The Taj Cape Town – A touch of India in the heart of Cape Town

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In the historic and cultural heart of Cape Town, across the beautiful Company’s Gardens, are two adjacent buildings with illustrious histories. Once housing the South African Reserve Bank and the Temple Chambers, both national monuments, they are now home to the grand Taj Cape Town hotel.  I recently stayed there on my brief sojourn to Cape Town. It is not often that one gets to stay in a national monument, let alone a former Reserve Bank, and this was a unique experience for me.

Taj Cape Town lobby

Lobby

After a quick check-in, I was shown to my luxury heritage room. The first thing that struck me when I entered the room was how spacious it was. The second was how beautifully it was bathed in the afternoon sunlight. And thirdly, the amazing view. I went directly to the balcony and saw Lion’s Head rising over the urban rooftops like a protective guardian and the Company’s Gardens like a forest beneath me.

Taj Cape Town

View from my room

Despite being in a building dating back to 1932, the rooms are ultra-modern and comfortable. In fact, the hotel blends old-world elegance with modern conveniences seamlessly.  There are 176 rooms of 11 different types, including an uber-exclusive Presidential suite. A huge bed, a velvet couch, a work station with a multi-media hub, and a mini-bar comprised our bedroom. The TV screen welcomed us, along with a letter from management, a bottle of sparkling red grape juice and a basket of fresh fruit.

Bedroom Taj Cape Town

Our Bedroom

At turndown, instead of a single chocolate on our pillows, we found a tiered platter of delicious sweet treats on the coffee table. Think decadent macaroons, chocolate-covered strawberries, date bars, and gourmet chocolates…

Taj Cape Town

Bedtime treats

In the bathroom, a tempting bath and pillow menu lay by the oversized bathtub. The bath menu offered pampering bath products which could be ordered for an in-room spa bath experience. The pillow menu had a range of pillow types. I was drawn to the aromatherapy pillow which was fragranced with essential aromatherapy oils. I requested it and it was brought it to my room. I promptly fell asleep on it to enjoy the best sleep I’d had in days.

Taj Cape Town

A beautiful place to work – if you have to

The Taj Cape Town has just won the award for the top 5-star hotel in South Africa in the 2016 Lilizela Awards. The hotel is owned by the prestigious Taj Hotels group, which gives it a touch of Indian inspiration. Headquartered in Mumbai, the group has built a reputation for restoring historic landmarks around the world over the past century.  The striking exterior façade of the original Reserve Bank building was inspired by the iconic Palazzo Pitti in Florence, (which I visited about two years ago).

Taj Cape Town

The Heritage Buildings making up the Taj Cape Town

The old banking hall of the Reserve Bank now serves as the opulent lounge area. A barrel-vaulted skylight dominates the hall. Many of the fixtures and fittings are the originals which have been beautifully restored, including the bank’s fluted marble columns.

Taj Cape Town lounge

Lounge area

Together with the elegant finishes in reds and golds, they create a glamorous atmosphere where guests can lounge, have meetings or partake in high tea in the afternoons. In keeping with the historic feel, there is a Cigar Lounge which serves fine cigars.

Taj Cape Town

High Tea

Greenmarket Square, the House of Parliament, St George’s Cathedral, The Slave Lodge and even the colourful Bo-Kaap area, which are all historically significant, are within a short walking distance from the hotel. We saw all of these and more on the hotel’s complimentary walking tour of the city. Charne, the hotel’s in-house tour guide, was an excellent ambassador for Cape Town and we learnt so much that we didn’t know before, despite having visited the city many times before. For those areas that are just a bit too far out to walk to – a complimentary shuttle service does round trips to Table Mountain and the V&A Waterfront.

Company Gardens

The Company’s Gardens est. in 1652

Breakfast at the in-house Mint Restaurant was a gastronomic feast. It was the first time I’d ever been offered masala dosas at breakfast, anywhere in the world.  I was delighted as it happens to be one of my favourite South Indian dishes. Also being served, was sushi, curry, a wide selection of pastries and a whole lot more. The all-day casual dining restaurant opens up onto the vibey St Georges Mall Street and guests have the option to eat indoors or outdoors where they can people-watch. Of course, the inviting ambience and aromas often tempts passers-by to come in for meals too.

Taj Cape Town Dosa

Masala Dosa

There are other dining options too. The Bombay Brasserie is a beautiful venue for authentic Indian cuisine fine-dining. It is based on its acclaimed namesake in London. The Twankey Bar serves a selection of seafood and coffees.

Bombay Brasserie TTaj

Bombay Brasserie

I got to see The Reserve, the hotel’s function venue and its hidden gem, the original walk-in vault, which also functions too. The bathroom floor at The Reserve has a unique floor, tiled with copper coins.

Taj Cape Town

Floor tiled with coins

The hotel also has a gym, a 15-metre heated indoor swimming pool and the Jiva Grande Spa which offers Indian inspired wellness treatments and experiences. I didn’t get to try these out on this trip, due to lack of time. but I’m already looking forward to my next visit.

Taj Cape Town gym

Fitness Centre

Somehow I left my husband’s jersey behind at the hotel when leaving. I only realised this late at night long after I had checked out of the hotel. I had no time to collect it, as I had to be at the Blue Train station early the next morning. I took a chance and emailed the hotel asking them to deliver it to the station the following morning. I had just arrived there when the hotel’s shuttle service delivered it with perfect timing. Five-star service combined with five-star accommodation. It is no surprise then that The Taj Cape Town has just won the award for the top 5-star hotel in South Africa in the 2016 Lilizela Awards.

For more information, go to Taj Cape Town or book here.

Disclosure Level: 7

Mint - The Taj Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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20 comments
Hung Billick

I love it when people come together and share opinions, great blog, keep it up.

Reply
yolleen

i totally agree, its one of the more exquisite hotels that I have been to, and I love their personal touch. It really feels like an opulent spoil.

Reply
Kristina

This looks so amazing! The food seems to be divine and the hotel is gorgeous! What a wonderful place to stay.

Reply
    Sara

    Thanks Kristina. I’m sure you would really enjoy staying here.

    Reply
Anita

It looks absolutely Grand. It still has some feel of the Bank. Loved detailed description and beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing!

Reply
    Sara

    Thanks Anita. You’re right. It is really grand and still has some of the feel of the Bank.

    Reply
Emma

Cape Town has always been near the top of my bucket list! I need to take a trip there soon – would love to see the view from the top of Table Mountain!

Reply
    Sara

    The view from Table Mountain is absolutely amazing, Emma. I hope you get to visit Cape Town soon.

    Reply
Johna

Looks like such an amazing place to stay at. Im sure it was super memorable for you. Lovely photos btw ???

Reply
    Sara

    Thanks Johna. It really was a memorable stay and I enjoyed it.

    Reply
The Travel Captain

I love the Taj brand and I’m a hotel aficionado. They always seamlessly combine modern with lush eastern decor and luxury.

Reply
    Sara

    Thanks The Travel Captain. You’ve captured the Taj Brand perfectly. Although I’ve visited their hotels in Mumbai and New Delhi, it was the first time I’d stayed in one.

    Reply
Katelyn Thomas

What a gorgeous hotel! The food looks amazing, too. I bet you’ll never forget your stay here!

Reply
    Sara

    Thanks Katelyn. The hotel is beautiful and the food was really good. I definitely won’t forget my stay here.

    Reply
Asdghik Melkonian

Wow what an amazing place to stay! I will keep it in mind when I go to Cape Town!

Reply
    Sara

    Thanks Asdghik. You should definitely consider this hotel when you visit Cape Town.

    Reply
Jurga - Full Suitcase

Looks like a great choice for a stay in Cape Town! I love the view from your room!

Reply
    Sara

    The view was wonderful Jurga. You should definitely consider this hotel when you come to Cape Town again.

    Reply
Brigitte

This looks like an absolutely wonderful place to stay, especially with the extra service they offer to make your stay perfect!! If only I were a bit richer… 😀

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