Hotel check: City Lodge Lynwood

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What’s it Like?

City Lodge Lynnwood opened on the June 3, just before the frenzy of the Soccer World Cup, so it is brand spanking new, and it shows. There’s no evidence of the creeping decay and wear that can sometimes permeate such a venue over time. The six-storey hotel, perched on a gentle slope overlooking the handful of green hills east of the city, offers neat contemporary external architecture fused with modern finishes and fittings inside.

Many notable features stand out; the expansive reception and lobby area is flanked by the semicircular reception counter and the curved ebony counter that subtly separates the even more spacious open plan dining lounge and catering alcoves. These are mirrored by curved ceiling treatments dotted with small tungsten lights and edged with concealed fluorescent lighting. Numerous pillars and planters add visual variety to the vast ground floor space; suitably chic and anonymous framed art reproductions occupy strategic wall spaces, and giant ornamental pots woven from dark wicker stand politely in various corners. Several large round light shades of woven wicker hang from the high ceilings.

There is a swimming pool behind the hotel, unfortunately overlooked by a multi-storey shop or office complex under construction. There is also a low level shopping boulevard under construction in front of the hotel but this will enhance the nearby amenities and appeal of the hotel.

The hotel has two levels of underground parking reached by a ramp with room card-activated boom access, and the underground lifts and stairs are secured by a plate glass door, also with room card access for guest safety and convenience.

Where is it?

Although it’s only about 500 metres from the Lynnwood Road on-and off-ramps to the N1 highway, the hotel is sufficiently insulated from highway sights and sounds. Two or three nearby shopping centres provide restaurant, banking and shopping facilities, and the massive Menlyn Centre is only 10 minutes away.

Room Facilities

The Lynnwood has 205 rooms available, all having the same layout of bathroom at the back, bedroom at the front. Four of the rooms are ground floor units adapted for disabled guests, and include modifications such as a wide sliding bathroom door and wall-mounted grab rails alongside the toilet and bath, and shallow mounted wash basins and lower towel rails. Three rooms have wheelchair-friendly roll-in showers with a folding seat while one has a bath. Bearing in mind their purpose to provide business travellers with a place to chill, relax and sleep between busy days out of town, City Lodge Lynnwood’s rooms are not cramped; on the contrary, there’s enough space to move around without fear of bumping into furniture and other hard obstacles that may leave bruises hard to explain back home. And that applies to the bathroom too.

The large glassed shower stall provides plenty of elbow room and there’s no risk of bumping your head when using ‘the head’, or toilet for all you non-sailors out there. The wash basin is recessed into a beautiful granite topped counter, and the granite also features on the narrow chest-high ledge above the basin along full width of the wall. There’s a big mirror which adds a pleasing illusion of even more space to the room. A large white bathtub occupies the side adjacent to the bedroom, with a nifty electric blind in the wall above it which opens to the bedroom. All fittings are of superior quality and give a lovely, homely atmosphere.

The bedroom is as homely, with beautiful, high quality furnishings, linen and drapery. A large double glass sliding door opens to the wide railed balcony, drawing in daylight, with the gift of a glorious sunrise over the hills every morning, if you wake in time. A wide corner desk unit of dark wood offers ample space to dump handbags, wallets and cell phones; there is a multi-plug unit for a two-pin plug and both a local and European three-pin plug. Above the desk is another large mirror.
The room offers a baggage stand, single wardrobe, assorted large drawers, a kettle and coffee nook, a laptop-sized safe, unobtrusive air conditioner and a medium-sized flat screen TV, with several DStv channels, opposite the queen-size bed. Room lighting and bedside lamps are more than adequate. All in all it’s most inviting after a long day ‘at the office’.

Restaurants snd Bars

The Lynnwood has a spacious open plan dining and catering area opposite the reception and lobby. Guests can enjoy a full English or continental buffet breakfast in the morning. From 4pm the buffet counter becomes a bar and the breakfast kitchen turns into a coffee shop, the dining area inviting guests to sit and enjoy sundowners or high tea. After hours room service offers basic meals such as trammezinis. For more elaborate fare, guests can visit dozens of restaurants at any of three shopping malls nearby. One worth visiting nearby is Tony’s Seafood and Takeaway, its name belying a cosy speakeasy with a mouth-watering array of seafood platters available for sit-down patrons.

Business Facilities

There are three small conference rooms on the first floor landing of the Lynnwood, with seating for 14, 12 and eight people respectively. The rooms are tastefully and comfortably furnished with boardroom tables and chrome and textile chairs, plush carpeting, audiovisual equipment and flat screen TVs. The 14-seat room has a large open air veranda for smoking delegates. There is a dedicated conference kitchen available if needed, and a small gymnasium offering a stepping, treadmill and spinning machine, as well as chromed steel barbell weights.

Verdict

City Lodge Lynnwood can easily stand as the flagship of the City Lodge fleet. The impression of quality is surpassed only by the friendliness of the people who work there – it would be inaccurate to call them staff. The rates are more than reasonable. The hotel group has a sophisticated online booking system, although at the time of writing it was oddly uncooperative. 

Chris Reilly