More and more, Cape Town is revealing how it’s not the place to book a bland business hotel in…not in the face of singular traveller temptations on silver platters, in blooming Cape boutique hotels and unique quasi-hospitality establishments here.
Listening and adapting when the world is changing, is the mark of savvy business smarts – particularly in tourism. And Century City Hotels latest offering – a less than 15-minute drive from the Cape Town Central Business District – showcases the vibrant draw of the likes of clever aparthotels in cosmopolitan cities.
The brand is known for its business-travel-centric focus.
However, their quiet revolution of the landlocked business district, into a far more dynamic hub (think meetings, mingle, and Mai Tai) equal to the Atlantic Seaboard’s traveller draws, has been making waves.
For one: across their properties, they take the following important things seriously:
- no-contact (frictionless) check-ins
- surface cleaning
- and hand sanitizing.
Century City Hotels’ business model is also impressive as seen across the communal working spaces in their hotels (consistent with high-speed Wi-Fi) to the likes of their Square Cafe, their carefully curated wine bar too (and its tasting offers), and in the incredible value-for-money stay in the Urban Square Hotel.
The latest offering adds to the repertoire with a different locale down the road, a different energy, and far different hotel design and convenience.
Bridgewater is the antithesis of its brighter, sepia-toned sister hotel; Upscale cool, where the older remains immediately warm and open; And far more calculating with its segmentation of public spaces.
From entry, the saturated earth and jewel-toned interiors feature durable grey, moss-green, and even blue seating, and rich visuals in printed wallpaper that’s set alongside gunmetal grey cement walls and even distinct blond and butterscotch rattan storage and partitions.
There’s green (stunning statement vases), and lush greenery abound, between the hotels’ breakout areas – though it may take leaning in to tell whether it’s real or fake.
It could have all been excessive if it weren’t so well styled to decor trends and the allowance afforded by more cavernous lobbies.
What to do and how to do it…
During your stay you may lament the absence of even a small in-hotel oasis beyond your room, a pool to cool down in, or an exclusive outdoor area complete with sun loungers to lounge about in, but this hotel has no shortage of amusements nearby and, comfortable seating within it for other conveniences.
Check-in, await company, work, or lazily browse, from couches at reception, timber-lined sitting areas outside, or head to the co-working desks (with USB ports and plug sockets, by the way) also situated on the ground floor.
Stretch your legs beyond the hotels’ walls too.
Guests are also encouraged to make use of Bridgewaters strategic location just off the waterways and six-hectare parkland of the business district.
One can jog, walk or run through walkways bound for world-class gyms (Virgin Active – though no complimentary guest access), bustling shopping centres (Canal Walk), sporting facilities (hockey/soccer astroturf), car dealerships, the Urban Square, and a world of various businesses one can meander to.
At the drop of a hat, you need only call the helpful Front Desk, to book yourself into some excursion or activity if you also fancy.
I recommend cycling, canoeing, or stand-up paddling.
In the early light of Saturday morning, I was introduced to this area’s more enthused offerings by way of indigenous birdlife tweeting, and a canoe and water games event happening right along the hotels’ canal waters.
From my room, I could see guardians seemingly carefree in observing those in their care, from the dry green, stretching around the Ratanga Park and the Grand Canal, where kids enjoyed lively activities that wore them out enough to sleep later – a boon for any parents thinking of ideas to keep their squadron busy.
What of sleep and hotel room comforts….
Everything that makes compact, functional, midrange hotels work around the world, is reinforced in Bridgewater‘s 80 hotel rooms:
- Super comfortable queen-sized beds
- Digital room safes big enough for 17-inch laptops
- Complimentary Grind-on-Demand coffee
- 42-inch Intelligent TVs with 19 channels, Netflix and YouTube
- And for those that cant do with being offline at inopportune times: A Back-up power generator.
Secure doors offer peace of mind – as do the various signs guests can hook onto their door handle.
Hand-rubbed midnight blue feature walls, honeyed wood floors and wall-mounted wardrobe/storage greets the room’s occupants – neither visually nor physically detracting from the cosy but open-plan design of the room.
Seating is ergonomically sound and the requisite work desk is spacious enough to drop laptops, gadgets, cartons of leftovers, and more on – made especially so by the lack of a coffee station IN the room.
The only bathroom privacy to be had, is in the toilet with its door and good ventilation and lighting, while the gorgeous glass walk-in shower with brass fixtures lets weary travellers unwind while also being able to watch television at a distance.
Bridgewater takes a cue from social media and beauty trends, with one of its statement room design features: a halo ring light for its mirror that works wonders for anyone wanting to apply makeup or carefully attend their skin routine.
My favourite part of the room? Naturally, the bed.
With the reading and RGB mood light off, I got quality sleep after raising the room temperature on the room’s independent Air conditioner and securing myself an extra blanket.
If the sleep is consistently good and sound, any hotel has met their most fundamental objective, right?!
Breaking your fast, and other things…
There is none of the truly grab and go breakfast food & beverage conveniences many hotels like Century City’s sister hotel have, as the pandemic still arrests all facets of hospitality such that a la carte menus remain the order of the day.
The absence of a buffet at GUSTO doesn’t mean there isn’t a hustle to deliver taste fulfilment behind the scenes.
Even from the laidback restaurant seating (water-facing or north-facing) in the main indoor dining area, visitors can spot the high spec kitchen churning out steaming cups of coffee, heady plates of Italian style food, as well as decent time-honoured favourites like a Full English.
You won’t be shocked by the meals (like Porcini Mushroom Ravioli) enough to cease eating and marvel, but you will be full and lacking in complaints.
The adjoining house bar is a bit of a transitional space – not quite the place you’d settle in for an entire night. However, it’s more than welcoming and warm for savouring a drink or 3.
I suggest the house cocktail.
Gusto has“an extensive wine list with both local and Italian favourites – curated by the collaboration of a South African sommelier and Italian chef, ensuring the wine and food complement each other”GUSTO. (2022)
If fresh air is more your speed while you visit for food & beverage, then Bridgewater goes further in its dynamic restaurant and bar offering with a New York-style Deli window by its courtyard, where you can order everything from bagels to brunch pastries.
Who needs traditional in the face of dynamic convenience?!
Much like the clientele decked out in everything from stilettos to sneakers – with hoodie-clad Executives side by side with comfortable families, creative elites, and polished professionals – Bridgewater embraces the spectrum.
They’ll be no awkward dinner for the solo traveller here too, as everyone minds their own.
However, there is no event programme right now for the more social guests.