experience. Twankeys is also good.
Service in the main bar was slightly better than in the Cigar Lounge - which to be honest, isn't a very high bar to compare against. Often we waited 20 minutes for someone to take our order and then up to 20 minutes for the drinks to arrive. The hot chocolate is wonderful but it takes so long, sometimes you would get a biscuit, sometimes nuts - all very hit and miss.
Cleaning in the room was similarly hit and miss. Sometimes I had 3 towels, usually two and occasionally just one. Face cloths fluctuated between 2 and 0. Sometimes it was cleaned to military precision and other days It was barely touched. The mini bar often remained unstocked and water for teeth in the bathroom was forgotten about every other day. I did try to do my bit to help with the water shortage but most of the time, even though my towels were hung up, they were replaced with fresh ones.
I do need to point out though - there were times when I received outstanding (mind blowing) service but on this visit, it was the exception rather than the norm. But it does show that it's still possible :)
The room itself was gorgeous and very comfortable. This time I had a balcony which overlooked Table Mountain. It was glorious to stand out and drink in the view. Even though the bath called my name every night, I managed to think of the water shortage and resisted but the rain shower was fantastic in a morning to wake up a sleepy head.
The hotel itself is very beautiful, and you do feel like you're staying somewhere special. The front desk service has really improved and they are friendly and efficient.
I love the park. Just across the road (Company Gardens) - it"s great for some quiet moments of reflection or just having fun feeding the squirrels and the ducks.
We used the hotel shuttle bus which was efficient and informative (and free).
I was most disappointed at check out - I had a team of 6 with me and I wanted to buy them all a little leather credit card wallet (I have one that says Taj on it and it was highly coveted). As this was a surprise I waited until the team had left and got in the airport car, assuming it would be a 2 minute job. 20 minutes later they were still looking for someone with a key to open the shop. I told them to forget it and left.
I'm sorry that my very last moments in the Taj were filled with utter frustration and disappointment, I ended up stomping out to the car muttering, never again. I don't think this is true though. The Taj has a great location for my work and their service might just be a blip (a three week blip) and to be fair - even though at times it is exceptionally slow and sometimes confused, it is always polite and friendly. Although, I don't think I will insist on staying at the Taj in future, I won't rule it out.
We are planning a family holiday to Cape Town and I doubt the Taj will be my first choice but it might end up on my shortlist :)
The majority of these frustrations can and should be fixed quickly and easily.
All said and done, I have no doubt you will always enjoy your stay at the Taj.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Taj Cape Town welcomes guests to the vibrant heart of the one of the world's most scenic and desirable cities, Cape Town. The hotel is a combination of rich history and elegant contemporary architectures. Originally home of the South African Reserve Bank and Temple Chambers and later the Board of Executors (BOE), it successfully combines the heritage of the old with the luxury of the new - a 100 years in history! This luxury hotel is perfectly located in the centre of historic Cape Town at the entrance of the famous pedestrian precinct, St George's Mall. It's prime location ensures a blend of fascinating history, exotic culture, soulful art, lively entertainment and delectable cuisine. - Within walking distance to most tourist attractions, monuments, museums, shopping, restaurants, markets and nightlife. Adding to this grand yet welcoming atmosphere are the two dining experiences, the Indian fine dine specialty restaurant, Bombay Brasserie and Mint, a relaxed all-day dining restaurant. Both are warm and welcoming and serve outstanding cuisine. Alongside this you'll find wonderful Champagne and tapas bar known as The Twankey Bar which is exceedingly popular with both locals and guests alike. Rooms are located in both the heritage buildings and the contemporary tower wing, but all continue to seamlessly merge history and modernity. Luxury Rooms have spectacular city or breathtaking mountain views overlooking the famous Table Mountain and the Taj Club Rooms and suites offer all the benefits of the executive Club Lounge including butler service, evening canapes, cocktails and private breakfast. One and Two Bedroom Suites are also available, perfect for the discerning traveller or for families. The award winning Jiva Grande Spa is one of its kind in Africa with unique and authentic wellness treatments and experiences. Also on offer is complimentary use of all wet areas, heated pool, and a high tech gymnasium. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Taj Cape Town Hotel Cape Town Central