This Cullinan is a real diamond

In 1905 the biggest diamond in the world, weighing 3 106 carats, was mined in South Africa and named the Cullinan or Star of Africa. Last week I was lucky to discover the majestic Cullinan in Cape Town.

In 1905 the biggest diamond in the world, weighing 3 106 carats, was mined in South Africa and named the Cullinan or Star of Africa. Last week I was lucky to discover the majestic Cullinan in Cape Town.

It's a grand five-star hotel not far from the V&A Waterfront. It towers over everything around it with its elegant, timeless Cape traditional architecture fused with modern finishings.

As I was chauffeured from the airport, sitting in the back of the latest Merc, I saw this white building with the Table Mountain as a backdrop. I thought to myself: "That's not where I'm going. I'm just a simple guy." I was wrong.

The pillars at the front entrance resemble those of the White House.

The moment I set foot inside I changed my gait. I stepped with a swagger over the marble floor because I was now Mr Big.

The high ceiling dwarfs everything beneath it and you are greeted by a staircase that snakes up to the next floor. The well-trimmed steel balustrade lures you to use the stairs and forget about the elevator.

The foyer, supported by roof-high columns and lavishly furnished, seemed to say: "Just rest here for a bit."

I was attended to by a woman with a beaming smile at reception and wished she were part of my stay package ... no, just as a tour guide.

The service is efficient and the staff make you feel as if you're El Presidente.

My room and its queen-sized bed were so big I thought I would be sharing with somebody else. I don't know much about abstract art but the colourful paintings on the walls imparted a happy light-hearted atmosphere.

Once inside I turned on my big flat screen TV and channel- hopped from one news station to the next trying to get the best coverage of the former president's recall by his party.

Close the curtains at your peril because sunshine does not filter through. So I suggest you set the alarm or place a wake-up call if you have an early-morning engagement.

My favourite spot in the hotel was the luxurious ladies' cocktail bar. I spent at least three hours there and how I felt afterwards is nobody's business.

After shedding a few kilos in the hotel's gym in the morning, I proceeded to the buffet breakfast to pile them back on.

With Cape Town's unfriendly weather denying me any fun on the beach, I opted for the hotel's pool - sipping a cocktail while lying face-up on an inflatable.

There's also an in-house spa for those who like to be touched all over and there's even a doctor and dentist on call.

The Cullinan's location provides one with a 3-G view of Table Mountain, the city and the bustling harbour.

And for business travellers the Cape Town International Convention Centre is right on your doorstep. Secretarial services are available on request. The hotel offers a full range of business services, from high Internet access and faxes to photocopying.

With the World Cup 2010 approaching fast, this Star of Africa will no doubt be one of the major players in the hospitality industry.

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