Let me begin by saying, my visit to The Capital Pearls was filled with mystery, suspense, surprise, joy, adventure, new friends, and many many laughs! Oh, and I looked really cool while doing it!
In The Beginning
The Capital Group first made its debut in South Africa in 2007. Including the recently opened Capital on Park, there are 9 Properties to choose from, located in and around South Africa.
In one of my many conversations with the General Manager of The Capital Pearls, Christine Liebenberg explained to me, that the hotel, opened its doors on the 15th of December 2017.
That’s right, the Capital opened its doors, during one of the busiest peak seasons of the year. And they were an instant success on the KZN coast. The feat alone deserves an accolade, but I personally am not surprised that they pulled it off.
The team I met during my stay, have me convinced that they can handle anything and everything. Logan Naidoo the Banqueting Manager at The Capital Pearls, told me he couldn’t have been prouder to be part of a launch team, as he was of his team the day the hotel opened.
Business & Leisure
The Capital Pearls offers – 7 Conference Rooms, 2 Boardrooms, 1 Banqueting venue, & 4 Training rooms. So whether you are hosting a team building, conference or brainstorming session, The Capital is the place to be. In fact, during my stay, there were at least 4 of the available conference rooms in use by various companies, and a hotel filled with leisure guests.
The Capital is proud of its business-leisure title. The hotel & apartment spaces are designed to cater too and host both short and long-term guests at any of their individual properties. The kitchens and lounge areas in all the rooms are fully kitted out with luxurious appliances. Including your own washing machine and tumble dryer.
Each room has its own personality, uncapped WiFi access, and DSTV channels on a large screen. It really is your choice as to whether you catch up on emails by the pool or in the comfort of your own space in your PJs. The rooms within each apartment also offer temperature control, so if you and your bestie, don’t like the same temperature in your bedrooms, no stress.
The Capital at Pearl’s is on a body corporate. The property shares its land with the mall downstairs, and the Residential twin towers, Breeze, and Dawn. In total there are 3 towers on-site, with Sky being the main hotel & apartments of The Capital Pearls.
Currently, the Sky Tower is still undergoing the final leg of its construction, which to be honest was hardly noticeable. There was a moment or two when I looked up and noticed the guys abseiling down the one tower and brief sounds of construction noise but nothing that disturbed or interrupted my experience at the hotel. I was also informed that the two highest levels of Sky are going to be Penthouse Apartments. It is like they knew I was coming. They must be getting ready for Cee to move in, lol.
Having worked in the hospitality industry myself, I know how difficult it is to create that balance between work and pleasure, business and leisure. However it felt natural to have the conference guests enjoying their conferences, and me and my guests spending time at the pool bar, eating lunch and catching a few rays of the sun, all at the same time.
The hotel is located ideally on the Kwa-Zulu Natal coastline. Which means wide-spanning sea views, beach access, and sunny & warm winters.
These are just a few of the reasons why this is the place to stay, all year round. Not only that, but guests have access to a beautiful pool and lounging area, with their own outdoor bar, weather permitting of course. Complete with pool snack menu, to satisfy those midday cravings.
The Food & The Staff
Prior to checking in, I had done a lot of research on The Capital hotels. I had read many reviews and even spoken to a few friends, who have stayed at their various properties. And every single person I spoke too, raved about the quality of the food. The Capital’s reputation did not let us down in this regard.
Often one does not have the highest expectations when ordering food by the pool. Let us be honest, it’s just not an aspect of any hotel, that you think you are going to be talking about for weeks afterward. Lo and behold, The Capital offerings. On day one of my stays, I had the pleasure of having lunch with Logan Naidoo, Banqueting Manager of The Capital Pearls.
I ordered a yummy vegetarian dish, that was not only delicious and full of flavor, but well presented and the portion was enough for an adult, and or possibly two kids to share. Badly presented toasted sarmies from the pool bar, no longer have a place in hotels, the standard has been officially lifted by The Capital Group.
Lunch was always an enjoyable experience during my stay, it seemed to be that every time I ate, I would meet someone new and got to hear their amazing story of what brought them to work for The Capital Group.
For example, I had the above meal, with Logan Naidoo. Logan has a really amazing story of how he came to The Capital Group and eventually found himself in the Banqueting department. Logan has traveled the world and has had a steady career, climbing the ranks in some of the worlds best hotels.
Although had you told him that as a kid, he may have laughed at you. One of Logans most prevalent memories is of his uncle. Logan recalls how he could not understand why anyone would choose to work on a weekend or in the evening. He didn’t understand why some jobs required individuals to work outside of the 9-5 and had no intention of ever becoming one. And yet, here he finds himself. Very happily climbing the ladder in this industry and working for one of the biggest groups in Southern Africa.
Logan shares a dream with me, he dreams of having a white Christmas. In South Africa that is a reference to having a Christmas covered in snow. Logan says he would love to experience, staying in a log cabin, with a hot fire, and snow outside. Something us South Africans and especially Durbanites, do not get the chance to do much. I have had the same dream for quite some time, so I am going to start making suggestions to The Capital Group of opening a property in Canada, or New York….lol.
Logan recalls the excitement and the hard work that went into opening the doors of The Capital. He eagerly tells me how they finished screwing the last door on the conference room early in the morning they opened. And then proceeded to smash their monthly in-house and revenue goals ever since! I get the sense that Logan is going to heading this establishment one of these days.
On day two of my stay, Adam and I really got to explore the menu, with the help of Sous Chef, Vishal. Again, we ate at the pool bar, we were so comfortable under the umbrellas, sitting on the high chairs, which allowed us a view of the pool, the ocean, the towers, and the lovely bar!
Maxwell, our amazing and funny barman, really is inventive with his cocktails and I left my drink orders in his hands, where I could. The Capital Pearls has a large selection of local South African Craft Gins, and I was not only pleased to hear this but to see the likes of Woodstock Gin Co. Rooibos, Musgrave Gin, Hope on Hopkins and a few others stocked in both the pool bar and main indoor bar. Well Done for supporting locally, Capital.
After Maxwell created the above cocktails for us, we ordered our starters. I had the camembert and caramelized onions, because who doesn’t like the idea of eating a whole wheel of cheese, all to themselves? The caramelized onions were done, to perfection, while the presentation was simple and clean.
Adam ordered the jalapeno poppers for his starter. The presentation was so bright and beautiful. There was some speculation whether the flowers were edible or not, but I think he ate them and survived.
Disclaimer, I would suggest you check with your waitress or the chef before eating them though. By this stage I was just inhaling everything that was put in front of me, it was all so delicious and tasty. Nothing I ate during my stay was bland, that I can assure you.
As we were making our way through the starters, I was introduced to one of the most amazing people I think I will meet in 2018, cue the entrance of Francios. Francios forms the Concierge team along with Bo, who checked us in. By the way, Bo is my friend for life, even if he doesn’t know it yet. I have said it and so it is done. That’s how this works right? *Giggle*.
Francios introduced himself to us, during our starters, he checked that our meals were good and that Maxwell and MX were taking care of us, which they most certainly were.
It was about 5 minutes after this, that I asked Francios if we could take a photo together and he agreed. After the photo, Adam commented and said that Francios was very photogenic, only to have Francios give me a life lesson that will be sticking. His reply was – “Well honey, God gives you gifts, you cant just mos throw them away, can you!”
Just know that one of these days, I am having that printed on a shirt (and a business card). It was at that moment, that I knew we were part of The Capital family.
Francios, Adam and I had an amazing chat during my stay at The Capital Hotel. When I say that this property has managed to somehow create a team of absolutely amazing, diverse, passionate and dedicated individuals, I am not saying so lightly. In most establishments there are highlighted members of the team, there are “noted” individuals, well, let me tell you, if that has to be applied to The Capital Pearls, you would be running around all day, handing out medals and awards to each and every single member of the team
Shortly after chatting to Francios I realized that not only is one of the youngest members of the team, coming in at 23 but that he is one of the most ambitious members of the team. Having already been in the industry for 4 years, he reminds me, of me.
I myself started in hospitality when I was 13, after a hard family life at home. It was completely illegal, but I worked and an I grew and I was managing hotels abroad before I was legally old enough to drink in said countries!
My age didn’t stop me, my situation didn’t stop me and my circumstance didn’t stop me, even though I could have let all of the above do so! And that is what I see within the character of Francios. He is coming for his goals, and not without thanks.
Francios mentioned to me, that Christine has been an integral part of his growth both personally and professionally at The Capital Group. That she has been a wonderful team leader and furthermore a wonderful teacher. Francios is exploring the new position he is in within the hotel and has plans for further growth.
During my stay, I had been following a social media thread, from a well known Blogger in South Africa. Brent and his same-sex partner of TEN YEARS!!! Had been denied checking into the same hotel room, by another hotel, whose name we shall not mention.
The Capital Group swooped in and saved the day for Brent and his partner, welcoming them with open arms and making them a part of the family!
As a lifelong member of the LGBTQIAPD society myself ( I’m bi), I always look for hotels that are friendly and welcoming to ALL its clients and guests. The Capital both online and during my stay, proved to be, just one of those hotels. I saw 3 same-sex couples during my stay at the establishment and honestly just felt even more at home. Which at the end of the day is the entire point.
After our yummy starters Adam, MX and I moved onto our main lunch meals. I choose the Veggie Stirfry, Adam had the Fish of The Day and MX had the Chicken strips and chips. By this stage, I would have only been surprised if my meal, wasn’t delicious and flavorful. While I didn’t finish my entire meal, because I was too busy yakking away, I did enjoy every bite. Chef, paired in season flash-fried veggies, with Chinese noodles, which was served with a garnish of fresh flowers.
Adams mains came with a beautifully stacked portion of chips, which just reminded me, how much attention to deal, The Capital pays to its brand and product.
At this point, I was glad to be wearing my pineapple pants, locally made by my friend Katt from Kattwalk Clothing. Everyone knows that Cee and her pineapple pants, have been on many an adventure and this was no different. A culinary adventure is an adventure by any and all standards!
Nearing the end of the meal, we ordered our desserts. Note. I NEVER order Creme Brulee, because whenever I do, I find the chef or restaurant or eatery, has made this sickly sweet yellow stuff in a bowl. Would you like to take one guess what The Capital Pearls did? They made the best dam Creme Brulee I have ever had!
I say that with YEARS of industry and food experience under my belt and I say it again, THE BEST CREME BRULEE I have ever had! It was smooth and flavourful. And NOT sickly sweet. I had the Creme Brulee at almost every meal after that. I had to stop myself from ordering it from room service one evening!
Adam ordered the Baked, Berry Cheesecake from the menu for his dessert and again, was not left unsatisfied.
You were never ready…….
Eventually, we made our way away from the pool bar, great food, and Maxwell’s humor to retire for a few hours. I needed to get some work and downtime in, and Adam needed to go on an errand.
Downtime in a hotel setting can often be difficult to achieve. Seriously, you are often overstimulated or wanting to try everything during your stay, and finding a space to just relax, on your own isn’t always easy. I found the rooms in the hotel are styled and designed to actually encourage a relaxed atmosphere and mindset. The artwork and interior design in the rooms were done by a company called Lemon Decor, which were was personally handpicked by Managing Director, Mark Wacsberger.
Upon entering the apartment, I took off my shoes, opened my bedroom curtains, and sliding door, walked into the lounge, closed the curtains, and flopped down on the couch. I covered myself in one of the throws and clicked on the big screen tv. The Leauge of Extraordinary Gentlemen was playing on DSTV and, I quietly snuggled into myself. Everything was moody, and besides the hum of the TV, and Sean Connery’s voice, I drifted into a wonderful power nap.
When I woke up, I walked into my bathroom and washed my face. The lightning in the bathroom mirrors are great to do your make up in, and there is a full-length mirror in the bedrooms as well. I never got the hype of mirror and bathroom selfies, until I spent a good thirty minutes, posing in my room. Never say, never.
I was happy to see that even here in Durban, The Capital Group is conscious about water use and wastage, they encourage their guests, through a small note in the bathroom, to not wash towels daily and to use water wisely.
Dinner was an absolute hoot! Oh gosh, what a riot! I have not laughed so hard in so long. Adam, Grey, and I were joined by Francios, MX, and Chef Vishal during our meal.
Apparently, our subconsciousness had all been secretly working together as every one of us arrived for dinner, wearing grey clothing. We talked about the hotel, we talked about the life and family that brings them all together on site.
And mainly we were just a group of newfound friends, of diverse and interesting characters, who were having dinner together. There is nothing better than having an evening of good food, and wine, filled with intellectual conversation, and I believe every individual at that table, was of the latter notion.
We let Francios surprise us with our drink orders, which entailed much laughing and a warning to the wise. As Grey found out. Only have 2 of the pink drinks, they are the sneakiest. I was treated to a beautifully wooded Chardonnay, and sadly I do not recall the origin estate. However when you visit, just tell Francios you want the Chardonnay that Cee had for dinner, and he will know. It was followed up by a Chardonnay from Haute Cabrie that I discovered through another colleague, Nicola.
I thought the most beautifully presented dish that evening was the Butter Chicken. Adam went for a kiddies dessert.
And I, of course, had the Creme Brulee and further convinced Grey to try it. He did. He was immediately convinced and has come over to the dark side. Well, the yummy side.
Eventually, we said our goodnights and wandered to our respective rooms and homes. I got some water out of the fridge and then climbed into my very big and very comfortable bed. Leaving the window open slightly, I could hear the waves lapping against the tide, and smell the salt in the air. I quietly drifted away.
The next morning was bittersweet. I managed to finally wake up for sunrise and watched as the horizon went from dark to light, too orange and pink and then finally back to blue again, as the skies cleared.
I had a quick shower and then met Adam downstairs for breakfast. Grey joined us, shortly afterward and we all ate together. You know when you leave a destination, and you start looking at everything in the mindset of my last?
That’s the last sunrise I will watch from my room.
Well, I didn’t quite have those feelings. I mean I was sad to be checking out, it just didn’t feel like goodbye. In fact, I was making plans already to return. And so the thoughts were, I should have that again, next time I am here. And I should stay in the same room, next time I am here.
I just want to say a huge thanks to The Capital Group for looking after me so well. It was an amazing experience and stay. I have met such wonderful individuals, who give me hope for the hospitality industry and growth within the industry in SA. You are a South African gem and are a property that I am only too happy to recommend to my readers, followers, friends, family, and guests.
You aced the chart, 10/10 for everything. Your rooms, your staff, your food, your location, decor, and design. Your facilities and everything you offer. I look forward to returning to spend a weekend, doing nothing but reading and laying out on your lounges under the Summer sun. I am looking forward to visiting your other properties this wintery season and meeting more phenomenal staff and seeing The Capital standard carried out through your various establishments.
To my readers, who want to contact, The Capital Hotel & Apartments. The brand is wonderfully active on all their social media platforms. You can find and follow them on Twitter and Instagram. And you can view their offerings at www.thecapital.co.za
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And As Always
All Images by Net Crumbles.