NOW part of Marriott’s prestigious Autograph Collection, 15 On Orange on the outskirts of Cape Town’s CBD recently underwent a multi-million Rand revamp which includes a complete makeover of the lobby, bars, restaurant and conference facilities, as well as the installation of a stunning pool deck with those all-important mountain views.
The quadruple volume lobby – which comprises an open-plan bar and lounge, along with areas which are perfect for business meetings – and the restaurant are a study in shades of green. Potted plants and trees are in abundance – on floor level and hanging from above, and the peaceful ambience is enhanced by cool creams and soft metallics. It’s a far cry from when the hotel was originally built nine years ago in the remnants of an old Dutch Reformed Church, opening with decor which featured lots of bright colours and heavy fabrics, marble, and statement pieces. The current look is modern, trendy and up-to-date while remaining sophisticated and soothing.
The former Murano Bar has been renamed the Atrium Bar, and along with the adjoining restaurant, floor to ceiling glass has opened up spectacular views of Table Mountain and Lion’s Head. It’s the same view you’ll get in your room on that side of the hotel; the opposite side overlooks the city centre.
We began our little sojourn at the pool, with a bottle of bubbly in an ice bucket, and a light lunch from the menu which adopts what they call the bistronomy (bistro+gastronomy) trend of serving high quality cuisine in a relaxed, more casual setting. The deck is a fantastic addition, and is open to day visitors as well, for a small fee. We followed this strenuous activity with lovely little naps (or the complimentary bubbly and sweet treats, who’s to say?) in our mountain-facing rooms before coming back down, suitably refreshed, for pre-dinner drinks at the lobby bar where Sibo made me a spectacularly good martini. After I took the first sip, I asked the room in general “who made this?” They all looked worried until I indicated that I had nothing but praise.
We had a great meal in the restaurant – rich and silky gnocchi with Gorgonzola for my friend, ribeye steak for me, and a crème Catalan bowl to share for dessert which is basically crème brûlée but topped with burnt sugar as well as shortbread crumble and served with gooseberry jam and an almond crisp, and decorated with flower petals. We made short work of that. Ditto the excellent Neil Ellis Cabernet Sauvignon.
A tapas menu is available for the less-hungry.
We were delighted to retire to our spacious rooms to sleep off our indulgences in deep comfort. While every need is taken care of right now – wifi, flat screen TV, DVD player and desk, as well as mini fridges, and tea- and coffee-making facilities – the rooms will be the next phase of the hotel’s refurbishment. I suggested they not change the showers in the sexy marbled bathrooms, nor the massive fluffy towels which can wrap the fuller-figured woman comfortably as well as being absorbent. These might sound like trivial details but they are important; we want showers that reach all the hard-to-get places, and we want to dry off properly afterwards, before donning our fluffy robes and super-soft slippers for some extreme television viewing or reading.
Breakfast is quite the grand affair. Full disclosure: most hotel buffets leave me chilly but here you’ll find a fantastic spread with plenty to appeal, sweet and savoury. Besides the cold buffet, there are hot dishes, an egg station and à la carte too, with dishes including the usual suspects like eggs Benedict and egg white omelettes, and some more unexpected ones like potato latkes with smoked salmon, poached egg and mornay sauce, Belgian waffles and crêpes. Breakfast – all meals really – is available to outside guests as well, and if you need a pick-me-up, they don’t mess around with the coffee.
As an urban oasis, 15 On Orange offers plenty to keep guests happily occupied on the premises, but it sits in a prime location: the Company’s Garden, the Iziko National Museum, Planetarium and National Gallery are all a few minutes’ walk from the front door. Exploring the city is easy – from Long Street to the now more in vogue Bree Street – and there is a MyCiTi bus stop right outside.
Where: Corner of Orange Street and Grey’s Pass, Gardens
Telephone: 021 469 8000
- This story first appeared in Independent Travel on February 2, 2019