Radisson Blu: When five star means five star

2017-08-06 00:00 - Charl Blignaut
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Radisson Blu
V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Four stars

It was with a heavy heart that we said goodbye to Laetitia on our last day in heaven. What would become of our mornings without her cheerful, warm greeting and conversation? Without the perfect, rich coffee and the delicious, lemony, delicate eggs Benedict as we gazed at the ocean? And Naydene at reception. How must we carry on without her?

I’ve stayed in many five-star hotels during the course of writing travel stories. The Radisson Blu on the Cape Town Waterfront confirms that most of them were not being entirely honest with me – they were four stars dressed up as five.

The Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront is the real deal. And it has as much to do with the attention to detail, the innovative and often healthy menu (the vegetarian potstickers are everything, friends) and the impeccable facilities as it does with the thoughtfulness of the staff.

And they deserve an extra star for not beating visitors over the head with ostentatious African decor and opting instead for a simple nautical theme, which traps light and spins it off to areas of see-through glass. It all feels transparent yet discreet.

On cold nights, we return to the hotel and there’s a hot chocolate stand with Willy Wonka-level accessories waiting to warm us up. You literally lose yourself in the giant, cosy bed and are greeted by the sound of the sea washing against the rocks when you open the balcony door.

You guiltily forget that you are staying in the belly of the colony, the gentrified and overdeveloped stretch of faux shore that lures tourists to the city.

Cape Town is in the grip of drought and severe water restrictions are in place. How does a luxury hotel deal with international guests who are intent on guzzling water by enjoying long, hot baths?

In the foyer is a display of blue drinking water bottles stacked on two tables – one indicates how much is needed for a bath and the another shows how little is needed for a shower. It’s messaging that instantly springs to mind when you get to the bathroom and the plug has been replaced by a kiddies play plug that doesn’t work, so you can’t take a bath.

It’s the same with smoking – a habit clearly not encouraged. But when you’re directed to the smoking area, you’re compensated at once. It’s situated on a pier with a view of the ocean and the kelp bobbing in the waves like a million little sea creatures.

Back in the office, I am sitting here searching my memory for anything that we found disagreeable about the Radisson. But, soz, there’s nothing. Our two-night visit was so relaxing, it felt like a week.

  • Blignaut was a guest of Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront. Prices start at R2 400 per person per night. The business-class suite Blignaut stayed in costs R4 570 per night for the room and includes breakfast
  • Visit radissonblu.com/en/hotel-capetown for more info and bookings

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