Hotel for vampires?

So when I was at the Design Indaba, I stayed at one of the many “boutique” hotels in Cape Town. It was in the upmarket suburb of Fresnaye. Convenient, stylish, but like much of the touristy side of Cape Town, once you scratch the veneer, there is substance lacking. My room looked swish enough – after all they have a 4 star rating – but on closer inspection, their lack of attention to basic detail was pitiful. Firstly, there was no mirror in the bathroom. Which hotel in the world does not have a mirror in the bathroom? You might complain that the lighting in most bathrooms is scary, but not to provide a mirror at all is just plain weird.

There was a mirror – a full length one – on the other side of the the bedroom, which means that, to shave, I would have had to run between the bathroom basin and the bedroom mirror. To add insult to injury, they didn’t provide soap. Even the crustiest  2 star hotels will give you (what resembles an old hockey puck) a hard, miserable piece of soap. This hotel provided all it’s guests with refillable, pump-action (toxic blue) shower gel and combination-shampoo/conditioner in the shower and a pump-action hand lotion at the basin. When I asked (and showed) the reception gal the lack of soap and mirror, she replied that that is what the guests got. It was only when I pointed out to her that I couldn’t wash my hands with said hand lotion that she saw the problem. Long story short, I had to run out and buy a bar of soap myself.

So much for 4 star service.

Final irony was that I was attending the Design Indaba, so design was uppermost in my mind. When I went to plug in my laptop at the desk, there were no plug points available – they were all hidden (and inaccessible) behind the mounted flat screen TV. I had to charge my laptop next to the bed, meaning I couldn’t use the desk to work on. Small detail, major design flaw.

The hotel was the Grande Kloof. The use of the word “Grande” instead of just “Grand” speaks volumes… and the Tourism grading Council of South Africa need to rethink their benchmarks.

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