Silk-smooth elevators opening soon at Cabana Beach

Silk-smooth elevators opening soon at Cabana Beach

Elevator systems at Cabana Beach Resort went under renovation this year in a task involving way more than “spit and polish”. Work on installing all-new elevator carriages and shaft machinery is in full gear, and once this is finished, the result, manufacturers say, should be a ride so smooth you can close your eyes before lift-off, arrive at your floor, and not realise you’ve moved until your eyes open again.

The refurbishment, which began in late January and is due to be completed by mid-August, is being undertaken in two stages. Cabana Beach has two elevator shafts, each of which in turn houses two carriages that travel up and down next to one another as if slotted inside a double-garage of sorts. The logical plan thus has been to tackle the shafts a stage at a time, keeping one pair of elevators open for use while the other pair is in for a makeover and, consequently, out of commission.

Stage 1, under way at the moment and covering elevators A and B, is set to be finished by mid-May, after which work will move over in stage 2 to elevators C and D.

Barend Olivier, General Manager, said the job is extensive: “It’s not a quick-fix or a bit of spit and polish. It’s about gutting the shafts and building them up again, almost like taking a house down and starting from scratch. This is why the process is being carried out over an extended period of time.”

In the work done to date and to be replicated in stage 2, the first of the two 15-storey-high concrete shafts was stripped top to bottom of its previous steelwork, then cleaned and repainted. This included taking out old motors in the plant room at the top of the shaft, given that in the new elevator system the motors for the carriages are located within the shaft itself.

From there onwards, this “white box” shaft has been undergoing refitting with new railings, steering guides, support beams and the like, in addition to which more lighting was installed in compliance with current regulations.

“Even with the elevator carriages, it’s been more than a case of putting in a new façade,” Barend said. “The carriages are being dismantled and replaced with brand-new ones, of a new make and from a new manufacturer. As for the interiors, we’re customising them with a fresh Mediterranean look and feel that we’re planning to introduce later throughout the rest of the resort.”

There are several reasons for refurbishing the property’s elevator systems.

“The first reason has to do with the corrosion associated with the resort’s being so close to the ocean. This has made the refurbishment necessary from the point of view of health and safety. The second is that the current elevators are not as efficient as they used to be. As a result, they’re experiencing breakdowns and giving rise to various maintenance issues.

“The third reason is that our aim is always to reduce our carbon footprint. In terms of cost savings, it’s estimated that the new elevators will be 30-40% more efficient on electricity usage than the old.”

The crowning reason, of course, is to make elevator travel at Cabana Beach as smooth, swift and sweet as possible – a requirement for which these gliders fresh out of the box are eminently suited. “The manufacturers say that if you close your eyes in the elevators and someone presses the button, the ride is so smooth you wouldn’t be sure if you’re still on the ground floor or if you’ve moved up.”

Aesthetically, too, the elevators are as calmly uplifting for the heart and soul as their state-of-the-art mechanics are for the body. Mirrors, recessed lighting, soft-gloss grey veneers, and panelling styled as beams of seasoned boating timber coalesce with a breathtaking ocean mural – rippling water, deep blues, feathery turquoise shadings – to produce the sense of being unhurriedly afloat in a canopy of hi-tech and glass somewhere in the midst of a glorious, never-ending expanse of sea. “You’ll feel,” said Barend, “as if you should be relaxing with a cocktail.”

Hard work is in progress to ready the way for this silk-smooth experience, and Cabana Beach thanks guests for their patience and cooperation during a period in which only two of the resort’s four guest elevators will be in operation at a time.

To minimise inconvenience, we have spruced up our service elevators and landings to enable guests to have the option of using these as well if they wish. Measures are also being taken to limit staff use of service elevators and keep them free for guests while the main elevators undergo refurbishment.

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