I was delighted when The Alphen Boutique Hotel in Constantia (www.alphen.co.za) invited Celebration House to hold a Network Evening at their recently revamped hotel. Having held one of our meetings there a few years earlier, we were all keen to see the exciting changes that we‘d heard about. I had also received glowing reports from those who had visited the hotel since its relaunch, and who had praised the ‘new look’, as well as the excellent service they had received.
On my arrival at the hotel, a friendly staff member greeted me and showed me the way to the venue for the meeting. A waiter soon appeared, proffering glasses of sparkling wine. I don’t normally accept anything to drink before giving a talk, but a glass of chilled Pongracz was way too good to refuse!
Our meeting was being held in the impressive lounge and bar area of the hotel’s 5 Rooms Restaurant. This beautifully decorated room has exquisite chandeliers and furnishings, and I loved the clever idea of housing the big flat-screen TV in a large ornate frame, turning it into a moving piece of art. Four dining areas led off the lounge, all decorated with a certain degree of opulence, and a couple of them perfect for small, intimate parties.
It wasn’t long before the lounge and bar area were buzzing with the animated chatter of over 40 service providers – all established experts in the Cape Town wedding market. Since introducing these Network Evenings many years ago, they have become increasingly popular, as they offer an excellent opportunity for networking, and it’s been rewarding to see how many strong friendships have been formed through them over the years
We were all most impressed that throughout the evening, there were at least five members of the Alphen staff on hand to answer any queries from service providers.
After enjoying welcoming drinks, those attending headed for the seated area, where they were served delicious snacks. My talk focused on keeping service providers up to date with what’s new and happening in the wedding industry, and on Celebration House’s plans for the future. We also bade farewell at the meeting to Clifford and Shelley Alexander and Gary Taylor and his wife, who have now left South Africa to ‘live their dream’ on an island in Thailand. Alexander Photography and Status Disco have been with Celebration House since we started, way back in 1996.
Robert van Gent, General Manager of The Alphen Boutique Hotel, then welcomed everyone and provided us with much useful information about the refurbishment of this beautiful hotel. Robert is extremely passionate about the hotel and its part in history, and said that whilst they needed to maintain the original feel of the hotel’s Cape Dutch heritage, they also wanted to update it by giving the furnishings a more modern and opulent twist.
After Robert’s talk we were all keen to see the changes, and there was no hesitation in accepting his invitation of a tour of the hotel. We were broken up into small groups, each led by a member of their very knowledgeable staff, and taken on a most interesting and informative tour of the hotel.
In addition to learning even more about the hotel’s history, we were shown examples of the various categories of room available. We loved the trendy names these had been given. What fun to book into a room named either ‘Cool’, ‘Amazing’ or ‘Stunning’ – or better still, into a honeymoon suite called ‘The Magic Room’. During the tour, as we viewed the chic and elegant rooms, I heard nothing but praise (and many ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’) from those in my group who loved the bold makeover that Stefan Antoni has given this iconic hotel. The bathrooms, too, are most luxurious and I particularly liked the stunning effect created by the use of black tiles, white floors, ornate gold mirrors and gorgeous, deep red ceilings with recessed lights.
At the end of the meeting, several service providers headed for The Rose Bar, an outdoor garden bar that serves drinks and light meals. As our meeting took place in winter, tented sides and heaters were in use, but in summer it is opened up to the garden. A great spot to meet for drinks with friends, this area can also be hired for a function, and now that I’ve discovered it, I will definitely be making a return visit.
The Alphen Boutique Hotel is fortunate to be set in 11 1/2 acres of beautiful landscaped gardens, and we all agreed that these offer the perfect backdrop for a garden wedding, with enough space to set up a marquee.
Another new addition to The Alphen Boutique Hotel is the La Belle Café and Bakery and Deli, which has become a very popular place to meet and enjoy light meals throughout the day. Booking is recommended.
A very big thank you once again to The Alphen Boutique Hotel for their superb hospitality. The enthusiasm of their staff across the board for what they do, is contagious, and we all left most impressed with the way in which this gracious old hotel has been restored to new glory. The evening was perfectly summed up by one of our service providers, who remarked as she was leaving: ‘I can’t wait to find someone to tell about this wonderful hotel!’
Thank you to Jan Theron Photographer who was on hand to capture photographs of the evening.