The Park Inn is located on a major street in the Central Business District called Heerengracht, in what’s known as the Foreshore area. There are a lot of businesses in the area, and it’s quite busy during the week, though much quieter on weekends and in the evenings. It’s an easy distance to the Convention Center, and a taxi to the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is only about 5 minutes.
The hotel is really more of a business and convention-oriented property with 120 guest rooms including just 8 one-bedroom suites and a business and conference center on the top floor. While I was there, it was filled with tour groups and travel agents there for a big meeting.
I was able to get a room just about two weeks before actually staying there. Booking directly at ClubCarlson.com, I found a rate of 1,008 ZAR ($114) per night with a “Stay 2 Nights & Save 20% – Business Friendly” rate. I also had the option of redeeming either 28,000 Gold Points per night, or 5,000 Gold Points and 672 ZAR ($75) per night with Club Carlson’s Points + Cash option. Because the rate was so low, I decided just to pay it so I could take full advantage of my elite status earning potential and Carlson’s Triple Points promotion.
Last year, I status-matched to Club Carlson Gold status based on my Hyatt Platinum status so that I would receive perks including: a 50% point bonus on every eligible stay, 2,000 point online booking bonus at clubcarlson.com or any Carlson Hotels website, early check-ins and late checkouts as available upon request, Roll Over Nights (unused elite-qualifying nights count again next year toward elite status) and more.
I was also able to register for Carlson’s current Triple Points promotion where members can earn triple Gold Points for eligible nights now through March 15, 2013. Club Carlson members may register here.
Base level earning with Carlson is 20 points per $1, so with the promotion, I earned an additional 40 points per $1 on the room rate. Plus, I got my Gold status 50% bonus on base points for a total of 70 points per $1. My two nights cost me $228, so I ended up earning 15,960 points plus my 2,000-point online-booking bonus for a total of 17,960 points. Not bad for 2 nights at a cheap rate in a decent mid-tier hotel, and enough for a free night in a Category 2 hotel.
As I mentioned, the hotel was pretty booked the weekend I stayed there thanks to some tour groups and a European travel agents convention, so when I checked in around 4pm, I was given a room on the third floor out of eight and told there was nothing on a higher floor, which I had asked for since the street noise was fairly loud.
Check-in took barely a minute, and I was soon strolling through the bright, small lobby toward the key-card-activated elevator and up to the third floor, the first floor with guest rooms on it. Rooms are arranged in hallways along the wall of the building with a large central space that runs up through the entire building creating a kind of atrium, though there’s no skylight, so it was rather dark, especially because of the gray carpeting and walls.
My room was a bit cheerier with large windows along one wall overlooking Heerengracht and a bright red leather desk chair. The rest of the décor was pretty bland, with a blond wood bed, desk and luggage stand, gray curtains and a gray sofa and white linens on the bed with a dark blue runner.
The room wasn’t that large at just 330 square feet or so, but if felt spacious because the bathroom was on the small side so there was more room in the living area. There was a work desk with international plugs for easy charging, a wall-mounted flatscreen that came with the usual choices of international news channels plus a few movie channels, and a minibar with coffee and tea service, though the mini-fridge was empty (it can be stocked on request). My favorite amenity, which is a Club Carlson standard, was the free WiFi, which was fast and reliable.
The open-plan bathroom was pretty stark with bright fluorescent lighting on either side of the mirror, a single sink, a toilet in the corner, and a shower running along the wall closest to the bedroom with a window of frosted glass separating it from the bedroom.
The hotel also has a small fitness center and outdoor pool area up on the roof, though I didn’t get the chance to use either because of a busy schedule that had us out and about the city, but it’s good to know they’re available. It also has secure parking if you need it.
The hotel has a restaurant and bar called RBG in the lobby that serves the usual array of café specialties and dishes throughout the day, and it’s also where the buffet breakfast that’s included in the room rate is served. The buffet included cold options like fresh fruit, yogurt, cereal and cold cuts as well as a few hot dishes like eggs, sausage and potatoes. The staff was courteous and quick, and it was nice to have the meal included with the room.
Although the hotel felt bland and corporate, the Park Inn was still a good-value option thanks to the large guest rooms, efficient service, a central location and the inclusion of amenities like breakfast and WiFi. Service was also friendly and fast – for instance, I asked them to print out our tickets to Robben Island for the next day and they were delivered up to my room within minutes.
If you’re looking for something unique and distinctive on your next stay in Cape Town, this isn’t the choice for you, but if you just want something affordable, simple and with decent quality, it’s a good choice.
Pros: Central location, affordable rates, free WiFi and breakfast
Cons: Location can be busy during week, lots of tour groups and convention visitors stay here, accommodations feel basic
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