A towering monolith that shadows the convention centre just off the Cape Town highways, the Westin hotel is a stalwart for business travellers – and leisure in peak seasons – to the Mother City.
We got a sneak peek at what it takes to make this a premier hotel for those with busy schedules, and in a thirsty city like Cape Town, it’s become vital for the hospitality industry to become more water-wise - and Westin's got its head in the game.
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An island surrounded by seawater
The hotel was technically built on an island of reclaimed land surrounded by ocean, and have had to pump 1.2 million litres of seawater out of its basement levels. Now, instead of the water being discarded, this water is being diverted to its new desalination plant.
Construction was completed at the beginning of this year, and is now in a testing phase. Once operational, the plant is expected to produce 400 000 litres of water, saving the hotel around 40 million litres of municipal water a year.
And Westin isn’t keeping the water all to itself – it will also be supplying water to two other nearby hotels – Tsogo Sun Waterfront and the Cullinan.
According to the hotel’s chief engineer Andrew Gartshore, the Westin would be able to run off the grid instantly if water and electricity were cut suddenly with this new plant alongside its generators.
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A secret urban garden
From the depths of the hotel we wound ourselves to the tippy top, where a secret garden surprises you after walking through a narrow door in the wall.
The vertical garden filled with herbs like stevia and pineapple mint for food and cocktails, flourishing alongside edible flowers that the hotel’s restaurant uses for desserts.
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Further up we found ourselves on the top of the roof, with an almost 360 degrees view of Cape Town’s city centre – a wasted view that could have made for a stunning rooftop bar and pool area, but instead can for now only be enjoyed by those with behind-the-scenes access.
A facelift for the modern era
The Westin didn't only beautify their insides – they have started on a grand décor redesign of their executive suites and grand deluxe guestrooms to ‘get with the times’.
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An older room before the facelift. (Photo: Gabi Zietsman)
The refurbishment started in March last year on a floor-by-floor basis, and 220 rooms will be done by mid-October later this year.
Golden touches, chic tropical prints and dark accents create a relaxing atmosphere for the busy modern traveller, where they can recharge after a long day.
They have also opened the new swanky Westin Club - a dedicated lounge designed to inspire, enrich and enhance the executive club guest experience. They have all kinds of coffee and snacks available – and even their very own specially mixed tea.
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The ostentatious Presidential Suite – with a price tag of R40 000 a night – also had a flashy makeover with state-of-the-art curved TVs, a full kitchen and a luxurious bath and sauna that looks out on Cape Town’s best side.
The bedroom in the Presidential Suite. (Photo: The Westin Cape Town)
And we’ll tell you a secret – a princess has stayed here since the makeover for a month, but that’s all we know (but we have our suspicions).
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