HOTEL REVIEW | Darrin Henry
Hotel and destination reviews from tourists and fellow bloggers have played a big part in our current travel adventure planning. Mostly they have been extremely helpful, so we’ve decided to include our own assessments of certain places. Here is our first review; it’s of the Cape Town Lodge Hotel, in Cape Town, South Africa.
We’ve used a simple 1 to 10 points system for the different aspects of the hotel; 1 being poor, 10 being excellent.
Location – 8/10
A major reason for choosing the Cape Town Lodge Hotel was its proximity to central Cape Town. It took us about two minutes to walk down to Long Street and from there everything else was in easy walking reach, avoiding taxi fees. Only the V&A Waterfront was a bit of a trek (which we did do one day) but otherwise a taxi cost R50 one way.
The Room – 8/10
We were generally very pleased with our room. Importantly it was spacious, and the bedding and furnishings were all good quality, and very clean.
A room safe was provided for valuables, useful for locking away travel documents, passports, cash etc. Not quite wide enough to take a laptop to give an idea of size.
The tiny refrigerator was crammed with a mini-bar selection, which we didn’t use. This made it difficult squeezing in some of our own items such as bottled water, fruit and milk. We didn’t dare remove the mini-bar items temporarily for fear of being charged!
A few things that could have been better with regards the room:
The air conditioner was powerful and cooled the room quickly, but quite noisy. If we turned it off the room soon became warm.
Worst thing was the shower water temperature, unpredictable and swung between hot and cold throughout. The water pipe system in general on the floor was noisy, clanking loudly. Towels were clean but quite thin.
TV, large flat screen but channels limited and a few of the movies seemed to be on constant repeat throughout our week.
A few little issues, but nothing too difficult to survive. Importantly, we were very comfortable and slept well.
Hotel Staff – 7/10
This mark dropped because of our checking out experience. We were billed for parking although we never had a car and this took perhaps 20 mins to sort out. Customer service in resolving the matter could have been better considering it was a hotel error and there was no apology for the mistake.
Otherwise, other interaction and service from the hotel staff was fine. The house keeping team in particular were helpful.
Internet and Wi-Fi – 6/10
Most people today rely on good internet when travelling. As photographers this was a major requirement for us; daily maintenance of our blog and social media sites, plus normal communications. Most of the hotels we looked at in Cape Town had small internet charges, only a few were free. CLH offered a complimentary 500MB Wi-Fi voucher on check in which we used sparingly and was almost sufficient for the 7 days. When requesting a second voucher, expecting to pay R34 for 100MB, (or R150 for 500MB) we were pleasantly surprised to learn we qualified for a second free, 500MB voucher. Brilliant! I did ask why, but couldn’t quite understand the explanation and decided not to pursue the matter in case I was talking myself out of it!
The Wi-Fi strength in our room on the eighth floor was very good and the speed was also quite fast. No complaints. There was also an internet café facility on our floor for guests without internet devices.
Really though, it would be good if hotels made Wi-Fi a standard included facility.
Breakfast – 7/10
Difficult one to assess as we only had breakfast in the hotel once. My only disappointment was price: R120 each which on our bill converted to £7.87 each. In comparison, lunch out at a good Waterfront restaurant cost on average about R100. One of the attractions of Cape Town is the choice and value when it comes to eating out.
That said breakfast itself was good. A buffet style service in a very smart dining room available each morning. The food range was extensive, well prepared and presented. Coffee was served by attentive waiters who were quick with refills. Unusually, there was a live piano player performing throughout.
Décor – 8/10
Overall the hotel was quite smart, stylish and well maintained. The reception area was spacious compared to a few others we’ve seen in Cape Town and very comfortable seating when waiting around for taxis or slow partners!
Facilities – 7/10
There was a pool on the roof which we didn’t use, but looked quite appealing.
Other facilities we didn’t use was the gym and the hotel restaurant.
Staff were always around on the ground floor and reception area and the whole building felt safe and secure. Other hotel guests always seemed quite relaxed and happy to say hello in the hotel.
Just a few small issues:
The two lifts were a bit slow. It felt like forever up and down from the eighth floor.
The front door of the hotel was locked early in the evenings, some time before 8pm. This meant using the parking garage entrance which was a little inconvenient.
The hotel transportation services were a tad expensive. We found it cheaper to use a taxi, either for a trip (one way) to the Waterfront, R50, or the airport, R250. Hotel rates were R80 and R325 respectively.
Booking & communications – 8/10
We booked online via Expedia. Quick, easy; no problems. However, hotel facilities information regarding Wi-Fi on Expedia was a tad misleading, quoting R35 for Wi-Fi but not mentioning this was only for 100MB. The information was made clear on the CLH’s own website, but it is worth checking these details in advance.
Beforehand I contacted the hotel several times by email to check on certain facilities and prices and all questions were answered within 24 hours.
Reception was always manned in the hotel and even when a group were checking in or out, we never had to wait long for attention.
There were loads of pamphlets in reception for tourist attractions around Cape Town.
Value for money – 7/10
We paid, £568.72 for 7 nights, or average of £81.24 per night.
Overall, very pleased with the Cape Lodge Hotel, it ticks all the right boxes: location, booking, communications, internet, facilities, safe and clean. A few small issues as mentioned for the sake of the review, but nothing major. If your priority is access to the V&A Waterfront, there are closer options. However, for walking access to the main city of Cape Town, we would certainly recommend this hotel. You will get cheaper rates the earlier you book.