The Ritz Hotel & Casa Restaurant – A Cape Town Icon Reinvented
After a R120-million rejuvenation, The Ritz hotel in the vibrant Cape Town suburb of Sea Point opened its doors to welcome locals and tourists to the most glamorous urban resort the Mother City has to offer. An icon of the city’s skyline since the early 1970s, over the decades this once-stylish address slowly lost its lustre until, in 2016, the Ritz Hotel Management Company (Pty) Ltd or RHMC saw an opportunity to revitalise – and reimagine – this faded star of the Atlantic Seaboard.
“It’s a beautiful piece of local architecture that desperately needed a new lease on life. We had a very clear vision of what we wanted to create, and what Cape Town needed,” says, Lisa Carey, Marketing & PR Manager for The Ritz.”We are not creating a quirky boutique property or a stiff five-star hotel. We want to cater for that beautiful niche in the middle. We wanted to take luxury and design, and make it accessible”, Carey comments further.
And the end result is nothing short of staggering. A sleek porte-cochere of steel and glass greets guests on arrival, a fitting introduction to the glamorous lobby of glittering golden palm trees and front desk of gleaming white marble.
Accessible luxury with sensorial appeal is a thread that runs throughout The Ritz with a colour palette dominated by black, gold and white. Authentic Martinique wallpaper – made famous by The Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles – provides a striking backdrop to the lobby, while each of the 213 rooms (The Ritz reopens with 114 rooms, with balance completed during 2018) is decorated in a sleek modern look. Think smoky mirrors and deep-buttoned velvet bucket chairs, moody colour palettes and Louboutin-inspired wardrobes. These are rooms and suites that focus on unpretentious luxury, and finesse without unnecessary frills.
Take A Bite Out of The Ritz Hotel
And the décor is only half the allure. The Ritz Hotel is on track to becoming one of the Mother City’s culinary hotspots, with a collection of restaurants and bars that will keep both locals and in-house guests happy.
The Ritz has long been famous for its revolving restaurant – the only one of its kind in the Western Cape. Located on the 23rd floor, The Ritz Restaurant, provides the perfect foil for refined dining. An unforgettable destination for celebratory dinners or popping that question, Top of The Ritz Restaurant may also be booked on an exclusive basis for bespoke occasions.
One floor below on the 22nd, is the Champagne Lounge, a sultry and seductive space ideal for pre-dinner bubbles and sundowner cocktails, with local DJs spinning laid-back beats from late-afternoon every day. And on the 21st floor, The Cognac Lounge is similarly set to become an address for after-dinner digestifs and late-night cocktails.
While those upper floors will enchant in the evening hours, during the day it’s down on the humming first floor that locals and travellers are set to find their home away from home.
Casa Restaurant at The Ritz Hotel
CASA Restaurant & Cabanas brings a touch of Miami South Beach glamour to Sea Point, with all day al fresco dining that ranges from brasserie-classics to sushi and wood-fired pizza. Tables flow out from the chic interior to a sun-splashed pool deck, host to a Champagne Bar, pouring French champagne alongside chilled Whispering Angel rosé from acclaimed Côtes de Provence producer Chateau d’Esclans. Stop by for a bite on your way to the nearby Promenade, or settle in for the day at one of the exclusive poolside Ritz Cabanas.
“It’s a relaxed space, both indoors and by the poolside, and we wanted the menu to reflect that,” explains Adrian Cook, Group Executive Chef for The Ritz. “We’ve kept the menu focused and simple, ensuring every dish is packed with flavour.”
It’s a globetrotting cosmopolitan menu. Entrées run from elegantly plated steak tartare – served with a focaccia twist and smoked aioli – to Rock Shrimp tempura with an umami-packed sriracha/soya glaze. Another starter not to be missed is ‘The Ritz’, an eye-catching reinvention of a classic avocado ritz.
In a witty nod to the tropical Martinique wallpaper adorning the walls, ‘The Ritz’ is served in a frozen half-shell pineapple, the pickled radish, pineapple sorbet, and avocado purée neatly balancing the silky Marie Rose sauce and succulent shrimp.
Reinventing the classics is something of a defining philosophy at CASA, says Cook, “We’re taking dishes that everyone is bound to love, and giving them our own Ritz twist.”
A perfect example is the main course of peri-peri chicken. The chicken is cooked sous vide in home-made peri-peri sauce, before being crisped up in a Pira charcoal oven imported from Spain. Other meaty mains taking a turn in the fiery oven include the char-grilled rump with house chimichurri, Karoo lamb ‘lollipops’, and a succulent Wagyu beef burger topped with mature cheddar.
The sun-splashed pool deck is sure to be a drawcard, with all diners enjoying full access to the sparkling pool and facilities. Whether seated on the terrace or ensconced on a lounger, it’ll certainly be hard to pass up on the inventive range of stone-baked thin-base pizzas, or a platter from the extensive sushi menu.
And to drink? Aside from the selection of signature cocktails and local craft spirits, the wine list offers an impressive range of leading local estates, with a variety of wines available by the glass. Fancy something international? Order a bottle of Whispering Angel rosé from acclaimed Côtes de Provence producer Chateau d’Esclans. CASA is also home to a sparkling poolside Champagne Bar, with proudly South African Méthode Cap Classique as well as champagne.
Specials at Casa Restaurant
Watching your budget? Take advantage of these weekday deals at Casa Restaurant.
“We want our guests to have the luxury and experience of dining in a world-class hotel, while enjoying great value,” adds Cook. “A lot of locals aren’t accustomed to experiencing restaurants within hotels, but we believe CASA is going to change that.”
Pensioners Tuesday: a two-course meal for R80 per person every Tuesday from 17h00
Pizza Thursday: buy one get one free pizza special every Thursday from 18h00
Sushi Fridays: half-price on selected sushi every Friday from 18h00
There’s certainly no shortage of flavour or inspiration on offer at The Ritz this summer. Whether you’re planning lunch at the poolside or an elegant evening ‘up top’, the talented chefs at The Ritz are certainly turning up the heat in Sea Point this summer.
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