Newly refurbished and quite different from its days as The Sheraton, the Lobby could be that of any international hotel.
by le connoisseur
The ladies toilet reminded me of a mini-Shell Ultra City on the motorway to Johannesburg, like the lobby and restaurant area it was functional, clean and brightly lit.
Not much was happening when we arrived just before mid-day and we had a good look around before settling ourselves in comfy chairs in the Coffee Bar, which is an area on one side of the lobby and includes an attractively designed bar.
The cool cabinet at the entrance to the Coffee Bar displays a mouthwatering array of cakes and “ploughman” size chicken and beef pies.
In addition there is a menu offering “all-day breakfast” (US$14), burgers (US$9), sandwiches (US$7/US$8), salads (US$4), spring rolls (US$6) and chicken wings (US$6). An adequate all-day menu and very reasonably priced for a luxury hotel. There was a pleasant view onto the lawns of the hotel from our table but our excitement was suddenly shattered by the appearance of fully armed soldiers all around the outside.
More disturbance inside and then the arrival of a very large lunch party of “suits and Raybans” and a lesser number of smartly dressed women including the President of Malawi for whom (we failed to notice when we arrived) the red carpet had been laid. The chance of such excitement or other entertaining sights from the Conference Centre delegates is an added attraction unique to this venue!
Tempted as I was by the breakfast, my choice as it was now mid-day was the chicken wings with tomato chilli sauce, chips and salad — tasty enough in a bland hotel way, excellent crispy fat chips and a salad which was barely a garnish. My guest ordered a chicken pie which was a well-filled puff pastry encased pie also with a salad garnish.
And of course we had to sample the delicious looking cakes — chocolate (US$5) and vanilla (US$4). Both were pleasantly light sponges, with alternate layers of sponge and icing and not as daunting to eat as they looked — we finished both of them having protested when they arrived!
And finally our coffee, excellent and hot, which it should be as I thought it expensive at US$3 for filter and US$4 for cappuccino but on reflection decided that was probably necessary to retain the exclusivity of the area. I noticed our bill was headed “La Patesserie”(sic.), the incorrect spelling is a minor matter but should be rectified.
I was pleasantly surprised by my lunch and though I am unlikely to drop in casually in the future as it is not an area I frequent, I would not hesitate to recommend it. The service was rather slow despite there being very few diners, this needs to be improved as many coffee shop eaters chose this informal venue because they are in a hurry. During our meal we were serenaded by a pianist which added an air of exclusivity.
The possibility of seeing a VIP with all the attendant paparazzi and onlookers is an additional and free attraction, as indeed is the plentiful on-site guarded parking.
Rainbow Towers Hotel
Expect to spend US$7 to US$20 per head