Mother of a City

Luxurious loft living for business people and travellers in Cape Town’s inner city.

If you’re anything like me, the thought of staying in yet another anonymous hotel room will chill you to your travel weary bones.  So discovering an alternative in the inner city of Cape Town gave me a little frisson of glee.  Imagine; your very own serviced apartment for the price of a high end hotel room.  Yes please.

Concept creators Kobie Le Grange and Sean Cleary started their short term letting business three years ago with only one apartment on their books. Today they manage over 60 four and five star graded apartments in the hub of the mother city, all sporting high tech security and a full concierge service.

The concept, In The City was born of their collective experience in the hospitality industry and the growing realisation that hotel travel is often restrictive and impersonal.  Taking advantage of the Cape’s inner city rejuvenation, they began collecting and refurbishing apartments with the intention of creating an alternative accommodation experience.

Kobie tells me that Barcelona, Sydney and New York have all enjoyed an inner city renaissance and that he and Sean wanted to create the same experience in Cape Town.

Sean adds that international travellers come to experience the city life and its culture – the galleries, the markets, and the theatre.  Being within walking distance of some of some top tourist attractions is useful too.  Then anyone who’s tried to get to three different meetings in Cape Town knows that being able to avoid traffic makes staying in the city rather attractive.

The bit I like about these apartments is the extra space.  The 1 and 2 bedroom properties have an open plan living area leading on to a fully appointed kitchen. One of apartments even has a plunge pool and a large outdoor deck.  Most have ridiculously beautiful views of the mountain or the harbour.

Each apartment was furnished in partnership with an interior decorator to hopefully meet the 4 or 5 star standards metered by the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa and Sean and Kobie are on track to have every property in their stable officially graded by 2010.

Having Sean and Kobie on 24 hour call is also hugely tempting.  Both have travelled extensively and know the benefit of a little local knowledge.  They tell me they can book me a table at the latest foodie hot spot, get me some seats at the Artscape or recommend a cozy little bar for a drink.  They apparently once even arranged a late night physiotherapy appointment for a busy businessman with a bad back.

Kobie and Sean insist that this kind personal service is imperative to the quality of experience they offer.  They point out that they’re competing with the four and five star hotels that surround them and shrug off suggestions that difficult guests must make the job tough.  They know what their calibre of guests expects, and they’ll make sure they get it.

To be honest, I’d probably miss the room service of a hotel, given that one of my sins is gluttony, and particularly; eating in bed.  But when the trade off is the feeling of a home away from home, I’d rather stock my apartment fridge with a few Woolies meals or skip off to a restaurant nearby and rejoice that I don’t have to wait for the nosh to arrive before I put on my jammies.

The apartments range from between R800 and R3, 500 a night, depending on season, size and length of stay.

Originally published in July 08 on MoneyWeb Life

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