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Monday, March 12, 2012


Last week, I was able to take in the Show & Stay Package for The Phantom of the Opera at the SunSquare Hotel. I had already reviewed this excellent and cost-effective offer from Montecasino at the other two hotels: The Palazzo and the Southern Sun Montecasino.

SunSquare is publicised as a funky and trendy hotel leading onto the Piazza. While the outside of the hotel reflects Montecasino’s Tuscany style, inside there’s a more modern retro look reminiscent of the 1950’s style.

The rooms are functional and rather austere at first glance. This hotel is highly suitable for business people or those attending conferences as there is plenty of workspace for a laptop and papers. Explore further and you’ll find nice details such as a light that goes on in the cupboard when you open it and a fun telephone in the shape of two massive red lips. There are well-positioned plugs for every kind of adaptor. Don’t worry if you can’t see tea or coffee-making facilities, they are tidied away in a cupboard to be pulled out if required.

As seems to be a trend these days, the basin forms part of the room while the shower and toilet are placed alongside, enclosed in cubicles. So you need to be comfortable with your partner’s ablution habits with this set-up!

Dinner and breakfast take place in the airy MondoVino Restaurant which opens onto the Piazza. Offsetting the orange, green, black and taupe walls, lighting is used creatively with tall glass neon tubes in ice-cream colours behind the bar. There are a few high counters and tabletops of attractive marble from Turkey which are underlit to add to the ambiance. Again, there is focus on those who are locked to their laptops with power outlets tucked away out of sight allowing people to work and enjoy a drink at the bar at the same time.

Dinner was excellent – I had a splendid steak on an interestingly designed plate and my sister had a pasta dish. The presentation of the salad was geometrically tidy, echoing the style of the room. I only wish we had had more time to take pleasure in the meal but my plane from Durban had been delayed which meant we were on a tight schedule. However, we enjoyed a much more leisurely breakfast enhanced by the company of Bryan Hill, the General Manager of the Teatro, as we enthused over the previous night’s performance.

There’s a good wine list which includes a Fun Collection with titles such as Kitchen Thief, Hoity Toity and In My Bed. The menu is wide ranging – obviously there is a strong focus on Italian cooking - and vegetarians will have much to choose from.

The General Manager of the SunSquare, Jacques Heath, is a perfect host. Alert to every guest’s needs, he is neither officious nor unctuous but charming, friendly and interactive.

All in all, it was a marvellous 48 hours – magnificent show, great food, comfortable bed and the early morning feel of an Italian piazza with the bell chimes, although apparently some people complain that it’s intrusive! They must be nuts!

Show and Stay for The Phantom of the Opera at SunSquare is R2,270.00 for two people sharing. The other two hotels are the luxurious Tuscan-styled Palazzo Montecasino (R3,210.00) and the modern and contemporary Venetian-styled Southern Sun Montecasino (R2,730.00).

The Show and Stay packages for at these rates are valid for a Friday or Saturday night only. They include – for two people – a two-course dinner in the hotel restaurant, theatre tickets and programme, overnight stay and breakfast. Bookings: or 011 367 4250 or visit My review of Phantom is at - Caroline Smart