The Protea Hotel Fire & Ice is definitely one of Cape Town’s funkiest hotels, with a young, urban vibe, ultra-modern furnishings (think black carpets adorned with flames, red and blue lights, goldfish printed on tables), a soundtrack of dance music playing in all the public areas, and quirky touches such as elevators styled to look like shark diving cages and the Table Mountain cable car.
Rooms are definitely on the small side: aside from the bed, a small bedside table and glass shower that opens onto the room, there isn’t space for much else, and the tiny window makes things feel decidedly poky. The bulletin board (pinned with hotel marketing brochures) and garish red lamp almost make you feel as if you’re in an upmarket backpacker hostel rather than a fairly pricey city hotel. On the plus side, the bed is big and comfortable, and there’s a wall-mounted flat screen satellite TV and air conditioning.
In terms of amenities, the Fire & Ice offers conference rooms, a decent-sized gym and an outdoor pool that overlooks the street. There’s also free Wi-Fi (but it’s particularly slow). The downstairs restaurant, where you eat alongside a giant fish tank, serves a large breakfast buffet and offers a lunch and dinner menu heavy on meat, with ostrich steaks, burgers and traditional African dishes such as umsila wenkomo (oxtail in a butterbean and marrow sauce) featuring prominently. The big hit at the restaurant is the gourmet milkshakes, hailed as the city’s best, with unusual flavours such as popcorn and cola float and rooibos (a herbal South African tea) and carrot cake.
The hotel’s location is great if you want to get a taste of Cape Town’s buzzing inner city vibe. It’s a five-minute walk from Long Street, the city’s busiest nightlife spot, which is lined with pubs, bars, restaurants and clubs that spill out onto the streets on weekends. You can also walk to Kloof Street, which is less busy than Long Street but lined with hip coffee shops, restaurants and bars, such as Hudsons, which serves great burgers, and Yours Truly, where Cape Town’s young cool crowd is found sipping craft beers and tucking into pizza. Further afield, the beaches of Camps Bay and the shops of the V&A Waterfront are a 10-minute drive away, and Cape Town city centre is within walking distance from the hotel.
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