International investors, business leaders and celebrities all came together last Saturday (28 August) for the official opening of the Taj Cape Town.
Company directors and representatives from Tata Sons and Raymond Bickson, managing director and chief executive of Indian Hotels Company Lmtd , officially inaugurated the Taj Cape Town at a the red-carpet event.
The Taj Cape Town has officially opened at a ceremony held last week
“We are delighted to announce our foray into South Africa with Taj Cape Town. This is in sync with our strategy to continue our vision of growth in key international destinations. Cape Town is an increasingly popular tourist and business destination and this is yet another step towards establishing a significant presence for brand Taj across the globe with its exemplary combination of product and service,” said Bickson at the opening ceremony.
Joint venture partners Tata’s Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces and city centre developers Eurocape spent two years and over R500 million (US$69 million) restoring the original South African Reserve Bank and Temple Chambers buildings.
The Taj Cape Town has been called the city’s oldest new hotel because of the historic buildings it occupies, but its location also sets it apart.
Together with the adjacent Mandela Rhodes Place and St George’s Cathedral, it is in the middle of a historic precinct that links St George’s Mall, the Company Gardens, the Slave Lodge and the Houses of Parliament, with the Groote Kerk, Grand Parade and the City Hall. It is an area steeped in history and alive with art, culture, cuisine and entertainment.
“Like all great city centre hotels, you have museums, art galleries, top restaurants, live music venues, open- air markets and crafts all right on the doorstep,” says general manager Michael Pownall.
He emphasises that the Taj Cape Town is very much part of this city centre experience for Capetonians and international guests alike.
Its two entrances, the porte-cochere on Wale Street and the South African Reserve Bank entrance off St George’s Mall, both lead into a magnificent lobby, which was once the main banking hall.
The Taj’s restaurant repertoire includes the Bombay Brasserie, a fine-dining Indian Restaurant offering authentic Indian flavours in contemporary dishes. It is modelled on its famous namesake in London, which is considered one of the top Indian restaurants in the UK. Additionally, Mint is an all-day informal restaurant owhere patrons can opt for the relaxed atmosphere of the contemporary interior, watch their meals being prepared in the show kitchen, book a private function on the mezzanine level or enjoy the sights and sounds of Cape Town at open-air tables under the trees.
The quaintly named Twankey takes it moniker from the statue overlooking the corner of Adderley and Wale Streets. Originally intended as a symbol of the benevolence of the Board of Executors, Capetonians cheekily christened the large draped female the Widow Twankey after the pantomime character. Today the relaxed seafood and champagne bar below her celebrates this historic irreverence.