Tuesday 25 January 2022

Cape Town reflections: Feathering the nest

But for a love nest

We aim to create home away from home when we meet up in Cape Town that has become our city of choice in South Africa. This requires we have suitable domestic arrangements beyond what obtains in a hotel, and so certain things need to be taken into consideration.

I have used Airbnb once before and, in many ways, I did not enjoy the experience as the upfront costs can be quite high in terms of deposits and I was not sure on the dispute resolution process. With Hotels.com, whilst we cannot make bookings more than 28 nights, there are other benefits as it is part of the larger Expedia Group and for even 10 nights you book, we get an average cost reward night, I have been quite happy with the rewards of almost 9 years of loyalty.

When seeking accommodation, we look for fully-furnished apartments with certain requirements, this demands apartment block information and the apartment inventory are detailed and frequently updated as things do change and sadly, this not always the case. We would rarely book a place where we are not sure of what the apartment contains on the main booking page or in the small print.

Things we note

We can probably trade-off on unlimited Wi-Fi as we have once had to use a Mi-Fi (mobile wireless Internet) when the landlord forgot to keep up with their Internet Service Provider subscription, however, the apartment must have a washing machine, probably with a dryer, a fully kitted kitchen with cooking plates, an oven, a microwave oven, utensils, crockery, cutlery, and other essential elements to make for a homely setting.

Sometimes, the inventory would not suffice and we are left with scrutinising the pictures of the apartment and views from it to see how it is furnished, the general layout, what and where things are installed and gleaning subtle detail as fixed showerheads or those on hoses, the furniture and the bathroom.

On location, Cape Town

Location is obviously important, we try to be within walking distance of the V & A Waterfront, and though we first stayed in the Foreshore area, we have tried out the Gardens, Mouille Point, Green Point and Sea Point. The apartment at the Gardens near the District Six Museum was quite spacious on the second floor, but the area seemed a bit precarious and unsafe, even if it was just 6 blocks up from a main police station. It has a draw, but we have not been persuaded to return.

Obviously, Mouille Point gave us the best views of the sea looking all the way to Robben Island, but the apartment needed some cleaning up before we could move in. The overworked manager who is desperately in need of help but probably too parsimonious to spend on the need to modernise and maintain his portfolio of apartments could do with some aspects of personal hygiene too, our first meeting left me quite crestfallen, I was afraid the last 17 nights of our stay would be in a hovel.

Just to get it right

We lodged our most complaints in a choice of 7 apartments at Sea Point and it was dire. Information on booking page suggested there was no lift in the apartment block and there was. I could have in the absence of a lift for a 3rd floor accommodation decided on somewhere else. How whoever took the inventory missed the bathtub in the bathroom is totally beyond me.

Then, in the kitchen, there was no microwave oven, like whoever had stayed there before had never spent more than a couple of nights or did not have any inclination to order takeaways or warm meals, surely. Then when trying to cut some kitchen, I found there was no kitchen knife and then we had to go shopping for a knife after 8:00 PM on a Sunday night and we just about got a something slightly longer than a penknife.

The pots were aluminium bowls with handles for the pots or the lids, we needed a laundry basket and a clothesline, we should have asked for a table fan as there was no air-conditioning installed, though there was a gas heater; for Cape Town? I guess I too Northern hemisphere to think winter is Cape Town demands heating.

For convenience always

For our first 28 nights, we were not going to endure the absence of these essential things and it was 6 nights on before we got a useful pot, the microwave oven, a laundry basket and a dozen clothes hangars to supplement the mere 3 in the wardrobes.

When moving to another apartment we have an overlapping day, to check-in the day before we checkout where we are. It gives us time to move apart from allows us to make essential arrangements if necessary. The option to extend always exists, but we have found that for the third time moving apartments during our rendezvous helps give us a feel of the Cape Town and prepare us for our eventual move there.

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