The Cape Town Hotel Scene: Dine in Style at the Mount Nelson Hotel
Our roving correspondent Monica Guy has recently blessed the rains down in Africa--South Africa--and is giving us the scoop this week on the Cape Town hotel scene. Have a question or a suggestion? Let us know and we'll do our best to answer it. Enjoy.
How the other half live. Or rather, not half, but the small minority of wealthy (almost all white) travellers who stay in the Mount Nelson Hotel, Cape Town's Grande Dame.
The drive up to the hotel entrance (a guard salutes you on the way in) is via a tree-lined road through their vast, landscaped grounds - smoother than most of Cape Town's main roads. A huge, white columned building, and inside, a marble-floored entrance hall complete with antique décor, oil paintings, stuffed animal heads and suited butlers.
We didn't stay overnight so we can't tell you more about the rooms. But we did try out the restaurant, however, which is allegedly the best in Cape Town for Cape Malay-style fine dining.
The Cape Colony restaurant is intimidating at first - a huge wide space filled with tables and decorated with odd multi-coloured statues resembling bunches of psychedelic grapes.
Waiters really know what they're talking about, or have at least learned the script in several different languages. Food is a mix of African-style Cape Malay cuisine (sweet curries, raisins, ginger spices) and traditional Afrikaans meals, including bobotie ( a kind of lasagne topped with scrambled egg).
Published room rates vary from R2640 ($344) to R7440 ($970) for a double room including full breakfast, depending on how posh you want to be while you sleep.
For South Africans it's not so cheap, but for foreigners with stronger currencies and a bit of padding in the pocket, it's great. If you can't afford to stay, at least splash out on dinner. But either way, keep the riff-raff away.