I’m struggling a little with all the time in hotels, with painful check-in and check-out procedures and too many staff members in my face. I’ve been looking for a smaller, quieter alternative in the right sort of location. 10 2nd Avenue in Houghton Estate probably isn’t the answer because they are quite pricey, but aside from that very real world problem there is little wrong with their boutique hotel. If the price is right for you, you should check them out. Continue reading “Life in Hotels: 10 2nd Avenue Houghton Estate”
I stayed close to the University of Pretoria recently while doing graduate recruitment at the university. A single night at the Pebble Fountain Guest House was required given the proximity to the university and the early start for the presentation.
One night at Pebble Fountain in August 2012
|Price per night||R600|
|Convenience / location||Great for the university, not great for much else|
|Overall comfort and condition of room||Not great. Peeling paint on walls, floorboards in need of a sand and seal, no milk for tea (only creamer) and a bath, toilet and basin in the same room as the bed. Clean though.|
|Internet||Slow 1mbps connection for the entire guesthouse, with a 48 character key to log in… and the internet stopped working after an hour or so. At least it wasn’t charged for separately.|
|Parking arrangements||Secure parking, but thanks to other guests parking “style” there was hardly space for me to park.|
|Check-in||One quick form and I was given the keys. Full marks for limited paperwork and admin.|
|Room service||None, but it’s a guest house so fair enough.|
||Didn’t try it, but the smell of a Full English Breakfast cooking was around most of the morning. Probably would have been good.|
|Time to settle bill||Pretty quick once hte process got moving, but I had to hunt round for someone to take my payment and there was some confusion as to how many nights I would be staying. Difficult to know who’s fault that was and no particular reason to expect it to be a regular thing.|
|Other comments||Was a little disappointed with the overall condition of the room, but I suppose it did the job for the night. Would probably look somewhere else next time though.|
Finally getting around to updating these line of blogging.
Several multi-day stays in The Westcliff in July 2012
|Price per night||R1450|
|Convenience / location||Convenient for me, close to our offices in Parktown North, but a little further from Sandton and most clients|
|Overall comfort and condition of room||Even the more basic rooms I stayed in were very well appointed. The huge bathroom with large bath, shower and his-and-hers basins is particularly good.|
|Internet||Huge extra points here for free wi-fi and automatic login. No annoying vouchers or codes. Truly an absolute pleasure.
|Parking arrangements||Undercover parking and eager valets. The valets may be a plus for some but I soon ignored them and parked my own car.|
|Check-in||Slick and efficient with friendly staff. Almost a little too keen to please at times and tried to insist on sending someone to show me my room and take my bags. If you like that, fantastic. Overall hard to fault though.|
|Room service||Arrives pretty promptly, phone answered with my name and the food itself was pretty good. Not a huge choice.|
||Unremarkable but certainly good.|
|Time to settle bill||Generally quick and friendly.|
|Other comments||The Westcliff ticks a number of boxes and is clearer a few grades above other hotels I’ve stayed in. I still didn’t enjoy the overly attentive staff – I just like to be left alone! One or two hassles with TVs that didn’t work and earth leakage tripping suggests some ageing electrical issues.|
Now that I’m back spending time in hotels more weeks than not, I thought it might be useful to track and record my experiences.
If you travel to Johannesburg primarily for business, appreciate hassle-free check-in, painless-to-setup and cheap wifi, decent room-service and convenient locations without exorbitant prices, these records may prove useful to you. The prices are as I paid, possibly incorporating some corporate discounts, but I’m sure these are available to other groups.
Two days in the Sandton City Garden Court in June 2012
|Price per night||R1044|
|Convenience / location||Right in the middle of Sandton – very convenient|
|Overall comfort and condition of room||Pretty basic with a slightly tired bathroom with a shower over the bath. No major complaints though.|
|Internet||Supplied by WirelessG. Can probably pay online with a credit card, but via the hotel requires a paper voucher to be printed out at the front desk. Painful and a decade out of date. R80 for a day with a 200MB limit. I may have forgotten how expensive internet is in hotels, but this really is disgracefully expensive. This is at least R400 per GB, compared to the < R20 per GB available via home ADSL. The internet itself was pretty flaky, up and down all the time.
|Parking arrangements||Underground parking, with a charge added to the room of, I think, R40 per night using the room card, which is at least fairly straightforward.|
|Check-in||No queue at the time I arrived, the usual painful forms to fill in, but friendly and courteous staff at the check-in desk.|
|Room service||Haven’t tried it yet, but it only operates till 22:30, which is good for not eating late but really bad if one is hungry late after a late flight.I did eventually try the room service, which was acceptable.|
||Interviewed a potential team member over breakfast. Not the most impressive environment, but I was brought tea and the food was hot and the service pretty good.|
|Time to settle bill||Pretty quick, but still seemingly needless amounts of signing of paper and printing and so on. It did take the staff several long moments to stop chatting to each other and acknowledge I was actually there in front of them.|
|Other comments||My room was still being prepped when I arrived (10:30 at night…) -not ideal.Random calls in the evening to tell me about their Frequent Guest card were definitely not appreciated. Leave a note, slip something under the door, but don’t call me.|