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Old Mar 8, 13, 6:03 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: New York city, NY
Programs: DL DM, DL reserve, Hilton gold
Posts: 366
SOUTH AFRICA via JFK-YUL-AMS-CPT-JNB-AMS-JFK

TRIP REPORT SOUTH AFRICA
WINTER 2012 (summer southern Hemisphere)

Part 1: JFK-YUL-AMS
Part 2: AMS-CPT
Part 3: Pepper Club Hotel & Spa
Part 4: Pepper club Hotel & Spa part II
Part 5: Cape Town
Part 6: CPT-JNB BA/Comair
part 7: JNB AirFrance Lounge/KLM JNB-AMS
part 8: AMS crown Lounge/KLM AMS-JFK

DELTA AIRLINES
DL 4129
Aircraft: CRJ
Actual seat: 1C
Depart: JFK John F Kennedy airport (JFK)
Arrive:YUL (Montreal Airport - Canada)
Sched.Departure: 2:25pm Actual Departure : 2:20pm
Sched.Arrival: 4:03pm Actual arrival: 3:40pm

It's been a while since I last posted a trip report, in fact I've been on several major trips since my last post on Iceland or was it Sinagore hmmm anyway I digress since time has been the enemy. I am determined to get this South Africa trip report share my experiences since most of you have enjoyed my reports. I think!

Why South Africa?
I had the pleasure or not so pleasure of visiting South Africa once before, to the cities of Johannesburg and Durban way back in 1997 and unfortunately I thought the country was a...well....Sorry to say, a dump!
Yes, I am sure you will flame me but it was an honest perspective of a country that was just out of apartheid and I was a young lass. My impression of South Africa were to never visit for a vacation, yet everyone including ALL South Africans I came across insisted I visit Cape Town, there I would find the true beauty and culture of South Africa, and since I was on a work tour (South Africa, Seychelles. Kenya, Tanzania) I never had the chance to visit however it has always remained on my mind to perhaps one day visit, and this day has arrived.

Flight from New York to South Africa are usually astronomical in price but thanks to Flyertalk I got a great deal to visit Cape Town and see what everyone have been saying of Cape Town and of course to make some killer milage out of it, unfortunately I would be at the back of the bus. eeek

The day began with an uber car service pick up (bit of a waste perhaps traveling on an extended milage run but those guys ROCK) dropped off at JFK illustrious terminal 2..not. As a NY'er I am used to the armpit of a terminal but for first time visitors - yikes hate to think of their first impressions - let alone what they thought of terminal 3! But May 2013 is just around the corner and we will be ushering in a brand new terminal (extension to T4) for Delta.

Today's journey would route me through YUL onto AMS then finally down to CPT. My first flight would be with Delta connections then the rest of the way with KLM. Checking a the counter (not one for check-in at the kiosk or iPhone for international travel) I was delightfully greeted at the empty Sky Priority counter. The agent quickly commented on my routing today and thought that was awfully long way to go, though he had no idea on some of the crazy routing I have done to experience certain lounges and make the milage, though prefer it when I am up front doing those trips. OP pleeeeaaase ha.

Off to the friendly and ever so effervescent TSA sergeants who must know that you know your own name out loud, and today the agent says to me..."nooooo thats not your name" (insert head wiggle) she needed to hear my full name. I politely said it regimentally but like a tv show flash moment with an alternate image or though, ( I was screaming at her telling her she was an imbecile and so on..)but to reality, I smile profusely as she hands back my passport and boarding pass and without a beat turns to her galpal to chat. Oh you really have some doozes in the system. *rant.

Once through security I was off to the the Delta Skclub terminal 3 Gate area 6. This skyclub opens at 1pm and truly has gorgeous views of the runway, tarmac and the new Delta Skyclub terminal 4 with sky deck. How I cannot wait to be having a cocktail on the sky deck in a few months!

(JFK terminal 3 towards terminal 4)


(skyclub terminal 4)


A short stay in the lounge I headed down to the gate to find an empty gate area, did I miss something, then as I scan the room there were 4 people scattered around. This commuter flight to Canada was certainly going to be light load.

(CRJ empty flight to YUL)


A quick 1 hour hop to Montreal, Canadian customs forms handed out, there hasn't been much information on transiting from a US flight to an international flight via Canada and today would be my first time so I diligently prepared for what may.

Just incase, I filled out the customs card even though technically I would not be entering Canada. Upon landing I headed toward immigration, and Montreal truly has a gorgeous hallway bringing you down to immigration, though YVR beats it one step further - Toronto, forgetaboutit!

I have never seen an immigration arrivals hall absolutely empty. (the 4 people from my flight had already gone through by the time I strolled toward it) I stood there for a moment, to my right was Canadian citizens and residents immigration kiosks, to front of me the entry into Canada and a small symbol to transit to internationals to my hard left. As I continued towards two unmanned booths I stood there for a moment perplexed, what now, so I continued till I reach the door and said open sesame... nope, no 'I dream of genie' opening the door, back tracking I find a helper and they would send someone to let me through, as long as I have a boarding card to which I had.

A few minutes later a perky and not being scarcest but truly perky Canadian customs agents comes up to me asks if I have my boarding pass and did I fill out the customs card (phew glad I did) with a resilient yes and yes I followed her to the unmanned booth where she would need to start up her computer. I make it a point to always smile and ask how they are doing to all employees especially security and immigration and customs officers.

While she's waiting she asks have I been to Montreal before, to which I replied I have, (gorgeous city that I visited for the first time this past summer) and follows up with , ever been in trouble, or arrested to which I say no, followed by, this computer is not turning on, I trust you, a places a Canada entry stamp in my passport and customs card and she wished me farewell and that someone will be there to let me through the doors. It was so strange to have no-one there but I guess 4pm arrivals at YUL is dead.

A female petrol person opens the doors from the other side looks at my boarding card, told me where my boarding gate would be, told her I was flying KLM, she immediately told me to go use the Air France lounge. WOW gotta love those Canadians, perhaps I might transit again through Montreal, painless and seamless and to boot no pun intended no security re-screening. So fellow travelers transiting through Canada or specifically Montreal, fill out those customs cards and enjoy the ease of no re-screening.

sorry blurry pic of immigration area


YUL airport


lounge AF


Entering the Air France lounge I was welcomed with a friendly bonjour, handed over my boarding pass for YUL-AMS and let into the lounge, I did not have to show my Diamond Medallion card. Once I sat down with Chandon champagne, (I love my champagne better if it was krug but I will take anything!) the assistant dragon asked for my boarding pass (which Delta printed but only through to AMS and I would have to go to the transfer desk for the AMS-CPT)
Moment later she hands me my boarding pass with both flights on KLM, stock, that was lovely service. There was no hot food in the lounge, but a basic assortment of cakes, cookies and fresh bread rolls and basic selection of liquor.

Air France lounge view


Wine and Champagne


Air France plane


2 and half hours went by quickly plane spotting, drinking and snacking and working on my laptop. Final call was made for my flight to AMS on the MD 11, which I was thrilled to be flying on and especially with a light load in Economy Comfort or so I thought.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
KL 672
Aircraft: MD11
Actual seat: 9C
Depart: YUL (Montreal Airport - Canada)
Arrive:AMS (Amsterdam Airport)
Sched.Departure: 7:00pm Actual Departure : 7:05pm
Sched.Arrival: 7:50am Actual arrival: 7:55am

As I entered the jetway onto the aircraft, I was met with a friendly crew with a whole lot of one color BLUE, turning to the right (shed a little tear) I sit down in 9C to which I find I had a seat mate, last I looked I had the whole row but no matter there was 3 rows of empty seats in the middle, I would move there to be more comfortable. As a Diamond medallion elite plus I can sit in EC for no extra charge but to do so is a difficult to do. You cannot do it online as you receive the payment page on KLM.com and since I don't trust delta.dumb for seating on skyteam flights I tweeted first the Deltaassist and also tweeted KLM. I love deltaassist they saw the problem and contacted KLM directly to which point KLM sent me a DM and I had finally chosen my seats. YAY excited.

KLM MD-11




Looking around the cabin you immediately see the age of the aircraft with small tv screens but nevertheless, well maintained. My only other flight on an MD11 was Finnair JFK-HEL a few years ago which had a mechanical for 8hrs now that a doozy!

Since it was an open cabin in Economy Comfort people started to switch but were immediately stopped and told they couldn't since they were still selling seats, excuse me!
We took off and sure enough an announcement was made that there were plenty of seats available in EC and Business class and they would upsell you. Sure enough once the seat belt sign was turned off almost immediately after wheels up the purser was selling the seats and not only was she selling them, but allowing would be guest a test drive the seats.
I have never seen this happen on the aircraft as we climb to cruising altitude, sure at the gate but on the aircraft how tacky can you get! I was floored but this. Sure enough several people were testing out the seats and since my seatmate went to the bathroom they were trying to sell the two next to me! I told them no, someone is sitting here but the French passenger wanted to test out a window seat, I had to wave my finger Deltalina style saying no, someone is sitting there! eek.
my seatmate came hurrying back as he could see what was happening. This went on for 10 minutes of passenger trying out EC and traveling up to Business. Perhaps they could sell my seat and bump me up to Business, ha?!?

Perhaps its just my upbringing or the way I am but this to me was unexceptable, tacky, in poor taste and the fact they were testing out the seats with passengers next to them. I think my seat mate was just glad that someone wasn't testing out his seat let alone being sold. I hope this is an unusual turn of events for KLM!

Once the commotion settled down and the seats taken the service began, hot towelettes handed out which was a pleasant surprise. Drink service began followed by the usual chicken or..pasta, quick but efficient. Lights out and off to Amsterdam. I unfortunately slept through the breakfast so I can't comment on that but I surely need the sleep.

Drinks


Dinner


Just hanging out reading a book!!!


We landed on the outer runway which means a long taxi of 10-15 minutes. Once at the gate it was a quick exit to the Crown Lounge. I only had about 30 mins or so to relax and freshen up before my connecting flight to South Africa.

The lounge was quite packed today seeping with traveller everywhere. The Crown Lounge has great service and with a good assortment of food and drink offerings. Breakfast consisted of Pancakes, hard boiled eggs and the usual meats, cheeses, pasteries and bread. I of course had myself a mimosa or three before anything else. After munching away - note to self lay off the second helpings it's not helping the figure, traveler problems!!!
Fed, cleaned up and ready to go I headed down to the gate next stop Cape Town South Africa.




Last edited by nycflyer75; Mar 13, 13 at 10:33 pm.
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Old Mar 8, 13, 6:05 pm   #2
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: New York city, NY
Programs: DL DM, DL reserve, Hilton gold
Posts: 366
TRIP REPORT SOUTH AFRICA
WINTER 2012 (summer southern Hemisphere)

Part 1: JFK-YUL-AMS
Part 2: AMS-CPT
Part 3: Pepper Club Hotel & Spa
Part 4: Pepper club Hotel & Spa part II
Part 5: Cape Town
Part 6: CPT-JNB BA/Comair
part 7: JNB AirFrance Lounge/KLM JNB-AMS
part 8: AMS crown Lounge/KLM AMS-JFK


KLM
KL 597
Aircraft: 777-200
Actual seat: 14G
Depart: Amsterdam International Airport (AMS)
Arrive:Cape Town International Airport (CPT)
Sched.Departure: 9:25am Actual Departure: 9:35pm
Sched.Arrival:9:45pm Actual arrival: 9:40pm

Refreshed and fed and perhaps a little tipsy from the mimosa's in the KLM Crown Lounge 52 I headed down to the gate and as I walked up, there was a long line for security and nude-o-scope but luckily I saw a sign above for Elites and Business class with only 2 people in line *sweet!
It's moments like these I truly enjoy having status even if I am flying at the back of the bus. Less than 3 mins I was through security and the nude-o-scope. I do think that its great having the security at the individual gates though bad for bringing drinks through, since they are confiscated. What happens to duty free? Are you not allowed to take liquor etc?
On a side note I can't wait to have duty free on arrival at new arrivals hall for Delta at JFK terminal 4. I think it's a great idea and on my trips to Australia I do love the aspect of a shopping mall before you go to Immigration. Some say they hate it, but just walk right through, simple enough

AMS - KLM aircraft taking me down to Cape Town


Once on board, this flight immediately looked packed, certainly up front in EC. I once again prefer aisle seats, but maybe I should sit in the middle area on the aisle since I was constantly getting up to let the middle and window seat folks out. Luggage packed about, bose headset out, Delta new Tumi amenities kit out and lounge-ware pants on I was all set for the 11hr and 10min flight. Across from me a gentleman had the exact regiment and brand new tumi amenities kit as well, he caught my eye as I was holding my tumi pack in hand we both grinned. A fellow Delta traveller from the US heading down to Cape Town.

As I relaxed waiting for our departure, I heard the think Afrikaans accent of a South African gentleman sitting behind my fellow US traveller and his accent made me smile to hear that I would soon be to sunny, warm South Africa. How quickly that voice became irritating, not the accent but the constant chatter with his fellow seat mates and anyone who would listen - what do call those folks, who eagerly wait to make conversation with you, not polite conversation but needs to tell you everything from his gallstones to his love of his mother or the fact he loves wearing his bold in your face South Africa Jersey or how he can't wait to date a wonderful women! Oy Vay! and cue bose headphone on!

A quick taxi and we were off to South Africa.

flight map


The flight crew were efficient friendly during their service. I however did not have a chance to take pics, quite simply it was too hard to even get my arms as far back if not hitting the girl next to me to take a pic of well lets face it Economy food, I am sure 99% have no interest in seeing that.
As stated by OldRoyal - You know the food on KLM is delicious because all the packaging tells you so!

Since I generally fly a lot for work, I am not home much in NYC and the thought of going to the movie theater is non existent these days, so when I fly I try and catch up on as many movies as possible - Flying High Movie Marathon. Like most of you, I saw the movie " Up In The Air" well in the air of course!

Meal: Chinese chicken with rice, chocolate mouse, hot fresh bread rolls
Once the service was concluded I buckled down for my movie marathon. I was exhausted and worked hard to keep my eyes open. It was interesting that I don't think I've flown a day flight over 11hrs in years so most folks were wide awake and every shade was open with incredible glare.

Finally I crashed half way through a forgettable movie. I enjoyed the seat but was uncomfortable most of the flight, never truly finding a comfortable sleeping position, trying not to intrude on the middle seat person. Perhaps a glass of red wine and lunesta should have been in order.

Day flight over Africa


Snack's that were served during the flight : Ice-cream, ham or cheese sandwich and in the galley assortment of snacks e.g: mars bars, cookies, crackers as well as open cans of soda's and juices.

After a few hours of sleep, dinner service began 1hrs before arrival with chicken and rice, cous cous (horrible) bread roll and fresh cut apples as dessert. As much as I love flying this flight felt cramped or maybe because my ... is getting bigger from eating too much in the lounges and up front in Business...eek

Arrival in Cape Town


I could not see completely, but I am sure the window seat had an incredible views of the lights of Cape Town. Quick landing it was a short taxi to the gate. A BA 747-400 was parked next door, yikes hope there didn't just arrive, all I wanted to do was get to the hotel and crash. The US traveler guy asked me where I was coming from, I said, "NYC" and he said "Detroit" we had a friendly chat and no sooner were we bonding our buddy behind us struck up a conversation about how glad he was coming home, supposedly he lives in Myrtle Beach and so glad he didn't get caught with the snow. A tpyical NY'er would smile, nod and turn around and get on their phone. But the poor guy from Detroit got caught up in a major conversation and yet again talk at you conversation about his mother, gallstones, etc. I needed to get off this plane quick and far away from this conversation ha

As I power walked through the terminal to immigration (a cool aspect of the walk, there is large windows to the parked aircrafts and a view to the waiting area where you could see loved ones etc) phew empty immigration hall. As one of the first off the aircraft it took perhaps 5-10 mins to get through with 4 IO for non-South Africa Passports. To have entry into South Africa you must have two full pages free for their stamps. Well the stamps were two small round stamps and not even on a empty page! Go figure. I have heard that you need another page for a departure stamp. A friendly welcome to South Africa I was straight through customs to a waiting BMW car service for a quick trip to the Pepper Club hotel and spa.

I am in South Africa. YAY!

Last edited by nycflyer75; Mar 13, 13 at 10:33 pm.
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Old Mar 8, 13, 11:00 pm   #3
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: PHL
Programs: NEXUS, GE
Posts: 270
Great start to your trip report. I can't believe the inflight test drive. I have never experienced that on any of my flights. That really is tacky. I'm curious how much they were selling the upgrades for and if anyone purchased the seats. By the way the mental image of you waiving your finger Deltalina style had me cracking up. Thanks for the laugh!! I'm looking forward to reading the rest of your report.
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Old Mar 8, 13, 11:16 pm   #4
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: CLE/CAK
Programs: DL Gold (2.5MM program miles), Airtran A+ Elite, Hilton Diamond, Hertz President's Circle
Posts: 590
Having just returned from South Africa on KLM earlier this week, a few random observations:

1) You can just about eliminate all thoughts of having an open middle seat next to you in economy comfort as they were constantly bringing people up from coach throughout the first couple hours of the flight

2) The handheld control unit for the video sure works a lot better than Delta's touch screen controls.

3) For my money, the KLM Crown Lounge 52 at Schiphol has to be one of the nicest on the globe. Outstanding food (hot and cold, changed throughout the day, choice of two soups), fully stocked wine / champagne bar, Heineken on tap, Apple ipads scattered throughout the club, current newspapers from around the world, showers, deep sleep area (darkened quiet room with lounge chairs -- wake-up calls provided) and probably a few things I've forgotten.

4) When my AMS-ORD flight was cancelled, the Dutch had a rather structured manner of handling rebookings: those of us in the lounge that were on the flight were assigned numbers based on status (business class, then Diamond, Plat, Gold, etc.) and we were called to the desk for re-booking based on our assigned numbers (rather than wait, I just jumped on Delta.com).

5) You know the food on KLM is delicious because all the packaging tells you so!
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Old Mar 9, 13, 4:15 am   #5
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: New York city, NY
Programs: DL DM, DL reserve, Hilton gold
Posts: 366
@ Chiro1979 - thanks hope the rest of the installments are a good read

@OldRoyal I do agree with you, KLM Crown lounge 52 is outstanding, though since I was not there for very long I did not see the iPads, so I will certainly check them out on my return trip and thanks for the heads up on the deep sleep area, I have a 3hr layover and I might take a quick nap
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Old Mar 9, 13, 1:31 pm   #6
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: New York city, NY
Programs: DL DM, DL reserve, Hilton gold
Posts: 366
TRIP REPORT SOUTH AFRICA
WINTER 2012 (summer southern Hemisphere)

Part 1: JFK-YUL-AMS
Part 2: AMS-CPT
Part 3: Pepper Club Hotel & Spa
Part 4: Pepper club Hotel & Spa part II
Part 5: Cape Town
Part 6: CPT-JNB BA/Comair
part 7: JNB AirFrance Lounge/KLM JNB-AMS
part 8: AMS crown Lounge/KLM AMS-JFK

Greeted by a friendly Driver from the PepperClub Hotel and Spa he escorted me to the awaiting BMW out in the cool breezy 66F weather, this was heaven. He apologized for the breezy weather! You kidding, I just came from a Northern winter, I was glad not to be wearing a coat let alone can't wait to get into shorts.

20mins on a quite highway to the hotel in the BMW I was gleaming with excitement, especially since I could barely see anything in a hard night sky.

Pepper Club


Arrival at the hotel at around approx.10:40pm, I was greeted by the hotel doorman and offered a seat at the reception. Quick photocopy of my passport and key in hand it was up to the 11th floor. I wanted to venture out but I was also exhausted and wanted to sleep.

Reception desk


lounge area


lounge area


Elevator - whole lot of red (lift)


Walking into my room I was pleasantly surprised. To my immediate left was a frosted glass door for the toilet with a vanity mirror and sink, to my immediate right frosted class door for the closet which was lit up inside. In front of me a long hallway (for a hotel room) to the bedroom. As you walk in, to your right is a kitchenette with hotplates, oven, bar fridge and in the cupboards a dual toaster, microwave, and on the table a cappuccino machine - awesome!

A large king size bed, seating area and glass door to a large deck that surprisingly had no outdoor furniture. So of course what does one do, look over the other balconies to see if there was any furniture..nothing. Very odd! As I looked down, the streets were alive with young 20 somethings having a midweek night out and about. The energy soared up to me and brought a smile to my face.

Turning back into the room a large frosted door for the bathroom across from the bed that looked quite inviting. A large deep tub fit for a 6 foot man and my favorite item, a rain shower. I seriously need to get a rain show in my apartment. In fact every time I shower at home I almost cry knowing how incredible rain showers are and the exuberant life in hotels, well 5 star ones at least, sorry Hilton lol and to think of the miserable water pressure of my New York City apartment.

A nice array of toiletries by Charlotte Rhys Cape Town on display on the vanity. This room was indeed wonderful and to boot awesome soft lighting to make anyone from a long haul flight look like a Fitness Magazine model..ok maybe just look good against the soft lighting, ha.

Entrance to the room 1114


bedroom view from outside in


double door out to the large deck no furniture


Bedroom view out


bathroom


rain shower


view out bathroom


deep gorgeous bathtub


view from the room


awesome cappuccino machine



Since I was in a delightful mood, I decided to venture out into the streets to check out the vibe. It reminded me of Sydney, Australia or perhaps the northern beaches of Sydney. It definitely had a familiar feel to it. Lots of young men and women in shorts, tank tops and flip flops. Perhaps I was a little over dressed in khaki's and a ralph Lauren polo. Nevertheless I was intent on having a good time in Cape Town, but moments later my pushing late 30's body didn't agree with my 20 something brain and immediately headed back to the hotel to crash.

BTW note to everyone, South Africa has completely different outlets than rest of Africa. I bought an adapter and even asked for the right one for South Africa, and of course what would the Duane Reade guy know about South African Electrical outlets.(rolling eyes) So I have added a pic of what their outlets look like. Luckily there was a bedside outlet for european plugs, not adapters but plugs. I have Europe plugs for my apple products (glad I bought the international adapters for apple products) and there was one australian outlet which I used to power my laptop.

outlet


view from the pool


pool


pool


lounge area


Hotel Amenities, The hotel has nowledgable concierge staff as well as friendly bar staff, to the point of needing to say to myself chill and take it all in, perhaps this NYer is not warm enough, well not until you get several cocktails in me then, we are pals for life or at least Facebook friends, ha.

The gym has an incredible view of spectacular Table Mountain, to the point I was on the treadmill for 90mins watching the clouds spill over the mountain. There was decent equipment with free weights as well as two treadmills, bikes elliptical and weights machines. Towels and water provided as well as a 50 inch tv screen.

Luxury Car Service - I was picked up in a BMW and taken to the hotel which was around $45us but they also have private tours in the luxury cars. I found out later on my trip back to the airport, they are contractors.

The pool was cold but the views were truly spectacular, but it was just far to cold to take a dip. Towels were available as well as comfortable sun chairs. A Sauna and change rooms were also available, though I never used them.

The Spa - inviting amber scents and water with lemon incited you in. You walk through the spa reception desk to get to the pool. After looking at the list of products I was shocked how cheap facials were. In New York Facials go for $150 up and massages are in the same number. I had to make an appointment for their top facial deluxe which cost around $60us. I was taken down to a mens private shower room changed provided slippers and robe and escorted into the well scented room. The specialist was well informed and well trained not just in products, dermatology but simply customer serve with a soothing voice.

A 75min treatment and falling asleep on the bed I was woken up to her soothing voice and a bright cleansed face. She brought water though asked if I would like tea. As I left to change, I notice a selections of tea available.

Room Service is poor in choices but then there are so many restaurants outside, and a full functioning kitchen that really is no need for room service.

There is a turn down service that usually comes in around 8pm assuming you are out to dinner. My second night I had the room attend in to do turn down service. I assume it would be place water on the table, and remove the decorative pillow but she also checked the bathroom, cleaned out the trash and checked the toilet and then flushed...yikes hope I was a good boy and didn't pee on the seat or something lol

Next installment....The inclusive breakfast in the restaurant.

Last edited by nycflyer75; Mar 13, 13 at 10:34 pm.
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Old Mar 9, 13, 1:55 pm   #7
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: New York city, NY
Programs: DL DM, DL reserve, Hilton gold
Posts: 366
Breakfast Buffet
Part 1: JFK-YUL-AMS
Part 2: AMS-CPT
Part 3: Pepper Club Hotel & Spa
Part 4: Pepper club Hotel & Spa part II
Part 5: Cape Town
Part 6: CPT-JNB BA/Comair
part 7: JNB AirFrance Lounge/KLM JNB-AMS
part 8: AMS crown Lounge/KLM AMS-JFK

I booked the pepper Club hotel and Spa using cash and points which included breakfast each morning in the Sinatra restaurant. They had a good amount of hot food and cold items.
Hot food consisted of; scrambled eggs, fried tomatoes, beef and pork sausages, fried rice, baked beans, hash browns, and mushrooms. There was a selection of cold cuts as well as cereal and pastries. You could also order toast and poached eggs and/or an omelette.

out door seating


lounge


buffet


pastries


Breakfast

Last edited by nycflyer75; Mar 13, 13 at 10:34 pm.
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Old Mar 9, 13, 6:53 pm   #8
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: DCA
Programs: Delta PM Marriott Plat Hertz Gold
Posts: 146
Great TR.. Good writing style and flow can't wait to read the rest!
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Old Mar 10, 13, 6:38 am   #9
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: New York city, NY
Programs: DL DM, DL reserve, Hilton gold
Posts: 366
CAPE TOWN

Part 1: JFK-YUL-AMS
Part 2: AMS-CPT
Part 3: Pepper Club Hotel & Spa
Part 4: Pepper club Hotel & Spa part II
Part 5: Cape Town
Part 6: CPT-JNB BA/Comair
part 7: JNB AirFrance Lounge/KLM JNB-AMS
part 8: AMS crown Lounge/KLM AMS-JFK

After breakfast and long intense workout I went back to my room to open up my doors to a glorious day! Even though I hadn't seen much, I was already impressed with what I saw and the fresh smell from of the ocean. I think I was going to like Cape Town very much indeed. T shirt and shorts on ok and loafers I was not about to get flip flop to tour around in, I headed down to the lobby to catch the free shuttle to the V&A waterfront but alas they run every 2 hour but being such a gorgeous day I decided to walk through the CBD down to the water. There are parts of Cape Town that are very reminiscent of any city particularly Sydney, but then there a moment where I do feel I was definitely in Africa, with little shacks selling knick nacks on the corners. With the common were lots of sights, sounds and smells that were a nice change! It was a truly gorgeous day and I had forgotten what beautiful warm weather can do for the sole and spirit!

view from the room


Table Mountain


Table Mountain and Loop Street


It took about 30mins to walk down to the water and front and all I can say is WOW, just gorgeous. There is an upscale market on the waterfront that has great food selections and gourmet cookies, cupcakes and more, I definitely recommend checking it out. After walking around for about an hour and having lunch I decided to head further around the cape then without knowing it was already 7pm. I had forgotten about summer when the sun doesn't set till late. Oh I can't wait for Spring in NYC.

water front


water front dancing


One of my favorite things is to do is look in supermarkets and malls where the locals shop and check out what they buy in their daily life. I ended up buying one of my favorites when in Australia, Savory steak Pie and quiet cheap too.

Heading back towards the hotel I cam across a place called "Beefcakes", now what in the world could that be? I stopped stood there for perhaps 5mins staring to realize it's a burger joint and ALL the waiters not females, but all the waiters were Hunky, modelesk, fitness magazine dudes wearing skin tight jeans and skin tight muscle tank tops. Now I really need to start ordering Salads hold the dressing... especially if I was to eat there, I would look at them and put down the burger, it would be a good weight loss program. ha
Beefcakes


waterfront view


long street - hang out


Long Street is vibrant area of Cape Town with lots of restaurants, cafe's, bar and nightclubs. Right next to the hotel is an awesome, tasty and extremely cheap Indian/Middle Eastern Restaurant. It's not exactly a sit down and order but rather a buffet or made to order. I ate there twice and it was great to be surrounded by locals. Speaking of locals, I truly had a real hard time understanding some of the Capetonians. Their accent was just too hard to understand. Mind you I travel a lot and speak 6 languages, 3 of them fluently the rest conversational but this accent was just too hard to understand and they were speaking English. I am not sure what to call them but it seem to be the non-white speakers that I did not understand, perhaps it was the click language folks whom I found absolutely fascinating and often listening in on conversation on how it sounded. Quiet interesting the intonations. Sorry if I don't know which languages in a hurry since I am writing this at AMS before I get on my flight to the US and need to get it up before I depart. Please enlighten me if you know.

balcony restaurant


building




Friday night is definitely a loud night of partying in the Cape, Some of complained but I personally enjoyed it, only if I could go out and party all night long but I did not want to sleep the day away. I love the Energy of Cape Town and especially the neighborhood I was in.



friday night street view



friday night view left


Over all I am so glad I made this trip to Cape Town, my view of South Africa has changed for the better. It took 16 years to return to South Africa, and now I intend to come back this time with some friends to enjoy the nightlife and party life.

Last edited by nycflyer75; Mar 13, 13 at 10:35 pm.
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Old Mar 10, 13, 9:50 am   #10
 
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Great post. Being a native Capetonian myself I am curious to know if you explored the rest of the Cape, because you basically just mentioned Loop Street and the VA Waterfront ( biggest tourist traps ). One can really appreciate the breathtaking beauty of the region by taking day trips around the peninsula and the wine region.
The accent you referred to is really a dialect - mixture between Afrikaans an English - with mixed race Capetonians having the strongest accents. The other language is most likely Xhosa. After English, the most widely spoken of the 11 official languages in SA. Looking forward to the rest of your trip report.

Cheers.
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Old Mar 10, 13, 7:05 pm   #11
 
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thanks voyager77 for the clarification. I didn't get to see much of Cape Town just simply because of time constraints. I would have loved to have seen more, but just leaves more to see next time, which I hope wont be too long in the future.
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Old Mar 11, 13, 8:52 am   #12
 
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TRIP REPORT SOUTH AFRICA

Part 1: JFK-YUL-AMS
Part 2: AMS-CPT
Part 3: Pepper Club Hotel & Spa
Part 4: Pepper club Hotel & Spa part II
Part 5: Cape Town
Part 6: CPT-JNB BA/Comair
part 7: JNB AirFrance Lounge/KLM JNB-AMS
part 8: AMS crown Lounge/KLM AMS-JFK

BRITISH AIRWAYS - Comair
KL3762 code share with BA
Aircraft: B737-400
Actual seat: 21C
Depart: Cape Town International (CPT)
Arrive:Or tombo International Johannesburg (JNB)
Sched.Departure: 5:00pm Actual Departure : 5:02pm
Sched.Arrival: 7:00pm Actual arrival: 6:50pm

With my final day spent in Cape Town enjoying an awesome Restaurant Mama Africa and window shopping, it was time to say goodbye to Cape Town and head to CPT for my 5pm flight to JNB.
Heading to the airport my luxury driver (decided to use the Hotel luxury care service again) really knew how to handle a stick BMW weaving through traffic, driving next to a ferrari... Corners like its on rails. (Pretty woman) but seriously I was holding on tight to the seat in front of me a few times, ha.
It was a quick 15mins and after a great conversation we pulled up to the covered curb. I gave him a 100rand tip to which he was exuberant and grateful. I don't know if people tip in South Africa but it made me feel good to tip this guy. Perhaps 100rand is a lot for a tip in South Africa, I don't know either way I walked into the CPT airport smiling knowing Cape Town is now on my world list of favorite places.

Ferrari


The airport is brand new looking and airy and it was easy to figure out where to check in. I checked the board for my domestic flight and headed over to the empty British airways check-in, though I was earlier getting to the airport at 3:15pm. KLM code shares with BA for CPT-JNB At first I was confused at the signage, Club and Traveller, what does that mean? I could only assume club would not be me, nonetheless all the desks were free. Boarding passes in hand it was off to security. I was a little disappointed I was not going to earn milage for this flight and would have preferred to fly CPT-AMS but might as well enjoy the experience of a new domestic flight and check out JNB again after 16 years. I am sure being at the back of the plane today on BA will be just like missing the upgrade on LGA-ATL no big deal, short enough trip.

airport




Security was a breeze and the security personal were friendly and constantly smiling. Hear that TSA you can smile and be pleasant too, no barking orders! Though I do like have pre-check and getting those 3 beeps nowadays.(doesn't always happen)

Haircut anyone?


Gates




Walking to my gate, there is a wonderful views of the tarmac and views to the mountains. Good assortment of food outlets, chocolate stand, souvenirs and perhaps you want a haircut too. I on the other hand decided to buy a South African adapter and work on trip reports.

After working on my trip report I look up and see a line for the gate, must be boarding since we have 15mins to go. I admit I too stood in the line but I didn't know the line wasn't moving since it wasn't open yet, I officially joined the gate Lice, but glad that I did since the flight was completely full except for one seat in front of me damnit why wasn't it me with the free seat in-between. Kidding...maybe. I was grateful to have an aisle seat so I was happy about that but literally at the back of the bus row 21, ha. A rugby team from the States was also on my flight I can only assume heading home or a quick stop in JNB. I heard a lot of American and British accents on this flight. Thetwo girls beside me were from England. *Side not there were no premium lines for first class so everyone got in that one line.
Gate Lice


BA Aircraft


BA 737-400


As we were ready for pushback a fragrant smell traversed through the cabin. Strange that I could smell it all the way in the back but I'm sure it's for first class. A quick taxi to the runway and we were off bound for Johannesburg. Within a minutes or two which felt like millisecond the seatbelt sign was turned off. Why do we have ours in the US stay on for almost 10-20mins and everywhere else it's off in minutes?

As we climb the fragrant scent became stronger and definitely coming from the back galley. We're we in for "hot" food. Sure enough an announcement was made a choice of chicken or vegetarian for dinner!!! WHAT? You mean we get food and HOT?

Crazy to believe there is still a meal service on a domestic flight let alone a choice of two oh and WINE for free. That's crazy talk!!! Not bad sitting in coach I must say far cry from the US were you're rationed to one cup of soda and pick of either peanuts or, pretzels but not both on a 5hr flight JFK-LAX, granted businessElite is fab but when you miss the gate upgrade and starving. Burn. Haha

Sure enough the flight attendants moved to the front of the cabin with hot food. My eyes were bright eyed like a kid on Christmas Day, mouth watering like it was thanksgiving feast. Why was I getting so excited about coach food? Because it was on a domestic flight that's why lol.

I watched with anticipation as the cart moved ever so closer towards me. Finally the question I was waiting for, chicken or beef sir...ah vegetarian. With a big grin I said "chicken please"

Hot meal


Next the beverage cart was coming towards me, ready to order wine. Wait there's little baby bottles of booze in there too. I'm sure you have to pay for that, but as I watch intensely I notice in fact it's FREE! Yes, folks free hard liquor on a domestic flight. I was in flying heaven! No drink coupons need no EC needed just plain old fashioned free liquor and food. Ok when it was free back in the day I was far too young to drink, wait I don't even remember if it was free, was it?
The girls next to me were drinking beer and got the whole can too just like I received the whole can of diet coke. Loving me some British Airways

hard liquor


No matter I am here and now drinking my diet cock and Smirnoff with lemon eating my chicken noodle which was not too bad. A carrot salad and a biscuit for Dessert and a toothpick. How classy.

Smiling with content I noticed a passenger at the front of the plane moved through the curtain into first class to use the front lavatory, which I hate back in the states but I was grateful since he left the curtains open to view the open cockpit door. What an airplane cockpit door open with no trolly barracked or Eagle eyes of the flight attendants standing guard.
Far from it, The passenger strolled past the open cockpit into the bathroom smiling at the flight attendant serving the pilots dinner. Wow! That's all I can say Wow. We live in a different world in the US now under constant threat but it was a pleasant change to watch, it reminded me of being a kid and getting to see the cockpit. I remember one flight from Honolulu to Nadi my father knew the pilot and I had the chance to sit in the jump seat and stare out the window into the night sky while my dad chatted with the captain, co pilot and if I remember correctly flight engineer. I don't remember much other than it was a 747 and the stars were sparkling bright and so much closer. I think it was on Air Pacific, I was maybe 5 or 6. How things change!

I sat in my aisle seat in the back, highly impressed. It also made the flight go by much faster having a meal service.
The flight crew were efficient and extremely friendly and lively. Thoroughly enjoyed their service. One thing I have noticed in South Africa everyone calls you sir or ma'm from the bathroom attendant, to the store clerks to pretty much everyone. Very polite society and always with a warm smile.

Coming in for landing ALL the lights except for the no smoking and seat belt sign were still on. It felt like an overnight flight. As I caught a glimpse of the setting red sun over South Africa we came into land at JNB. Perhaps its the one time I wish I had a window seat to take pictures of the glorious sun set over Africa.
I might have preferred a skyteam flight but I am so glad I had the chance to experience a BA 737 domestic flight. We quickly pulled up to the gate and headed off to international departures.

Last edited by nycflyer75; Mar 13, 13 at 10:35 pm.
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Old Mar 11, 13, 3:14 pm   #13
 
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Love your report!

Free booze on flights is second nature to us die hard BA regulars......!
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Old Mar 11, 13, 3:58 pm   #14
 
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Excellent trip report!

I stayed in the Pepper Club for a few nights on honeymoon in 2011 and it was excellent. Seeing your pictures brings back some excellent memories and really makes me and my wife want to go back. The bed was superb and it felt like we were sleeping on a cloud.

Waking up in the morning and looking out the window to see Table Mountain is something that will stay with us for life.

If we didn't already have a couple of holidays already booked/planned for this year I reckon we would head back to Cape Town.
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Old Mar 11, 13, 5:29 pm   #15
 
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Good stuff nycflyer75!
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