“ Cnr. Main & Camberwell Roads / Sea Point P.O. Box 27224 / Rhine Road / 8050 South Africa „
As part of my recent holiday in South Africa, I stayed twice in Cape Town and the hotel chosen by my tour operator was the Ritz. I was quite excited at first, until I realised that there is no connection to the Ritz-Carlton chain of hotels. This is a three star hotel and is part of the African Sky group.
The hotel is located walking distance from the beach front and a short cab ride (40 Rand) to the V & A Waterfront. It is also a short cab ride to the business district. The hotel is tall - 22 floors with a revolving restaurant at the top.
The reception area is large and well-lit but fairly non-descript, as these places often are. Even though we had arrived prior to official check in time (2pm) we managed to get our rooms. My first room was 1111, a twin room (I was sharing) on a corner, with floor to ceiling windows across two walls. Décor style was contemporary and the room seemed in good decorative order with a desk/mirror, wardrobe with safe, two beds with plenty of pillows. There was a TV and air conditioning unit, as well as tea and coffee making facilities. The windows offered fantastic views at this height.
There was also floor to ceiling windows along one wall in the bathroom - covered with nets - but the bathroom looked slightly more tired with some marks on the walls. It had a shower over the bath, lavatory and sink. There were enough towels for us both as well as a bath mat. Toiletries were 'Botanics' and consisted of a hand soap and small bottles of shower/bath gel and conditioning shampoo. I used the products on my return visit and found them acceptable but the shampoo didn't give a good lather.
On my return I had a single room on the fourth floor, containing a double bed and similar furnishings as before. Again the bathroom looked tired - the external bath panel lit up and looked like it needed a good clean, there was only one tea bag (no milk) and the safe was already locked. Strangely I was not the only one in our party who was disappointed with their second room, some had ones with no toiletries or without working lights or safes. The hotel was also a lot busier (not that this should be an excuse) and some of us were disturbed by other guests. The return visit was on a Monday (as opposed to a weekend previously) so there were quite a few student groups and possibly some conferences.
On the first floor they have a café-bar called Biar-Ritz, and the main restaurant. I only used this for breakfast, but it also serves buffet lunches and dinner. The selection was good - assorted fruit juices, fruit salads (changed every day), cereals, a cooked breakfast (bacon, fried potatoes, eggs, mushrooms etc), toast, cold meats and cheese. The servers bring coffee around (tea if requested) but you often have to wait a while for this. The top floor restaurant revolves and I am disappointed that I didn't get a chance to visit it. The menu was in the lift and it seemed both extensive and reasonably priced - similar to other mid-range restaurants in the city.
The hotel also offers a pool area on the first floor by the restaurant, sadly it was too cold to use as we were there in winter, but it was well maintained and I often saw staff cleaning it and generally keeping the area tidy. There is also conference and business facilities although I had no cause to use them. I understand that internet access it quite expensive, but there are several internet cafés on the nearby Main Road along with a few supermarkets. They have a travel desk to book tours if you are so inclined.
If it wasn't for that second stay, and some of the niggles we all had in the rooms, I would have given this hotel 4 stars without a doubt, and would have been delighted to recommend it. After the return visit I have had to knock a star off and recommend it hestitatingly.
My stay was included in my holiday cost, but they advertised a room rate at the front of the hotel of 550 ZAR per night (GBP £48/US$79).