And so it came that on the afternoon of 28th June 2013 at 16h30, seventeen of us gathered in our open-plan reservations office to kick off the experience! We were immediately divided into 4 groups, armed with interesting props like beard-moustache combinations, fancy, colourful bowler hats, Hawaiian garlands, crayons and paper. Task 1: create a new GTASA logo using the crayons and paper and remember to wear your defining item for the entire weekend. The atmosphere was set!
With lifts organized, we headed for our first Tsogo Sun Group of hotels, set in leafy Newlands. We managed to prove that Capetonians can get lost in their own city and operate like Asians with phone cameras a-clicking. Expect the unexpected seemed to be the name of the game. As we stepped into the foyer, out stepped Schalk Burger. He was identified as anything from the guy in the beer advert, to the South African rugby player he is. He seemed to enjoy the request for a few group photos, each one of us wanting to edge as closely as possible.
Highlights at this well-located Southern Sun property was the warm, friendly hospitality, the delectable canapés and drinks, the experience of being in the kitchen of the echt Northern Indian chef who allowed us to see nan bread being baked in seconds in the piping hot oven. Education: a room which is defined as a double double, is a room with two double beds in it; very useful to know when booking families.
Then off to the Southern Sun Nelson Mandela Boulevard for our first course which comprised filling, and beautifully presented chicken soup with croutons and an equally beautifully laid out table. What with the lovely breads and drinks! Apart from the spectacular views from the comfortable rooms inspected, we could not have wished to be shown around by a more animated, proud and knowledgeable South African staff member, Tania Lo, duty manager. Thank you, Colleen Saayman (assisting GM) for specially coming in to host us. Spacious conference venue with impressive views.
Now off to the property we’ve come to know as the Cape Sun, for the main course of salmon, typically five star in its size, taste and proportions. Customary foyer music greeted us. The glass lift whisked us up to the 25th floor to view the older and then the more recently revamped rooms. A highlight: again the experience of being shown around by an employee clearly very proud of showing off this well-positioned CBD property.
Collect our valet-parked vehicles and off to the Southern Sun de Waal for dessert, the variety and taste of which is unforgettable! This property is tucked on Orange Street, set amidst one of the quaintest and oldest Mother City suburbs and includes wireless connectivity. Along with other local attractions, the old-worldly Labia Theatre, is just down the road. Here our groups performed hastily composed songs using 4-5 random words picked from a hat! Whoever said that we are uncreative!
Off to where we’d spend the night, the Southern Sun Waterfront! Spoilt for space from the entrance to the reception area, our quick and efficient check in experience came with a cup of yummy hot chocolate, and more chocolates in our standard double double rooms! Perfectly located with easy access to the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront and the CBD, still didn’t make the wake-up call at 06h38 on Saturday morning a fun experience. Part of our group competition was an eight minute workout wearing our pj’s, not an attractive sight but fun
As if the experience could not get better, it was announced that breakfast would be at the neighbouring Cullinan Hotel with its elegant and spacious 394 stately rooms. Oh, for just one night in the executive suite! For just R160.00, one can enjoy the full breakfast any morning, and it would be money well-spent! And so, just when we thought it was time to say our fond goodbyes, off to our own V & A Waterfront we went for a canal cruise. The One & Only, Harbour Bridge, City Lodge, etc., were properties we could view from our even, gliding experience, with informative commentary to boot! Another first for us lucky Capetonians; enjoying a full and most enjoyable tourist experience in our own city. This with the most fun-loving group of colleagues one could ever dream of working with, offered by hospitable Tsogo Sun staff and organized through the generosity of GTASA staff and management. Team building – tick!
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