Friday, September 9, 2016

A Stay Report: InterContinental Johannesburg Sandton Towers

A Stay Report: 
InterContinental Johannesburg Sandton Towers
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When I was looking for a hotel in Johannesburg, I was looking for a hotel that was close to public transportation and was within walking distance to services and restaurants.  The InterContinental Sandton Towers, located in the Sandton area, covered all these bases.  It was close to the Sandton Gautrain station - both walking distance and had shuttle access - and it was connected to the Sandton mall with restaurant and other services.  Based on my previous experience with InterContinental in other countries, I decided to book this hotel.   I had booked two stays in the hotel - both stays were for 3 days, but the first stay was done by regular payment while the second was done using points. 

The hotel is located in the Sandton area and is connected to the Sandton Mall and the Sandton Convention Center.   From the airport, you can take the train to the Sandton station and either walk through the mall or request a shuttle to pick you up.  You can also arrange transportation through the hotel for a fee.  Prior to my arrival, I communicated with the hotel regarding airport transfers and communicating with them to arrange transport very easy and convenient.  The first time I arranged transport, the hotel messed up and no arrangements were made.  I then spoke with the Manager so the second time the transportation was there and everything went smoothly.

The hotel is located in a posh area and from the outside looks very nice.  You enter the hotel into a large lobby.  The hotel is laid out in a triangle, with rooms on 3 sides and an open lobby atrium.  While this makes the lobby and the hotel feel bigger, it also allows noise to travel.  On the first floor were the check-in desk, the concierge desk, the porter, and the restaurant/bar.  Even though there were 4 check-in desks, service was not always available.  Overall, service at the hotel was lackluster – it was there, but at a minimum.  The concierge desk was also next to the check-in desk, but it was only staffed sometimes – and when it was not staffed the other agents were not that willing to provide information.

As I said, I had two stays at the hotel.  The first stay was not on the club level, while the second stay was.  Both rooms were laid out in a similar fashion with the only difference being size; the club level room was bigger and more spacious but it provided the same amenities as the non-club room.  As you entered both rooms, there was a hallway that led you into the main room.  In the main area, along the wall was a stand that held the fridge/minibar on the bottom and the tea and coffee station on top.  Next to that was corner desk that went along both walls.  The desk also contained a ledger next to the coffee stand on which the fruit plate plus water and glasses were available.  Above the ledger was the TV, and below the TV was a console with a variety of AV plugs.  In the non-club room, this was the only place a plug adapter could be placed; in the club room this was the only place that had a USB port.  Both room had a lack of plugs and USB ports available.  We had a room with two beds and the beds were located across from the TV and next to each bed was a night stand.  The non-club room did not have a lot of space so the two beds were pushed next to each other resulting in one big bed (these could be pushed somewhat apart).  As the club room had more space, the beds were evenly apart and looked like two separate beds.  The beds themselves were very comfortable and provided a nice and comfortable rest. 

In both rooms, the closet/storage was inside the bathroom.  As you entered into the bathroom, you entered into the closet area which had drawers on the bottom and hangers up top.  There was also a stand with storage on the bottom and a safe on top in the closet.  Further into the bathroom were a sink, a shower, a tub, and a toilet behind a separate door.  The bathroom was very big and spacious, and had a lot of storage space and shelves on either side of the sink and in the closet.

The hotel was a full-service hotel so in addition to the restaurant on the first floor, the hotel also contained a gym and a small pool on the mezzanine floor, a business center on the 27th floor and a club lounge.  The business center was basically one computer and a printer in part of the club lounge; and the club lounge was divided into two sections.  One section had the computer and chairs while the other section had the food for both breakfast and drinks.  The section with the food only had 6 tables, which was fine during the weekday but got really busy for drinks on the weekend.  The breakfast was the same for both the restaurant downstairs and the club lounge upstairs.  The gym was very big and offered a wide variety of equipment for a really good workout.  The pool was somewhat small, given the large size of the hotel, but most guests just went out to suntan rather than to swim.  The hotel also provided direct access to the mall and convention center, through a door on the 10th floor.

Overall, it was a nice stay at the InterContinental; however, it was not as good as some of the other InterConintental's I have stayed out.  Some of the positives include comfortable beds, comfortable rooms, nice service on the club level, and great location.  Some of the negatives included lack of plugs, lack of USB ports, and somewhat lackluster general customer service (although the General Manager, Mr. Chandresh Sigh was very good and very responsive)

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