I love to travel the world as much as the next person but I also adore a good staycation in my home town, Cape Town. The Mother City is considered a world-class travel destination for a reason, and there’s never been a better excuse for Capetonians to stay home and explore their own city. But, a staycation doesn’t just have to be about exploring your home town, it can also be about staying in your home country rather than booking an overseas holiday. With travel deals galore and flights relatively quiet, this is also the perfect time for local travellers to discover the magic of Cape Town.
When you’re thinking of places to stay in Cape Town, you may be tempted to head to hotels in the inner-city or at the Waterfront, but hotels in those areas can be extremely costly and put you further away from exploring beautiful spots like the Constantia wine region, Kalk Bay, and Kirstenbosch Gardens. Booking your stay in a central location like the suburb of Newlands will give you easy access to Cape Town’s southern suburbs, the South Peninsula, and is still just a quick 10-minute drive to the inner-city and the V&A Waterfront if you feel like exploring that side of Cape Town.
South Africa’s national lockdown has thrown us all for a loop, and we’re all looking to save a few pennies, even if we’re on holiday. Booking your stay at a more budget-friendly hotel, like Park Inn by Radisson Cape Town, Newlands is a great way to save a few bucks while holidaying in Cape Town, while still guaranteeing you’re close to the action.
The contemporary hotel is ideal for young professionals and ‘bleisure’ (business leisure) travellers looking for a simplified travel experience as well as Cape Town residents looking for a place to get away from it all for a night or even just a few hours. Booking into the hotel during level-1 lockdown was extremely efficient, and I was super impressed at the health and safety measures the team has put in place to ensure guest safety during the pandemic. Guests are screened upon entering the hotel and there are hand sanitiser dispensers and disposable PPE bins conveniently placed throughout the hotel. Even high-use areas, like the lifts, are sanitised every 3 hours.
A dip and a sip
After checking into the hotel on a sunny Friday afternoon, the boyfriend and I promptly made our way to the hotel’s quiet pool area for a bit of relaxation. Featuring a splash pool and comfortable deck chairs, the pool area is surrounded by trees and offers a quiet spot to while away the hours with a good book or cool off with a quick splash. Once we were done sunning ourselves it was time to visit the Lobby Bar’s outdoor terrace for a drink and a late afternoon snack.
The Lobby Bar’s outdoor terrace at Park Inn, Newlands is one of my favourite spots to grab a drink in the southern suburbs. With comfy couch seating and an impressive cocktail menu, the bar offers a laid-back atmosphere that is ideal for after-work drinks with friends or a lazy Saturday get together. Locals are more than welcome to visit the bar even if they’re not a guest at the hotel so, if you live nearby, make sure you pop in for a sip and a nibble during the summer months.
Dining in at Live-Inn Restaurant
That evening we enjoyed a delicious dinner at the hotel’s Live-Inn Restaurant. Executive chef, Chef Tharwat Londt prepared a tasting menu for us to sample a few of the dishes on the menu rather than having to try just one thing (what a spoil!).
Speaking to Hospitality Marketplace, Chef Londt describes his cooking style and food as “hearty and wholesome, made in good taste with a touch of sophistication”. In a restaurant scene plagued by pretentious, over-priced dining experiences, Chef Londt’s approach to dining is refreshing, to say the least. For him, it’s all about how the food tastes, rather than how it looks on your Instagram feed. “The world has become very Instagram-oriented and often food gets judged by an image. I try not to focus on that but rather place emphasis on the way food tastes and what you experience when you taste it,” he says.
With a focus on using beautiful ingredients and simple flavour combinations, Chef Londt’s food offers hotel guests the perfect excuse to stay in for the night and enjoy the hotel’s hospitality. For locals looking to get away from it all for the night, booking dinner at this relaxed hotel restaurant is a sure-fire way to get that holiday feeling.
Our meal at Live-Inn started with a refreshing and light duo of Butternut, Biltong, & Blue Cheese Salad and a Mexican Salad, with nachos and guacamole. Both salads are ideal for sharing with the table but can also be enjoyed on their own as a main if you’re looking for a light lunch on a hot summer day.
Next up was the GM’s Curry served with sambal and poppadum and bunless Beef Sliders served with caramelised onions and Brie cheese on a bed of rocket. The Cape Malay-style GM’s Curry offers a delightful celebration of Cape food culture and has just enough heat to allow the flavours of the spices to shine through. Served with generous chunks of chicken, fresh sambal and white rice, this dish is a must-try for anyone who misses mamma’s home cooking. If it’s a low-carb delight you’re after, then you can’t go wrong with the Beef Sliders. You get a lovely hint of sweetness from the caramelised onions while the slice of Brie turns every mouthful into an indulgent burger experience.
The food just kept on coming, and we finished off our mains with Lamb Cutlets served with Chimichurri and a White Wine Muscle Pot served with crusty bread. The lamb was cooked to perfection and was elevated to new heights with the Chimichurri marinade. This vibrant dish is jam-packed with fresh flavour and offers a different take on the way lamb cutlets are traditionally enjoyed by South Africans. For seafood lovers, the White Wine Muscle Pot is an excellent choice. The white wine sauce was oh-so-morish and complemented the fresh mussels perfectly while the lovely crusty bread offered the perfect vehicle with which to mop up the delicious sauce in between bites of drunken sauce-soaked mussel.
We finished off our meal with Churros rolled in cinnamon, served with a chocolate dipping sauce. I absolutely adore Churros and order them whenever I can find them on the menu. These sweet treats were as good as any I’ve had in Cape Town and offered a sweet ending to a delicious feast at Live-Inn.
Lay your weary head to rest
After dinner, we dragged ourselves back up to our room for a nightcap. The rooms at Park Inn, Newlands are beautifully modern with funky colourful styling. The Superior Room is a modest 26 m2 but offers all the space you need for a comfortable stay. With a balcony and a separate rain-style shower and toilet, the room offers ample privacy for a couple sharing and includes a desk with a chair, flat-screen TV, a comfortable armchair, as well as a bar fridge. There’s also free WiFi in all the rooms.
I’ve stayed in rooms of a similar size at other hotels before and was super impressed with the layout and details of the rooms at Park Inn. While compact hotel rooms can often feel cramped, the layout of the rooms at Park Inn, Newlands have been cleverly designed to maximise space and give guests ample room for all their stuff. You don’t feel like you’re falling over your suitcases every 5 minutes when you’re trying to get ready to go out. The King-sized bed was also incredibly comfortable and offered a great night’s sleep.
Book your stay
Need more reasons to stay at Park Inn by Radisson Cape Town, Newlands? With 50% of the hotel owned by DeafSA, Park Inn, Newlands prides itself on enabling hearing-impaired employees to work and grow in their chosen fields within the hotel and beyond. The hotel is a nurturing environment that encourages the personal growth of its staff across the board and even as a guest, you get a supremely welcoming feeling walking in the door.
What’s more, it’s a business or ‘bleisure’ traveller’s dream. With a sunny WiFi lounge in the lobby, offering free WiFi with a comfortable space to work from, you can stay connected while travelling.
Whether you’re visiting Cape Town from neighbouring cities or are a Capetonian looking for the perfect overnight staycation, you can’t go wrong with a stay at this funky Newlands hotel. It’s got everything a modern traveller could want with the same 5-star service as a larger luxury hotel.
Park Inn by Radisson Cape Town, Newlands is now open for bookings. Visit the Radisson website to book your stay now.
Review originally published on WomenStuff.co.za.