February 28, 2014

The Reserve at Taj Cape Town, a venue par excellence

The city is set to welcome its premier conference and banquet venue in March 2014, after Taj Cape Town’s announcement of the grand opening of The Reserve at Taj Cape Town on 111 St Georges

ABC branch entrance

The original African Banking Corporation building, constructed in 1894, was demolished in 1927 to make way for the renaissance-styled branch of Standard Bank, complete with an impressive five-storey facade of paarl granite and fluted Ionic columns. “This proud heritage building exudes a sense of style and permanence that is impossible to replicate in modern times,” comments Michael Pownall, general manager of Taj Cape Town. “Given its excellent location and proximity to Taj Cape Town, it was the perfect choice for our hotel to establish a banqueting and event venue par excellence.”

Home to the Provincial Government and South African Parliament since the early days of Cape Town, the historic precinct around Company Gardens has hosted the headquarters of the country’s major financial and legal institutions.“As with the development of Taj Cape Town in the Board of Executors (BOE) building (previously Temple Chambers) and SA Reserve Bank headquarters, the extensive renovation needed to be meticulous, yet careful in preserving the heritage of this landmark building,” comments Mr Pownall.

Taj Cape Town’s immediate neighbourhood abounds with heritage sites, museums and galleries, and the hotel has shown its commitment to the regeneration of the inner city with the sensitive renovation of Cape Town’s grand old buildings, explains Mr Pownall. “When faced with this unique building with such a rich history, we decided that its timeless style, and the interior with its period bronze fittings and fixtures, should take centre stage, while all the modern conveniences and technology should operate almost invisibly in supporting roles.”

Large trade shows and conferences with thousands of delegates are already well catered for in Cape Town, but the city still has a need for a venue that is equipped to host up to 400 of the most discerning clientele. “Having a luxury hotel of Taj Cape Town’s standard located next door to an event venue of such grandeur is the ultimate statement in style for banquet guests and conference delegates who are staying with us,” explains Willie Williams, director of sales and marketing for Taj Cape Town. “And the proximity has allowed for a service tunnel to be built between the hotel’s kitchen and The Reserve at Taj Cape Town, ensuring our staff will be able to deliver the same impeccable level of service and attention to detail to our function guests that has become synonymous with our hotel.”

Interiors with period fittings and fixtures

A total of 330m² on the ground floor banking hall allows the venue to host up to 400 guests in a lavish cocktail party, or up to 230 guests at a glamorous banquet. For business purposes, the venue can be optimised to cater for up to 300 cinema-seated delegates, or up to 200 delegates seated in a school room format. “For smaller parties or different streams of delegates, the main hall can be sub divided into three separate spaces of either  80m² or 200m², while the original teak-panelled bank manager’s office renders service as either an opulent breakaway room or an elegant cigar lounge,” comments Mr Williams.

"Access to The Reserve at Taj Cape Town is gained through the St George’s Mall entrance directly adjacent to Taj Cape Town’s entrance,” explains Mr Williams. “The imposing bronze doors which open out to Adderley Street will generally be closed unless specifically requested, while the St George’s Mall entrance, conveniently located next door to Taj Cape Town, leads through to a glamorous reception bar and lounge where delegates can be registered or guests can be welcomed with canapes and aperitifs before proceeding through to their main event.”

“We are very proud of the latest addition to Taj Cape Town’s function and event amenities which complement our existing banquet and corporate venue on the first floor of the refurbished BOE Building with the large sash windows that look out onto St George’s Cathedral,” remarks Mr Pownall. “The Reserve at Taj Cape Town, with green and sky rose marble-clad walls that run up into vaulted ceilings twelve metres high, offers an old world grandeur that will lend a sense of occasion to any event hosted within this heritage-listed building.”

Seating arrangements for guests

Underneath the grand banking hall lies what is perhaps one of the most fascinating parts of the art deco style building. The basement level comprises almost entirely of an original 120m² walk-in vault that is accessible only via a winding staircase or the classic style open lift, explains Mr Pownall. “This subterranean venue lends itself as a multi-function space that is ideal for intimate banquets, unique corporate events, art installations or whatever the host’s creativity may demand.”

“It is a privilege to be able to repurpose a historic building of this calibre and pedigree,” comments Mr Pownall. “Over the last century and beyond, the walls of this historic building have been witness to the business interests of Cape Town’s industrial elite, and now with the investment and vision of the Taj Group, we can present this legacy as the city’s most iconic venue for banquets and business functions.”

For more details, or to secure The Reserve at Taj Cape Town as a venue for your next banquet or business function, contact our banqueting team at banqueting.capetown@tajhotels.com or 021 819 2000.