Following the devastating fires in the Table Mountain National Park over the past week, The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa re-opened for business on Monday, October 16.
“We are extremely grateful to the various Cape Town hotels that stepped in to assist with accommodating our 102 guests, at very short notice,” says Michael Nel, General Manager of The Twelve Apostles.
“Under the circumstances, the safety of our guests and staff were our priority, which prompted us to take the decision to evacuate the property at 19h00 on Friday evening. With the transport assistance of Greet van Doorn at Hilton Ross, Wayne Lotter from MotorCoach, Ryno du Rand from Tinswalo Atlantic and Unicab, 102 guests & 130 of our staff was moved initially to the NSRI in Hout Bay and then to other Cape Town hotels and private homes.”
“Our most sincere thanks also go out to the approximately 140 fire-fighters who were deployed and Dean Ferreira and his team from NCC Environmental Services all of whom worked tirelessly and bravely in extraordinary circumstances to protect our property. Thank-you from the bottom of our hearts for your heroism and incredible efforts in saving our Hotel.”
According to Nel, NCC will remain on the property for as long as is necessary, on the alert for any flare-ups. The contracted cleaning company has been working 24 hours a day over the last three days, with the initial cleaning of the hotel and a further 30 specialised cleaners have been commissioned. Approximately 100 staff are currently at work in the Hotel, deep-cleaning to remove the soot and the smell of smoke. The outside of the building is due to be washed and clean-up is expected to continue for a number of weeks.
“It is most unfortunate, that the recent incident has highlighted once again, the inadequacy of the fire-fighting infrastructure available to the hotel and the fire-fighting authorities,” says Michael Tollman, a director of the Red Carnation Hotel Group. “The Hotel was under severe threat of burning to the ground, but the fire hydrants, at the back of the property were rendered inadequate when the fire department started to pump water from the front of the Hotel, due to the low water pressure.”
“This situation is the result of an ongoing discussion with the City of Cape Town that has come to a grinding halt, due to bureaucracy and red-tape,” he continues.
“The Twelve Apostles applied, some three years ago, to the City to be able to subdivide a portion of the land around the Hotel, for the sole purpose of improving the firefighting capabilities of the Hotel.”
“Despite repeated pleas to bring this matter to finality over this period, the application has progressed at an exceptionally slow pace. We have had countless discussions with the City imploring them to bring this matter to finality for us to be in an improved position to protect the Hotel from the very situation we have just been through.”
“The City of Cape Town prides itself on not being bureaucratic, but our experience has shown otherwise,” Tollman says. “Our Hotel should never have been placed in the peril it has found itself, because of needless bureaucracy.”