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2017 Volvo S90: A high tea adventure

2017-05-08 07:05

WHAT A CAR:'Like a dream The Volvo S90 oozes style, but maintains safety and performance,' writes Melinda Ferguson. Image: Volvo South Africa

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The 2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country is now available in South Africa.

Melinda Ferguson

Between the zen experience of driving the new Volvo S90, and a decadent sugar overload of high teas at the iconic Belmond Mount Nelson and trendy One&Only hotels, *Melinda Ferguson thoroughly recommends all three for Mother’s Day gifts.

Volvo S90 from R871 900

Cape Town - Whether you choose to call it “high tea” or “afternoon tea”, the ritual of pastries, savouries and exotic teas is a fab way to bond, especially if you are planning to treat your beloved mom next week on Mother’s Day. It’s a tradition that originated among the wealthy on that rainy island called England during the 1840s but, by the latter half of the 19th century, both the moneyed and working classes observed the tradition.

I recently got to tantalise my taste buds at two of Cape Town’s top high tea spots – the iconic Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel, situated in leafy Gardens; and the urbanely chic One&Only, at tourist hot spot the V&A Waterfront.

I carefully chose an understated, luxurious set of wheels, the phenomenal 2.0-litre Volvo S90, to match my swanning between Ceylons and Earl Greys.

New S90

Over the past few years, the Swedish manufacturer has shaken off any hints of fuddy-duddy, becoming the epitome of a brand that oozes style without compromising on safety and performance. What especially impressed, as I headed off on my high tea adventure, was the S90’s clean, uncluttered interior layout. The cabin boasts wood trim, tasteful metallic adornments and plush nappa leather. The real winner to calm my ADD tendencies was the intuitive touch screen, which is simply a dream to operate.

First stop was the Nellie, which, since its opening in 1899, has played host to an impressive guest list, from crime writer Agatha Christie to the Dalai Lama and pop star Elton John. In fact, the other John – Lennon – also spent time at the hotel in 1988, a few months before his untimely death. He booked in under “Mr Greenwood” and was, according to staff reports, exceptionally tidy – he even made his own bed.

Afternoon Tea at the Belmond Mount Nelson was a sumptuous affair – it was hard work to choose between the array of sweet and savoury delicacies. Sugar soon won. The chocolate dome, peppermint crisp cremeux, banana caramel, amaretto petit fours, passion fruit and chocolate delice, and pistachio dobos forced me into glucose overdrive. The local lekkers comprising melktert, Hertzoggies and Cape Malay koeksisters almost got me comatose.

Enjoying a day at the beach behind the wheel of the new @volvocarsa #s90 sedan. @wheels24_sa #volvo

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I had a week to recover before my next tea date at the One&Only. While I watched my waistline, I whizzed around town in my Swedish wheels, getting drunk on sound banging from the Bowers & Wilkins 19 speakers. The S90, with its 2.0-litre 4-cylinder twin-charged petrol engine, was sublime on every level. Plus, she was as speedy as hell. With 235kW of heady power and 400Nm of torque, the S90 hurtled from 0km to 100km in just 5.9 seconds, while top speeding at 250km/h. With these figures you’d probably expect her to be a glutton for fuel, but she came in sipping a respectable 7.2-litres per 100km.

New @volvocarsa #s90. Possibly the best looking sedan in its segment. @wheels24_sa #volvo

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By the time I hit the One&Only, I’d found my inner zen and sworn off sugar. As I nestled into the Vista Lounge, overlooking the aqua-blue marina and Table Mountain, I thoughtfully sipped on an array of exotic leaf tea, while nibbling at the savoury buffet selection of elegant sandwiches, strips of rare beef and crispy spring rolls.

I blame it on the gold leaf eclairs for obliterating my sugar resistance. The home-made marshmallow and passion fruit macaroons and the to-die-for vanilla bean cheesecake ganged up on me, and then the fresh scones with clotted cream came in for the final knockout.

Glucose heaven: The dangerously delicious high tea offering at the One & Only hotel. Image: Supplied

Fortunately, my Swedish steed, in all her safety glory, was there to drive me home. Packed with the usual standard safety equipment including ABS, EBD, Dynamic Stability Traction Control, the S90 additionally has the amazingly high-tech IntelliSafe, incorporating City Safety, effectively detecting pedestrians, cyclists and large animals both day and night. Front Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake, Lane Keeping Aid, Lane Departure Warning and Driver Alert Control further make up one of the safest cars ever built.

When I hit the roadblock, I was thankful that the cops didn’t test my sugar levels.

*Ferguson was a guest of both establishments

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