Browsing Tag

hotels

The Palace at Sun City

Adventures in North West Province: 24 Hours at Sun City

Last month I spent a weekend in Groot Marico, a whacky hippie town in North West Province. Soon after booking the Groot Marico trip, I received an invitation to spend the night at Sun City during the same week. I was really excited. I’d never been to Sun City — which is like a South African Vegas — and had been awaiting an opportunity for years. Since Groot Marico and Sun City are both in North West, I decided to extend my stay in Groot Marico for a day so I could go straight from there to Sun City. If you’ve been to both Groot Marico and Sun City, you’ll appreciate the humor in this arrangement. Groot Marico and Sun City are in the same province but they might as well exist in two different dimensions. “The Palace of the Lost City” at Sun City. I was invited to Sun City to participate in the festivities leading up to the Nedbank Golf Challenge, the biggest pro golf tournament in South Africa. I attended the Nedbank Golf Challenge Welcome Dinner, as well as an event called the Style Affair — a ladies’ morning in which women were invited to lounge around […]

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The Best Massage in Joburg

In 2014, while working on the SandtonPlaces book, I made a brief visit to the Indaba Hotel in Fourways. I took a walk around the hotel grounds with the marketing person, looked at the rooms, the restaurants, etc. Then we went to see the spa, and my eyes widened. I vowed to go back there someday for a massage. Three years later I finally got my chance, when Hello Joburg Magazine invited me to participate in a blogger event at the Indaba. I got to have dinner at the hotel, spend the night, and then enjoy an entire morning at the hotel’s Mowana Spa where I received not one, not two, but three incredible massages. The Hotel First, the hotel. The Indaba is a large hotel and conference center, just off William Nicol Drive in Fourways. I know what the locals among you are thinking: William Nicol Drive does not seem like the most peaceful place for a relaxing getaway. Trust me though, once inside the hotel grounds you’ll have no idea that you’re steps away from the horrors of Fourways traffic. Everything is green, the fountains are trickling, the birds are singing. The real world disappears. The Indaba Hotel […]

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Click Boutique Hotel garden

Quickie Restaurant (and Hotel) Review: Clico Boutique Hotel

Last month Ray and I were invited to enjoy dinner, bed, and breakfast at the Clico Boutique Hotel in Rosebank. I jumped at the chance. People are always asking me for Joburg hotel recommendations, but I rarely have much to offer because who spends the night at hotels in their own city? I was also eager to try Clico’s restaurant as I’d heard good things. My birthday was in July so I decided to schedule our visit on that day, and Clico turned out to be a great place for a sumptuous birthday feast. Dinner at Clico. The garden and pool area at Clico Boutique Hotel. What I liked about Clico: 1) The location. Clico is in Rosebank, just a couple of blocks from the Gautrain station and across the street from the Keyes Art Mile. 2) The service. The reception staff, wait staff, and everyone working at Clico were particularly outgoing and friendly. I offered some feedback after my stay via email, and the Clico management responded immediately in a positive and proactive manner. 3) The wifi. Clico has free, unlimited wifi with a simple password and no silly vouchers or megabyte limits. WHY DOESN’T EVERY HOTEL DO THIS? 4) The […]

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W Hotel Room in Istanbul

Listen Up, Hotels: My 5 Most Annoying Hotel Room Quirks

This post has been bouncing around in my head for a while but I’ve been hesitant to write it. I generally try to highlight positive travel experiences in my blog, and nitpicking about hotel rooms doesn’t fit that theme. Also no one likes a whiner, and whining about little issues in hotel rooms seems so #FirstWorldProblems. I’ve been fortunate to stay in many lovely hotels: Who am I to complain? However. There are a few hotel room quirks that I’ve observed over and over and some of them seem to be increasing in frequency, to my great bewilderment. I have decided it is my responsibility as a frequent traveler and blogger to point out these annoying quirks, in hopes that they might be rectified or averted in the future. If I can convince just one hotel room designer to decide against placing the toilet in full view of the bed, then writing this post will be worth it. Here are my top five most annoying hotel room quirks. Note that I don’t have photos to illustrate all of these quirks, as it doesn’t usually occur to me to take photos of things that I hate. Annoying Hotel Quirk #5: Poor lighting Low light can be […]

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A Tale of Three Durban Hotels

A bit of background: Ray and I planned a trip to the Wild Coast, which you can read about in this dramatic series of posts. The Wild Coast is too far from Joburg to drive to in one day so we stopped in Durban along the way, and then again on the way back. (In fact, we realized that some parts of the Wild Coast are also too far from Durban to drive to in one day. Refer to the dramatic series above.) As we were on a tight budget for our Wild Coast trip, I used my travel blogger status to negotiate free stays at two different Tsogo Sun hotels one on either side of the journey. (We paid for the rest of the trip on our own. Someday soon I’m going to write a whole post about the politics of blogger freebies.) As I mentioned in a previous post, I used to shun big-chain hotels but I’ve recently come to realize that they have their advantages. On our first night of the trip we rolled into “the Golden Mile” (the local name for Durban’s beachfront) and checked in to the Garden Court Marine Parade, a mid-range hotel with rooms starting at R1250 ($100). Our newly renovated […]

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Joburg’s Coolest Luxury Hotel (and it’s not in Sandton)

Last week, in another stroke of blogging magic, I spent a night at the Four Seasons Westcliff. (The hotel’s official name is Four Seasons Hotel the Westcliff Johannesburg. That name is a bit verbose, in my opinion, so I’ll call it the Four Seasons Westcliff. No offense, Four Seasons peeps — I just like to be concise.) The Four Seasons Westcliff, formerly called the Westcliff Hotel, is less than two miles from my house in Melville. The old Westcliff Hotel was known for its afternoon tea, and I’d always meant to go but somehow never did — I was always short of cash or couldn’t get a reservation. Then the hotel was purchased by Four Seasons in 2013, and closed for a yearlong-plus revamp. I had missed my chance, or so I thought. The new Four Seasons Westcliff. You might remember that the old hotel was pink. The new hotel has been repainted a dignified beige. Two years later I got my chance after all, in the form of an invite to a blogger evening at the Four Seasons Westcliff — drinks, dinner, a spa treatment, and a night at the hotel. (In case you’re wondering: Four Seasons Westcliff has not yet resumed the tradition of afternoon tea. […]

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