The fastest elevator in the world is in Shanghai Tower in China. According to Guinness World Records, it rockets along at a giddy 73.8 km/hour, or 20.5 metres per second, which is a slower than a cheetah but faster than Usain Bolt. A trip from, say, the first to the 95th floor takes under 45 seconds.
There is no need, however, for timeshare owners at Cabana Beach to be alarmed; on the contrary. While the resort’s elevators are going to be replaced by faster ones built by the same company that made those in Shanghai Tower – Mitsubishi – they are not going to blow one’s hair back on the ascent, although they will certainly impress with their stylishness … and calmly dignified speed.
Louise Otto, Deputy General-Manager, said the current four elevators, which form part of the original building, had reached the end of their lifespan and are due for routine upgrading. The work was put out to tender and a contractor selected, with Cabana Beach choosing the “Rolls-Royce option” as the one suited to its discerning ambience and clientele. The elevators are now being assembled in Japan, and are expected to be shipped to South Africa by January 2019, at which point installation will begin.
What are the big improvements to look forward to? Certain of the changes will leap out as a pleasure to the eye; just as important, though, are the ones few people usually behold. Behind the scenes, in the shafts, wiring and hoisting, the elevators boast a number of technological enhancements. These changes will not be seen – rather, they will be felt and experienced.
“The interior is where the design is,” Louise said, “and that’s where the wow-factor is: you walk and see this beautiful cabin, done in a modern, simple way that fits in with the flow of the resort and the fact that the lifts take a lot of traffic. But the main difference will be in the speed and smoothness. The doors don’t bang and shake, for example, but open and close seamlessly. It’s going to be a smoother, quieter, faster ride-experience. Guests are going to see the improvements as well as feel them.”
Speaking of speed, how fast exactly is the new model of elevator? Unlike its cousin in Shanghai, the one due to arrive in Umhlanga travels at a sweet but stately 1.75 metres per second, or 6.3 km/hour. The accent is on comfort and efficiency – and not only efficiency of motion. The new elevators come with significant energy savings, as it is estimated they will use 40% less electrical power than the old.
The first pair of elevators is scheduled to be installed between 19 January – 19 April 2019, and the second, between 19 April – 19 July.