Protea have long had an hotel in a converted prison in the heart of Cape Town’s waterfront. Sharing it in part with Cape Town’s internationally reputable Business School has given a steady flow of business customers, but the recent refurbishment has seen this hotel redeveloped into a stunning destination hotel for families, with some sensitive additions that are already showing signs of increasing its popularity.Hidden behind high walls the former prison is a strange mix of buildings but it is mainly focussed around the old cell blocks. Ample parking and space within the walls create a green and relatively quiet area on the busy edge of the V&A waterfront development. Entrance into the hotel belies the size of the property.
Tardis like, the small reception space flows through to a series of buildings ranging from cell blocks and punishment areas marked with nineteenth century graffiti to modern bedroom blocks. Unique amongst hotels I have visited is not the use of the cells as small meeting rooms and study areas, but the inclusion of the punishment block and its treadmill – not used, despite my mischievous suggestion, to punish misbehaving guests.
Although not actually in the Waterfront itself, its position is a flight of steps and a road away. This insulates it from the noise of the tourists, buskers, hawkers and the rest of the hubbub that makes the boisterous Waterfront atmosphere.