STAY: The Ritz

In it's heyday, Sea Point enjoyed the glamour now associated with the neighbouring beaches of Camps or Bantry Bay, and at its centre was the statuesque Ritz Hotel, which was a beacon of luxury along the promenade.
But after the influx of prostitutes and drug users in the late ’80s, which brought a younger and less desirable clientele to the iconic establishment, the area underwent a seedy phase, which also saw the once ostentatious Ritz undergo a decline. Fast-forward a couple of decades and The Ritz is set to once again be a dazzling attraction along the Atlantic seaboard.

The Ritz Hotel over Sea Point Promenade
Image: Supplied The Ritz Hotel over Sea Point Promenade

The hotel has undergone a R120-million reconstruction, having been gutted from the inside to make way for new walls, flooring, water piping, electric wiring, and air conditioning. The Ritz, now owned and managed by Shimmy Luxury Collection (SLC), is set to be the place to be in Cape Town’s thriving hospitality hub.

For Nicky van der Walt, the co-founder and CEO of SLC, this is a dream come true. “Since I was a child I always wanted to be a hotelier,” he says. Van der Walt is also the owner of luxury ventures Shimmy Beach Club and Bloemendal Wine Estate, and the Ritz follows on from these, with design-driven, accessible luxury.

From the minute guests arrive, the hotel will announce its decadence with porte cochère lighting, while its 3mx8m shimmering sign will add a bit of Vegas-like glamour to the building. Upon stepping into the 212-room establishment, guests will be greeted by a white marble reception area, with gold inlay design. Golden palm trees will reach up into the open-plan restaurant Casa, which will be situated on the first floor.

The tropical theme will extend into the 340-seater restaurant, with its green and white décor, including bucket chairs that were upholstered using 5 000m of green velvet. Residents of the hotel will have a range of rooms from which to choose, ranging from city rooms from the second to the fifth floor, to the deluxe luxury suites, sky villas, and penthouses that enjoy a better view higher up in the establishment.

The rooms — designed by Kirsten Di Clemente from Di Clemente Interiors in collaboration with Zander van Niekerk from Create Luxury, and with input from van der Walt himself — are a surprise, departing from the typical starchy white employed by most hotels. The rooms are mostly black, mixing modern fitting, such as carefully concealed LED lights, low-hanging light fixtures, and velvety headboards. The marble tops add a classic touch, with fashion lovers set to be thrilled by the black lacquer wardrobes that open up to reveal a bright red interior, inspired by Christian Louboutin shoes. Despite their smoky, Tom Ford-inspired interiors, the rooms feel spacious and light, thanks to the breathtaking vistas of the Atlantic Seaboard.

Each room will pay homage to Sea Point, with black- and-white images of the promenade decorating the walls. As part of the guest experience, van der Walt says there will be “some quirky but interesting things”, including a dedicated champagne button in each room for guests looking to toast the good life at any hour of the day.

Undoubtedly the crown in the jewel is the Top of The Ritz, the only revolving restaurant in the country, which will offer spectacular 360° views of Cape Town, stretching right across to Blouberg. The show kitchen in the middle will be manned by renowned chef Bertus Basson, and will offer an eight-course set menu.

The floor immediately below will host cognac and cigar lovers, with lovers of champagne enjoying a luxury bar that leads out onto the pool deck — where guests can book individual cabanas while taking in all that the Atlantic Seaboard view has to offer. The Ritz is due to open its doors on March 1.

Image: Supplied

SEE: Cape Town Art Fair

Art lovers will be spoilt for choice at the fifth annual Cape Town art festival. It’s arguably the largest showcase of top contemporary art on the continent, and this year’s exhibition, which is curated by South African-born Tumelo Mosaka, will see the usual fusion of local and international art.

The fair, which takes place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from February 17 to 19, will host 75 exhibitors, from cities including London, Madrid, Paris, Milan, Nairobi, Accra, and Dubai.

One of this year’s highlights will no doubt be the presence of Massimo Minini of world-famous Galleria Massimo Minini. Other galleries include the Stevenson Cape Town; Johannesburg), Goodman Gallery (Cape Town; Johannesburg), Galerie Cecile Fakhoury (Abidjan, Ivory Coast), and, beyond the continent, Primo Marella Gallery (Milan), British galleries Tiwani Contemporary, October Gallery, Tafeta, and Art First, all from London; as well as Galerie Caroline Smulders (Paris, France) and Sabrina Amrani (Madrid, Spain).

Another first will be the Unframed special project, which will see large-scale installations and sculptures taking up residence across the fair floor. Popular Gallery Momo artist Mary Sibande, as well as Everard Read artists Liza Grobler, Katharien de Villiers, and Michael Linders, will form part of the interactive display.

The fair will also feature talks, guided walkabouts, a digital media platform, and outdoor activations in the nearby V&A Waterfront precinct. capetownartfair.co.za

Onyis Martin - 347 (Talking Walls)
Image: Supplied Onyis Martin - 347 (Talking Walls)

EAT: Life Grande Cafe

Sitting at the Life Grand Café at the water’s edge at the V&A Waterfront, one is immediately transported to the Mediterranean by the restaurant’s mixture of Greek-inspired decor and Mediterranean menu.

The eatery — which is part of the Life Group, comprising five cafés popular for their delectable food — has taken up residence at one of the oldest harbour buildings in Cape Town. The free-standing 1902 heritage building, which was previously home to the Hildebrand Restaurant and Alba Lounge, has been transformed into separate, intimate spaces, including an upper dining room and lounge that can be hired for private events and an outdoor terrace overlooking
the harbour.

The café has four signature theatre bars — the Salad, Crudo, Forno, and Coffee — as well as a Cocktail Bar. Life executive chef Jeanel Pieterse oversees the extensive menu: from the avocado and tomato ceviche, to the crispy crab sushi made with black sushi rice, to beef carpaccio served with fennel and lamb chops.

The restaurant also has seating on its Pier Promenade, a casual, 50-seater oceanside dining experience. For those looking for something even more luxurious, the restaurant offers a three-hour yacht cruise, with tailor-made menu options. lifegrandcafe.com

Image: Supplied

SHOP: Michael Kors

The V&A Waterfront, with its mix of old-world charm and modern shopping experiences, has recently opened the first-ever Michael Kors store in Africa. The luxurious store, which caters for modern working women, is one of the larger Michael Kors stores globally.

The lifestyle brand offers a range of products, including its iconic handbags, small leather goods, and phone accessories, not to mention ready-to-wear fashion.

The store uses traditionally simple lines, with white décor and backgrounds, to highlight the space and products. The fitting rooms pay homage to some of the designer’s inspirations, with images of Kors’ icons refelecting his love of the ’70s.

Image: Supplied
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