Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Clarendon at Bantry Bay, Cape Town

The Clarendon's balcony is the perfect place to have breakfast and behold breathtaking sunsets.
Situated at the top of a hill, the first thing that will strike you about The Clarendon is the view from the balcony. Aside from the view being obscured by two obnoxious cranes, you can't get any better than this!

I've been able to get a lot of blogging done because of the cool breeze, the silence and solitude. Every once in a while, I'd look through the telescope and watch a couple of whales and a school of dolphin paddle across the ocean.

There's a barbecue grill, ping pong table and a beautiful lounging area around the swimming pool. Great for impromptu inuman sessions with the barkada.


The service is personal-- there are so little rooms that the staff know you by name. The owner Shirley was "on-site" puttering around during breakfast and she'd drop by every now and then during the day. One of the staff, Kevin, even baked some pastries for Saturday tea. I was incredulous when one of the guests asked Mavutu (another one of the staff) for a foot massage... Then I was shocked when he cheerfully obliged!

It's location up Bantry Bay gives it an advantage because of the view. However it is also a disadvantage because it's a tiring walk to the beach. To get anywhere interesting, you will definitely need a car or call a taxi.

Although the room was clean and passed my Will-I-Walk-Barefoot test, there were lots of little things that did not tickle my fancy:

  • the queen-sized bed are two singles pushed together. Effectively, you'll only sleep on one side.
  • I met my first baby south african cockroach in the bathroom. Yay!
  • I was woken up twice in the middle of the night from an annoying static noise coming from the telly and a loud hissing sound from the airconditioner
  • The toilet paper wasn't perforated-- it was just one long single roll. Details, details, details!
  • The towels weren't fluffy and felt worn-out.
I did not let that lone fly circling the cheese platter ruin my breakfast. Chef Johnson's omellette was made-to-order, the coffee was freshly brewed and the fruit salad was made with real (not canned) fresh fruit!

(Tip: Since there's only one chef, there could be quite a wait during the peak breakfast hours so if you don't want to wait, wake up early or eat late.)

Conclusion:4/5 0
Four pawikan points. Minus points because of the following:
  • paint chipping off in my sink and on the balcony railing. This place was not aging very well. (According to Shirley, the guest house will be fully upgraded this year! She says each room will have something "special".)
  • Old-school locks and key! You actually need the key to lock your room even from the inside! Not a good design specially if you're rushing to get out.
  • no complimentary bottle of water

Bonus points because of the friendly and attentive service from the staff. they really try their best to make you feel at home. Visit the Clarendon, tell them that the Filipino sent you and make sure you have a chat with the night watchman Chris and ask him to show you some magic.

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