There should be more to the hotel’s Guest Relations than simply providing on cue the address of the new impossible-to-get-into fish restaurant that’s making waves down town, or fielding departure times of the cableway leaving for Table Mountain’s summit. An address is no good if you can’t get in and any fool can Google a departure schedule.
But what if you can get a coveted table (and a good one at that), and fresh fish for dinner, on that permanently booked reservations list? And what if your trip to the mountain becomes what you were really looking for – a botanical foray into a unique floral kingdom with an expert, the cableway simply your mode of transport? What luck; you’ve never been here before and yet your days could be a seamless schedule of bespoke insider events. What’s going on? While old-school concierges seem to be a thing of the past, Cape Town-based Lew Rood has brought its vanished style, if not its raison d’etre, back to life.
Rood’s backstory includes working sojourns with all the icons of South Africa tourism and hospitality – Sol Kerzner, Southern Sun, Conservation Corporation and Singita amongst them. With a phone call he can get you into a private garden by David Hicks, or into a sidecar for a trip up Signal Hill at dusk if time’s limited between plane changes. You might want to buy ceramics from a private studio; Lew will find the right one then get you in. If your life’s dream is to go shark diving in False Bay but you’ve only an afternoon free, don’t worry. He’ll fix a dive with a minder at the city’s Two Oceans Aquarium, and you’ll be on your way. Liaise with him in advance expressing your tastes: are you, for example, a Delaire Graff or a Tokara person — the difference in these restaurants an insightful guide to the style of other things you might enjoy. And while you think a hotel in Greenmarket Square is a great idea, had you thought about the market stallholders rattling over the cobbles at dawn while you’re trying to sleep? Rood has, and he’ll advise you which room to book and which to avoid – or indeed which hotel’s a better option. He’s made it his job to know.
Good old Guest Relations masquerading as Concierge is great on the nuts and bolts, the day-to-day requirements of people on the move, but Lew Rood’s service offers more, the wow factor his hidden advantage. Taking into account budget, age, nationality, the active or the less active, he can custom-make every aspect of a trip with expert advice on shopping, art and culture, food and wine, flora and fauna — anything you like, with visits arranged to private venues, amongst them art studios and gardens. www.lewrood.com
Louis Vuitton City Guide – Cape Town
31 October 2013