Is five-star still first choice?

1568

In these challenging economic times hotels are having to come up with innovative ways to maintain and nurture their corporate clientele. In this article five-star hotels advise how they are able to retain their current clients,  acquire  new clients  and ensure that their finesse, sophistication and  opulent five-star treatment is never compromised. 

Taj Cape Town

The Taj Cape Town combines history, luxury and location. Occupying two historic buildings, it retains the architecture and many meticulously restored interior features of the original South African Reserve Bank and the old Board of Executors building dating back to 1890. This 177-room luxury, five-star hotel  in the  heart of South Africa’s Mother City  offers a selection of 11 room types, most with views of the mountain or over the city. The rooms combine old-world quality and modern amenities.

Location

Wale Street, Cape Town

Facilities

As well as the gamut of facilities that guests would expect from a leading luxury hotel, such as a mini-bar, safe, voicemail and international plug sockets, standard features include high-speed wireless Internet, an iPod docking station and charger, an Internet-enabled television and a workstation with a multi-media hub so laptops can be interfaced with the television. The hotel has two restaurants and a seafood and champagne bar. Another feature is the Jiva Spa. Downstairs from the spa is a fully equipped, modern techno gym.

Retaining corporate clients:

The hotel is relatively new, so the key challenge is attracting corporate customers. The hotel has been encouraged by some early successes and believes the main reasons for this are value-for-money, the quality of the product, service quality and location. In terms of value-for-money it has carefully assessed the competitive market and priced realistically in terms of what is on offer. They are also cognisant that they are operating in a business environment where corporates are particularly price-sensitive. Although there has been buying down there is still a market for five-star luxury. Stephen Forbes, the spokesperson for the Taj, believes corporate business will pick up, particularly after the World Cup, but the hotel will benefit from offering good value now. Besides offering value they believe that some of the compelling reasons that corporates choose a hotel is that the quality of the product for the corporate market service and attention to detail needs to be matched by facilities and amenities. Clearly, this has to include meeting and banqueting facilities, but also a gym, spa and good restaurants.

Contact

Tel: +27(0) 21 819 2000, tajhotels.com

 

Westcliff

Set high on a hilltop with sweeping views of the leafy suburbs of Johannesburg, The Westcliff offers a tranquil refuge with easy accessibility to all major business hubs, shopping centres and the cosmopolitan restaurants in Parkview, Parktown North and Parkhurst. Owned and managed by Orient-Express Hotels, of the legendary Cipriani and Copacabana Palace fame, The Westcliff ensures you world-class facilities, warm personalised service and a memorable visit.

 Location

Jan Smuts Avenue, Westcliff, Johannesburg

Facilities

High-speed broadband Internet access is available throughout the hotel and is complimentary to all executive guests. The hotel has a dedicated wing of executive business rooms with its own business centre. If you wish to break away from your conference room for lunch, the relaxed bistro and tapas-style dining at Polo Bar is ideal for informal networking during your break. There is an on-site chauffeur service with a fleet of Mercedes Benz limousines and microbuses. In addition, The Westcliff offers a complimentary shuttle service to nearby office parks, shopping malls and restaurants. The Botanica Spa Suites offer a wide range of rejuvenating and restorative treatments

Retaining corporate clients:

Olivia Demosthenous, the Corporate and Incentives Sales Manager, states that The Westcliff tailor-makes an offering for each and every client and the hotel is prepared to negotiate on rates.

Contact

westcliff.co.za, +27 (0)11 481 6074/6045

One& Only

Located in the heart of Cape Town’s working harbour, designers and architects used only local materials in the development of One&Only Cape Town.  This 131-key resort is the first urban property in the One&Only Collection with designs and artwork that showcase emerging artistic talent from the South Africa region.

Location

Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town

Facilities

Designed to frame the spectacular views of Table Mountain, One&Only Cape Town’s Lounge is a three-story tri-level wine loft with a maze by Gordon Ramsay. Across the lobby and lounge, Nobu serves as the fine dining concept at One&Only Cape Town. Marina Rise’s 91 rooms and suites face the majestic mountain. In addition, the One&Only Cape Town boasts 40 island suites and an expansive spa located on its own secluded and lushly landscaped islands surrounded by waterways and accessed only by bridge or private water taxi. State-of-the-art function and banquet rooms are located on the upper level of the lobby with maze providing a chic and private alternative for larger groups. 

Retaining corporate clients:

Wilna Beukes, the Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, declares that the One&Only is rewarding loyal corporate clients with suitably appropriate rates. They will be introducing some special offerings for spouses to encourage them to travel with their spouse – e.g. spa offerings, extended free stays, etc.

Contacts

+27 21 431 5800, oneandonly.com

 

Fusion Boutique Hotel

This establishment in the Limpopo Province prides itself on personalised service. The boutique hotel offers thirty junior suites, three executive suites, a 210-seater à la carte fine dining restaurant, and a wine and cigar cellar. There is a 240-seater conference venue and banqueting facilities. Newspapers are delivered to your door; coffee is on call 24-hours, and a personal chauffeuring service make this unique hotel perfectly memorable.

Location

Schoeman Street, Polokwane

Facilities

Put your head down in one of the junior suites or the more exclusive executive suites. The Hollywood suite is styled in the decor of the 1940s and comes complete with a daybed on the patio and a marble bathroom with underfloor heating. Attention to detail is taken as far as guest preferences are concerned where you can stock up your mini-bar with your own choice of beverage when you check-in. Enjoy a five-course breakfast in the Fusion breakfast room or light lunches on the terrace. The Saskia restaurant offers something for everyone, and the Titus Wine cellar provides a private dining experience. This boutique hotel includes four conference areas, a foreign exchange and a business centre.

Retaining corporate clients

Zendi Linde, the Events Co-ordinator, maintains that the hotel caters for the higher-end market that has specific needs and requirements for their functions and conferences. Fusion is the only five-star boutique hotel in Polokwane that can meet and suit all the needs of these organisations. They treat every enquiry individually and their five-star service keeps their clients coming back.

Contact

+27 15 291 4042, fusionboutiquehotel.co.za

Royal Palm Hotel

Spanning upwards of six floors, the sophisticated Royal Palm Hotel located on the prominent Palm Boulevard of Umhlanga promises sheer luxury and elegance.  Situated within five minutes of all that Umhlanga has to offer – including the business districts, pristine beaches and the prestigious Gateway Theatre of Shopping – both business and pleasure is catered for.

Location 

Palm Boulevard Umhlanga – New town Centre

Facilities 

The 94-apartment hotel offers accommodation to suit all needs in any of its spacious suites, apartments or penthouses. The rooms offer private balconies, microwaves and mini-bars. The hotel boasts the award-winning DISH Restaurant. There is secure underground parking.

Retaining corporate clients:

The hotel is offering corporate guests value-adds such as complimentary Internet access vouchers and access to Virgin Active Gym at Gateway.

Contact

+27 31 581 8000, royal-palm.co.za

Sheraton

This hotel offers 175 luxurious rooms and suites, all designed to guarantee maximum comfort. When you book an event with Sheraton, you’re not just getting their commitment. You’re also gaining access to a variety of personalised services and flexible space options specifically designed to make your event a success. The Sheraton Meeting Concierge will attend to every detail and ensure that all requests are handled quickly and efficiently, no matter how big or small.

Location

Church Street, Pretoria

Facilities

The hotel includes a cutting-edge business centre and a Health Club. The Magnolia Restaurant is open for all-day dining, and the ever lively Tiffin’s Bar & Lounge caters for all tastes.  The Sheraton offers a chauffeur service, foreign exchange service, travel agency, secure underground parking, in-house shopping and a superb banqueting service in the magnificent ballroom. The conference centre features various meeting and boardrooms.

Retaining corporate clients:

Willie Williams, Director of Sales and Marketing, says corporate clients have different needs and wants and that this hotel makes life as easy and as comfortable as possible for the business traveller.  All the rooms come with a free mini-bar. There is a Lavazza coffee machine in every room complete with delicious coffee imported from Italy. The Sheraton has a signature bed, as a good night’s rest is essential. The scrumptious breakfasts offered are 100% to international standards and include local produce. Williams believes that The Sheraton is a hotel of pure quality, where, if you stay, you are guaranteed to receive impeccable service. Currently, new entertainment is being installed in every room, as well as satellite television where you are able to enjoy over 100 blockbuster movies in the comfort of your room. Service and comfort is a priority at the Sheraton as attention to detail is essential, and this is why the hotel has a client base that constantly returns.

Contact

+27 12 429 9999, starwoodhotels.com , sheratonpretoria.com

Pezula Resort Hotel and Spa

The Pezula Hotel and Spa Resort is nestled between the Indian Ocean and the Knysna Lagoon and enjoys some of the most breathtaking views imaginable. The resort is well-known for its award-winning spa and golf course. The accommodation at the resort is luxurious to say the least. There is a host of amenities and something to keep everyone amused.

Location

Lagoon View Drive, Knysna

Facilities

There are 83 luxury suites and a stunning championship golf course. For those wanting to unwind and de-stress there is the spa with a sauna, Jacuzzi, steam room, rain forest shower, heated 12 metre indoor pool, hair salon, nail bar, nine therapy rooms and a heated outdoor pool. For delicious cuisine there is a Gourmet restaurant, Zachary’s Golf Club restaurant, a Champagne & Whisky Bar, and a Cigar Lounge. There is also a library and games room. There are two executive boardrooms, a conferencing venue, and a 24-hour business centre. There is Wi-Fi Internet connectivity in the hotel and in all the suites.

Retaining corporate clients :

Jeannine Orzechowski, the Public Relations Manager, says the hotel is offering additional value-add to compensate for the budget cuts. The hotel is tailor-making packages for their clients if the budget allows it. There are incredible deals at certain times of the year and in this way a corporate will benefit immensely by being flexible.

Contacts

+27 44 382 2974, pezula.compezularesorthotel.com

The Westin Grand Cape Town Arabella Quays

The Westin Grand Cape Town Arabella Quays is a de luxe international city-centre hotel dedicated to providing five-star accommodation and excellent, caring service. It is the preferred home-away-from-home for visiting royalty, heads of state, business leaders, celebrities, and those who simply seek an oasis of comfort at the end of a busy day.

Location

Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town

Facilities

The hotel offers wireless Internet access in all rooms, meeting spaces and public areas, as well as a 24-hour business centre. Dining Thirty7 is the hotel’s show kitchen which offers the finest brasserie-style fare. The Westin Executive Club Restaurant offers elegant dining experiences in one of Cape Town’s most unique settings – an exclusive restaurant with panoramic views of the city from the 19th floor. Raleigh’s cigar bar, Louis B’s Bar, the lounge and terrace, are perfect to relax in, while enjoying a local cocktail. Meeting and catering services at The Westin Grand Cape Town Arabella Quays is widely considered to be the finest conferencing and banqueting location in South Africa. The hotel offers ample meeting and events facilities, state-of-the-art technology, and a direct link to the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

Retaining corporate clients

Peter Weideman, Assistant to the Area Director of Sales and Marketing, reveals that the hotel’s corporate retention strategy is managed very closely though intense client relationship management, coupled with a dynamic pricing policy that allows accessibility and the best value.

Contact

+27 21 412 9999, starwoodhotels.com

Fancourt

Old-world charm and contemporary luxury link the graciousness of the past with the convenience of the present to create a haven of tranquillity and style. This luxurious Manor House offers 150 rooms, Executive rooms, Garden Suites and Studios. All rooms and suites are air-conditioned with satellite television, direct dial telephone, mini-bar facilities, in-room safety boxes, wireless Internet and tea/coffee-making facilities.

Location

Montagu Street, George

Facilities

Guests can make use of the VIP lounge at the George Airport, the hotel valet convenience, enjoy room service and satellite TV and corporate entertaining facilities which are of the highest international standard. The Fancourt Conference Centre is equipped with state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment and video conferencing. It has a variety of rooms including a banquet hall and six meeting rooms which includes three boardrooms. The fully equipped and professionally staffed Fancourt Spa incorporates a sauna, steam room and gym. For a variety of dining experiences the three fine restaurants bear testimony to Fancourt’s reputation as a purveyor of fine cuisine. 

Retaining corporate clients

Lauren Collier, the Brand Manager of Fancourt, maintains that customer relationship management is key at all times, but especially during the current economic situation where travel worldwide has significantly declined. Collier says it’s important to re-examine current ways of doing business and to be creative about attracting and retaining new business.

Contact

Telephone: +27 (0) 44 804 0000, fancourt.com

Palazzo Montecasino

The Palazzo offers luxurious features and lifestyle facilities for both the business and leisure traveller.  Reminiscent of the grandeur of ageold Tuscany, the hotel epitomizes true style and luxury, with world-class facilities. The hotel is conveniently linked by openair walkways to the spectacular Montecasino Entertainment complex. This centre offers a selection of restaurants, retail shops, cinemas, theatres, a casino, plus an outdoor piazza area.

Location

Montecasino Boulevard Fourways

Facilities

 The hotel provides a selection of room types, all offering wireless Internet access, towelling robes, mini-bars, tea and coffee facilities, satellite channels and a DVD player. The Medeo restaurant serves a buffet breakfast and offers an à la carte lunch and dinner menu. In the evening, sip on a cocktail in the Café Rialto bar and lounge. For the health-conscious, there is the Fitness Centre and for the business traveller, the Business Centre, both situated on the ground floor.  Unwind on the outdoor pool deck which offers a light menu as well as a Thai massage therapy service. The Conference centre, linked to the Montecasino Entertainment Complex, is available to suit all your needs.

Retaining corporate clients

Linda Stonley, Sales and Marketing Manager, affirms that the hotel offers value-added services to guests to make the room rates attractive and their stay as comfortable and stress-free as possible. These include complimentary wireless Internet access, complimentary valet, mineral water in rooms and enhanced concierge services.

Contact

Telephone: +27 11 5103000                           

Michelangelo

The Michelangelo, a member of ‘Leading Hotels of the World’, exudes class, luxury and style, offering quality available only in the finest hotels around the globe. The Michelangelo has been strategically positioned to overlook the cosmopolitan piazza of Nelson Mandela Square, providing guests with access to a variety of restaurants, shops and boutiques, as well as cinemas and theatres in the shopping centre – all within walking distance of the hotel.

Location

West Street, Sandton                                                    

Facilities

The Intermezzo Resident’s Lounge, for early arrivals and late departures, is equipped with shower and change room facilities. Room service is a 24-hours a day, seven days a week benefit. There is a same-day laundry, dry cleaning and valet service. The business centre offers a comprehensive range of facilities and services for the business executive. For convenience, a car rental and VIP limousine is on site. However, there are also regular shuttle services available to and from O.R. Tambo International Airport.  All rooms are fitted with smoke detectors and sprinkler systems. For any mishaps, a doctor and dentist remain on call. Express check-out is offered for those on-the-go business travellers. An Executive lifestyle fitness centre, digital room safes and unlimited free Internet access ensures this is the perfect hotel for corporate guests. The Piccolo Mondo Restaurant overlooks the Square while the elegant II Ritrovo Bar & Lounge is open 24-hours a day

Retaining corporate clients

Hara Kavallieratos , the Corporate Business Development Manager, pronounces that The Michelangelo on Nelson Mandela Square is able to retain its superior position in the Sandton market due to several key factors. She believes the main priority is to deliver value for money. The rates at the Michelangelo are among the highest in the vicinity, but due to its location, ambience and being able to deliver service levels unique to ‘Leading Hotels of the World’, the hotel retains market share year on year and is still able to grow achieved rates in a severe recession. The timely move to refurbish rooms, suites and public areas, , is due to increased competition in Sandton and the corporate market in general.  All superior rooms have now been completed, and the suites and public areas are due to be finished within the next month. Kavallieratos confirms that this has definitely played a part in maintaining corporate clients. When markets get tough it is necessary to intensify sales and marketing efforts. For this reason she advises that The Legacy sales team has made every effort to get closer to the customer and the booker, both through direct, face-to-face activity as well as through increased investment in customer recognition and electronic communication.

Contact  

Telephone +27 11 282 7000, michelangelo.co.za

Shamwari Townhouse

Step into a world of unsurpassed sophistication and excellence at the exclusive Shamwari Townhouse in Port Elizabeth, on the south-east coast of South Africa.  Shamwari Townhouse sets new standards for discreet and lavish boutique accommodation. The secluded environment is the ideal retreat for business or leisure.

Location

 Brighton Drive, Summerstrand, Port Elizabeth

Facilities
Unwind in the Champagne Lounge that flows onto an outside terrace, or dine in the Jazz Room where creative South African cuisine is influenced by international flavours. For private dining and special functions, a Provençal-style cellar is available. Modelled on Prince Charles’s cinema in his Clarence House residence in London, the Mountbatten will ensure absolute viewing pleasure. The Salon Privé
provides the perfect end to your day, or a visit to the well-equipped gym will energize you.  Fitted with state-of-the-art equipment, the Executive Boardroom creates an environment for professional, modern-day business dealings without disruptions. Exquisite accommodation includes private terraces, a business desk with wired network point or wireless connectivity option, full satellite bouquet, DVD player and an espresso coffee maker.

Retaining corporate clients

Veronique von Rehbinder, the group PR Manager, states that in terms of the corporate market, they have a dedicated sales and marketing representative who deals with the corporate market and is focused on tailor-making the corporate package for each client’s needs.

Contact

 +27 (0)41 407 1000, shamwaritownhouse.com

 

The Saxon Boutique Hotel and Spa

The Saxon is an exclusive, international award-winning boutique hotel and spa located in the beautiful, tranquil suburb of Sandhurst with its tree-lined avenue, which belies its close proximity to Sandton. The Saxon is unique and unforgettable and has achieved world renown for outstanding and unparalleled South African hospitality.

Location

Saxon Road, Sandhurst

Facilities

This boutique hotel offers 24 suites, restaurant, private dining and conference/meeting rooms. The hotel has recently added three villas with an additional 29 Suites. Each villa has its own boardroom, which may be converted into a dining room and satellite kitchen with butler service. Each suite is equipped with an entertainment centre, including premium HD large-screen television with Playstation interface, Blu-ray DVD player, as well as a surround-sound music system, and iPod docking station. With fully equipped workstations, guests are assured of uninterrupted global business communications. Each villa has a private lift to transfer guests from the underground parking garage.

Retaining corporate clients

Ulrike Schmidt, the Sales & Marketing Director, describes how with the new villa development they have taken the opportunity to upgrade on automation at the Saxon as well as on corporate services, which greatly benefits the business traveller. The 24-hour business centre with Internet connectivity offers business travellers a comprehensive workstation. Butlers attend to your every wish and spoil you with delicious cuisine. Should you require a personal assistant the Saxon will cater to your individual requests. To enable you to conduct your business without interruptions, the Saxon will arrange return transfers to the nearby business districts. Schmidt states proudly that The Saxon offers international guests arriving at OR Tambo International Airport the convenience of avoiding queues by organising preferential diplomatic clearance and assistance with luggage handling. Guests are entertained in the world-class restaurant or can spend the last minutes of their day unwinding in the spa.

Contact

Telephone +27 11 292 6000, saxon.co.za

Radisson Blu

This luxurious international hotel is spectacularly situated on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean on a private marina, adjacent to the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. This top-class hotel enjoys arguably the best position of any hotel in South Africa and is the only hotel in Cape Town on the sea.

Location

Beach Road, Granger Bay, Cape Town

Facilities

Each of the 177 rooms is equipped with free, high-speed broadband wireless Internet, direct dial telephones, satellite TV, mini bar, tea and coffee-making facilities. Two floors are reserved for non-smokers whilst rooms equipped for the disabled are also available. The Exclusive Business Class rooms offer private balconies and stunning views, either over the marina towards Table Mountain, or across Table Bay to Robben Island.  The hotel offers two modular air-conditioned conference rooms equipped with the latest audio visual and technical equipment. Tobago’s Restaurant, Bar and Terrace, offers fine dining, and the new spa, The ONEwellness, is perfect for an unwinding session.

Retaining corporate clients

Carla Larsen, Director of Sales, affirms that the hotel continues to offer market-leading corporate packages. Their business-class rooms offer Espresso machines, complimentary wireless Internet, daily newspaper, one complimentary movie and a full English breakfast. They have recently invested a substantial amount of money renovating all of their sea-facing rooms. The hotel offers all their corporate clients a Gold Points loyalty programme which can be redeemed at any Radisson Blu Hotel, Park Inn, Regent Hotel or Country Inn Hotels worldwide, or with several international airlines. The dedicated staff understands the needs of a corporate traveller and offers an overall highquality service timeously and consistently. The hotel offers private shuttle services as well as complimentary shuttles to the V&A Waterfront. There is complimentary use of their Wellness and Fitness facilities as well as a grab & run tea, coffee and pastry station outside the restaurant for early departures before the restaurant opens.

Contact

Telephone +27 (0) 21 441 3000, radissonblu.com