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July 8, 2001
Heavy drapes with no apparent airplane noise (the last flight out is at 2200 hours). Our room was always quiet.
Only a few steps from the International Arrivals Hall via an outside walkway (porter service available), I believe that this hotel will have a physical connection to the new airport building when it is finished. Official airport porters wear dark blue uniforms with large numbers on the front and back like football players. The numbers identify the porters on the security cameras. At the time of my several visits to this airport (May 2001) the going rate for tipping was R5 per bag. Slightly more than $0.60 USD. There are large numbers of ''legal'' porters. Do not use any of the others. Theft warnings are all over the airport. You must get your luggage off the carosel yourself unless you are obviously disabled, and out through customs and the security gate. It''s not far, especially when compared to an American airport like D-FW. The walk took me about 5 minutes.
If you are changing planes in Johannesburg and need a place for an overnight stay, this is a top choice.
The indoor pool on the 8th floor is lavish. I wonder how they did that?
The additional benefit of being able to ''''Duty Free Shop'''' while in your own room at this hotel, is a bonus. You can order via the television and telephone.
This hotel has exteme attention to detail. We had at least 2 pieces of beautiful African wood carvings in our room. The hallways have beautiful items also.
I''''m not aware that this hotel had a gift shop, but I may have missed it (perhaps the only hotel gift shop I missed the whole trip). We were only there for less than 20 hours. If you failed to pack a necessary item such as a tooth brush, the hotel would provide it.
This hotel is the location of the new British Airways VIP arrivals lounge, one of the best BA louges in the world.
From journal Tears for South Africa: Best and Worst of Time
These are glorius luxury towers of beautiful design. Connected to the famous Sandton Sun Shopping Centre.
Our room was a massive ''standard''.
The hotel is beautiful, mixing modern design with African art and culture.
The staff at the hotel is extremely well trained, but remember most people work ONLY for tips with little or no base wages. Tip frequently and often! I tipped our room maid daily so that she could buy groceries on her way home.
The bathtub was so huge I had problems relaxing in it. I''''m about 5'''' 3". The soaps were the highest quality. The shower was huge (why did it have to face a mirror?) The toilet had it''''s own room. Fresh flowers in both the bathroom and bedroom.
Plenty of lighting in the bedroom with handy light switches at bedside.
The television had many channels (no local) including all the usual international ones. You could watch tv and feel that you hardly left home.
Very heavy drapes to keep out the bright Johannesburg sun that is filtered through a very poluted sky. The altitude of nearly 7,000 feet can leave you feeling ''''off''''.
Very well equipped mini-bar with full service of appropriate glassware, openers and dishes. Prices a bargain for us! A Rand is worth about 12 cents at this writing.
Luxury grade bedding, towels, funriture etc. Maid service that is the most complete I have ever seen.
Hotel laundry and dry cleaning services are cheap. We used them. The clothes came back beautifully done with my hubby''''s underwear in a hamper! What fun.
What is the point of building a luxury hotel in Johannesburg? Well, it''''s economics. South Africa has a high unemployment rate with a population that generally speaks English. Many of the hotel staff were multi-lingual. Build a fine hotel and people are more likely to come for business, investing, tourism and security. Unlike most of Africa, the standard of what the word ''''clean'''' means is very high in South Africa. Everything in this hotel was washed, buffed and polished to the extreme. Acres of marble, rich carpets and wood floors.
The quality of the food served was excellent as was the service.
The hotel staff are very proud of their hotel--they should be!
This hotel was our haven from the misery we saw in the poor areas of South Africa. They don''''t put Rotary Service projects where the wealthy people are.
by African Explorer
Johannesburg/ Fort Worth Texas, Texas
September 29, 2000
From journal Johannesburg South Africa