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Introduction: Star Alliance To South Africa
Review: Four Points By Sheraton Vancouver Airport
Review: Air Canada Domestic Maple Leaf Lounge Vancouver Airport
Review: Air Canada Business Class 787 Vancouver To Toronto
Review: Air Canada International Maple Leaf Lounge Toronto Airport
Review: Air Canada Business Class 787 Toronto To Frankfurt
Review: South African Airways Business Class A340 Frankfurt To Johannesburg
Review: South African Airways Domestic Lounge Johannesburg Airport
Review: South African Airways Business Class A319 Johannesburg To Cape Town
Review: Westin Cape Town
Review: South African Airways Lounge Cape Town Airport
Review: South African Airways Business Class A340 Cape Town To Johannesburg
Review: South African Airways International Lounge Johannesburg Airport
Review: Mashonzha Lounge Johannesburg Airport
Review: South African Airways Business Class A330 Johannesburg To London
Review: Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge London Heathrow Airport
Review: Air Canada Business Class 777 London Heathrow To Toronto
Review: Air Canada Domestic Maple Leaf Lounge Toronto Airport
Review: Westin Wall Centre Vancouver Airport
For those of us looking to redeem points, Cape Town is a fairly restrictive hotel market. My preferred chains are Hyatt and Starwood. Hyatt doesn’t have a property in Cape Town, while Starwood has only one property, which is the Westin.
So that’s what I decided to book, given that the rates were decent. The nightly rate was 3,300ZAR, which is ~210USD.
However, I used the fourth night free hotel benefit available through my Citi Prestige® Card, which brought the average nightly rate down to ~160USD. Add in the fact that I was earning double elite qualifying nights and that this stay qualified for Starwood’s current promotion, and this was a no brainer.
As a point of comparison, this is a Category 4 Starwood property, meaning a free night redemption would have cost 10,000 Starpoints, or a Cash & Points booking would have cost 5,000 Starpoints plus $75. Given that I value Starpoints at 2.2 cents each, paying cash seemed like the best value.
I took a taxi from the airport to the Westin, which took about 20 minutes, and cost ~250ZAR (~$16), which as a relative matter I found to be quite expensive, given how cheap Cape Town was otherwise.
The hotel is next to the Cape Town International Convention Center, which in theory isn’t ideal as a tourist, though I’ll talk more about the location in a bit.
The exterior of the hotel is modern, with lots of glass.
The lobby is spacious and modern as well, with a long entryway leading to the restaurant, or else you can turn left right towards reception.
I was greeted upon arriving at reception, and was able to check-in right away, despite the fact that it was well before the hotel’s check-in time. The friendly associate explained I had been upgraded to a junior suite on account of my Platinum status, that I was entitled to lounge access, etc.
I took the elevator up to the 15th floor, where my room was located. Each floor has a sliding glass door between the elevators and the rooms, so you have to insert your key in order to enter the hallway.
My room, 1501, was located at the far end of the hallway after turning left.
The junior suite is advertised as being 592 square feet. Upon entering the room, the bathroom was located to the right, and then the rest of the room immediately ahead.
The living room was spacious and well designed, with a couch and chair facing the wall mounted flat screen TV.
In the far corner of the room was a table with two chairs, right next to a phone and a printer.
Since this was a junior suite, there weren’t actually two separate rooms, but rather there was simply a console between the living area and sleeping area, with flat screen TVs on both sides.
The room featured a comfortable king size bed, though it didn’t seem to be quite as soft as the Heavenly Beds I’m used to at Westin properties.
In the far corner of the bedroom area were a couple of closets, as well as the in-room safe (which I used for the first time).
On the far end of that console was the minibar, which featured quite the selection of candy bars.
Next to that was the in-room coffee machine, as well as a variety of tea.
Across from that was a trouser press, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen in a hotel room before.
The bathroom was back near the entrance, and featured double sinks, a tub, a partitioned off toilet, and a walk-in shower.
The tub wasn’t especially deep, though otherwise looked fine (I never used it).
The shower was brand standard for a Westin, which is to say that it had a rainforest showerhead, as well as a handheld one. The water pressure and temperature control were excellent.
As you’d expect, toiletries were the Westin brand standard ones.
The room featured incredible views, both of Cape Town as such, as well as of Table Mountain in the background. Stunning!
In the other direction the room faced towards the convention center, and then in the distance, the waterfront.
Shortly after arriving in my room I was brought a welcome amenity consisting of many of my favorite things, including sparkling water, sauvignon blanc, fresh fruit, nuts, etc. I sure do love my Starwood Ambassador!
There are a couple of other things I should note about the room.
First of all, my biggest concern prior to this stay was the wifi. Based on what I had heard, the hotel has horrible wifi, to the point that it’s almost unusable. That wasn’t my experience, and I found it to be perfectly acceptable. No, it wasn’t the fastest wifi I ever had, but I had no complaints at all, and I rely on wifi to function.
Second of all, the hotel’s glass windows “crackle” all day. I know this sounds weird, but it’s true. Apparently it’s because the hotel’s facade is constructed of glass, so the structure expands and retracts due to temperature changes. If you’re a light sleeper, this could be enough to prevent you from sleeping during the day. The window just makes a loud popping noise every so often.
As a club guest at this hotel you can choose to have breakfast either in the hotel’s restaurant or in the club lounge. I had breakfast at both venues.
The restaurant breakfast is served at THIRTY7, located just off the hotel’s lobby. Breakfast is served daily there from 6:30AM until 11AM. It’s a beautiful space, and I was there early enough in the morning the first day to be among the only guests.
The buffet spread was fantastic. The variety was top notch, the quality was excellent, and there just seemed to be a lot of effort put into the presentation, which I certainly appreciate. Furthermore, service in the restaurant was excellent, with frequent coffee refills, and plates quickly being cleared.
I’ll let the pictures of the buffet speak for themselves.
The hotel’s executive lounge is located on the 19th floor, and is a beautiful space as well. In terms of the venue, perhaps the big advantage is that the 19th floor has great views of Table Mountain and the city, while the ground floor restaurant doesn’t have any views.
In 99% of instances I’d choose to have restaurant breakfast over club lounge breakfast, but this hotel was an exception. The lounge served breakfast from 6:30AM until 10:30AM.
While the buffet spread wasn’t as big, the quality was excellent.
While some hotels will let you order an omelet or something in a club lounge, this one has a full breakfast menu, which you can order from to supplement the buffet. The breakfast menu read as follows:
One morning I ordered the sweet corn and channa drop scones. I had no clue what to expect, but found it to be delicious.
But the highlight was the stem broccoli and egg white souffle, which was spectacular.
So while the breakfast buffet downstairs was more extensive, I preferred the better views, more personalized service, and menu options available in the club lounge.
While the club lounge impressed in terms of the breakfast spread, it left me confused otherwise. The hotel technically served canapés from 5PM until 7PM nightly. In reality that consisted of your choice of alcoholic drinks, plus chips, olives, and then a very small plate of canapés.
Other than that, the club lounge more or less operated as a restaurant. They’d present you with a menu, and then you could order what you wanted when you wanted, with catering from the hotel’s restaurant. Items were very reasonably priced, and the food quality was excellent.
Here’s the menu, for what it’s worth (1USD=15ZAR):
One night I had the curry dish, which was exceptional, and very reasonably priced, at ~$9.
Still, I found the concept confusing, and feel like they should have done a better job describing what guests should expect. For example, I assumed all drinks were free, but with the evening hour got charged when I ordered a cappuccino.
The next day I went into the lounge during the day to work for a bit, and I just ordered a coffee and a water. Oddly the coffee was free, while I was charged for the water.
Ultimately it wasn’t expensive so it wasn’t a big deal, but I just like understanding the concept offered, and after four days I still don’t get what exactly their system is.
I was on a terrible sleep schedule this trip due to jetlag, so also once had dinner via room service. Prices were extremely reasonable, which I found to be true across the board in Cape Town, likely strengthened by the weakness of the ZAR and strength of the USD.
The spa was also located on the 19th floor, just past the club lounge. I didn’t have a chance to get a treatment, though prices were very reasonable, with hourlong massages costing $30-40.
I did use the 24/7 gym once, which is located in the back left of the spa. It’s a fairly small gym, though wasn’t crowded when I used it.
It featured great views of the waterfront in Cape Town.
The hotel also has a pool on the second floor, though it was closed for renovation during my stay.
As I mentioned above, the hotel’s location is convenient to the convention center, though otherwise there’s not much in the immediate area if you’re looking to walk around. The area you really want to walk around in Cape Town is the waterfront, so the hotel has a free shuttle which takes you there every 30 minutes (it leaves at :00 and :30 from the hotel, and at :15 and :45 from the waterfront). The drive only takes 10 minutes, and the service is well organized.
Would I rather be in a hotel where I can walk out the door and be at the waterfront? Absolutely. At the same time, a frequent shuttle which takes just 10 minutes is a small price to pay to rack up points and get the perks of hotel elite status, at least in my situation.
Westin Cape Town bottom line
I was very pleased with the Westin Cape Town, and thought it represented an excellent value as an SPG Platinum member.
I got a great room upgrade, the service was consistently attentive and friendly, the club lounge was a beautiful space, the breakfast was excellent, and I earned points.
The hotel certainly does have a few drawbacks, like a non-ideal location, windows which make a weird crackling noise during the day, and an odd club lounge setup in the evening, but those are all relatively minor things.
I might try another hotel next time I go to Cape Town just for the purposes of reviewing something else, but I’d certainly recommend this hotel to any SPG loyalist traveling to Cape Town. It’s a great option.