Rediscovering Cape Town | Marriott Hotel Crystal Towers Review

The unexpected upside of moving from my home in Cape Town to Johannesburg 4 years ago, is being able to rediscover the Mother City every time I come to visit. Just smelling the sea air and seeing the familiar outline of Table Mountain helps me to reset.

With each visit I become a bit of a tourist in my hometown. Discovering new eating spots, or driving out to places I never took the time to go to when I was living there. It’s quite amazing how you rediscover a familiar city when looked at with fresh eyes.

On a recent work trip I stayed a night at the 5 star Marriott Hotel in Century City. Just 20 minutes from Cape Town International airport, the hotel is very conveniently located. It’s 10 minutes from the city centre and 20 minutes from the Southern Suburbs. Canal Walk Shopping Centre, which is a world class mall is literally around the corner and even accessible via an exclusive bridge straight from the hotel.

On checking in I found they had a great system where they valet park your car in the underground garage and you request them to bring it up when you are heading out.

The lobby is a contemporary yet comfortable space with what feels like a four story ceiling. Enough volume to ease anyone with claustrophobia. I took a seat in a comfy lounge area while I waited for reception to finish checking in the guests before me. The check-in process was efficient, warm and friendly. I was offered assistance with taking my bags up to my room, but having only one bag I managed without it.

The rooms at the Marriott have recently been refurbished. My room, a Larger Guestroom was an absolute pleasure. Equipped with a full bathroom including bath tub (the smaller rooms have a shower only), rain shower and large hand basin plus toiletries essentials and Acca Kappa amenities. The cupboard has a safe, iron and ironing board, as well as dressing gown and slippers. The bathroom is open plan but has a curtain you can close for privacy. I also like that the toilet is completely separate. The smaller guestroom’s shower has a glass partition with some window frosting for privacy. So if you’re shy and sharing you may want to opt for the larger room.

There is a dresser with a kettle, bar fridge and Nespresso coffee machine complete with Bootlegger coffee capsules which made my soul very happy. I also loved the S&P brand cups and saucers and Scottish shortbread that was available in the hospitality tray.

The plush king size bed is a dream for someone travelling alone. I could literally sprawl over the whole bed and not worry about who I was going to knock off. It felt so big that night when I crawled in that if I rolled over it might take me to next week to hit the other side, lol.

But the view for me was the pièce de résistance. Huge floor to celing windows through which I could see my beloved mountain in the distance at sunset and wake up to its glorious sight in the morning. The curtains have a blockout backing, which is needed due to the large windows. I purposely did not use them as I wanted to wake up to this view.

What I didn’t see in the room was a Qibla marker to indicate the direction in which to make salaah, or a lootah (jug or tap for istinja) in the toilet. As they are looking to attract Muslim guests this would be a thoughtful addition.

The Towers restaurant, where I enjoyed breakfast included in my stay, is a bright open space and has also recently been revamped. The feel is fresh and modern but still warm with comfortable upholstered dining chairs. They have a separate halaal-certified kitchen as well as a halaal seating area. The revamped space is brighter and feels more spacious than it used to be. While the open plan buffet area for breakfast is not strictly halaal you are able to order the same items and hot foods from a specific halaal breakfast menu.

The breakfast spread includes pastries, breads, cereals, parfaits, fresh fruit and a selection of hot foods you can order from the menu. I had the breakfast fold-over which was essentially a wrap, it was tasty, warm and very filling. The coffee was very good and I wish I had had more time for another cup or two. Breakfast is served till 11am and the breakfast menu is available as a room service menu as well. They have an all-day halaal menu available from 11am in the Towers restaurant as well as room service.

Just outside the main restaurant adjacent to the lobby there is a cafe / deli where you can enjoy dessert and coffee. It’s an ideal spot for a quick meeting although the cafe is not halaal. I spotted a long communal table in a part of the lobby ideal for work or catching up on emails as it had plug points for charging your devices.

Need to completely disconnect? The award winning Life Day Spa is on the first floor of the hotel. I have used this spa in the past and it’s one of the best options in Cape Town. There is a fitness centre available and on the rooftop you can soak up some sun on the pool deck. The restaurant on the pool deck can cater for Muslim guests from the halaal-certified kitchen but it also does have a bar and alcohol is served here.

The hotel is ideal for conferencing and the restaurant is available for events as well. With it’s central location it’s a convenient base from which to explore Cape Town, but it’s so well equipped that it’s also a great option for a local staycation.

I spotted quite a few Muslim guests at the hotel. It’s obviously becoming a preferred option for travellers to Cape Town. It’s great to have a 5 star hotel option where Muslim guests are so well catered for. I know the Marriott Hotel Crystal Towers will definitely be my destination of choice next time I’m in town.

*This stay was sponsored by the hotel.


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