R110m upgrade for the Ritz

Nicky van der Walt and his wife, model Lee-Ann Liebenberg are involved in the multi-million rand upgrade of the Ritz. This picture of the couple, with their daughters Gia and Gabriella was taken on Clifton beach last year.

Cape Town’s iconic revolving restaurant, Top of the Ritz, is revolving again after months of renovations and will be reopened in December as part of a R110 million upgrade of the hotel.

Kobus van Schoor, of Mantis Architecture, said it was a thrill for him to be working on the Sea Point landmark.

The project is part of a complete overhaul of the Ritz Hotel by the new owners, Shimmy Luxury Collection. The new-look Ritz will include a spa and nightclub.

But perhaps the most captivating part of the hotel is the revolving restaurant.

Mr Van Schoor said it is something he is excited to be a part of.

One of the most difficult things about designing the new restaurant was making sure all the furniture could get in a lift to get to the 21st floor. As far as the motor goes, well, that part is relatively simple, says Mr Van Schoor. “It is just four motors on a rubber wheel that is on a track. It is the outer core of the restaurant that revolves. What we’ve done though is that we’ve mirrored the inner core so that it gives the illusion that it is see through,” he said.

They’ve already run a few successful tests and a full rotation takes 45 minutes.

“It is exciting to be part of this landmark building. It became a trend in the 1960s, and I think there are only a few others in South Africa, there is one in Durban and one in Bloemfontein.”

The restaurant is part of the bigger refurbishment by Shimmy Luxury Collection CEO and co-founder Nicky van der Walt, husband of South Africa model and celebrity Lee-Ann Liebenberg, who is handling the creative design aspect of the upgrade.

“We are about design driven accessible luxury in a manner which is incomparable and unconventional,” Mr Van der Walt said.

Celebrity Chef Bertus will be in charge of the food at the restaurant. The design of the hotel will include 48 city rooms, 106 deluxe rooms, 50 luxury rooms and six suites and two luxurious sky villas.

The hotel will also be opening a nightclub on the basement level once all the necessary impact assessment studies are concluded. It will be an exclusive club hosting world-renowned DJ Black Coffee in a first time ever residency capacity.