Q & A: A new hotel like no other


The Southern Sun Montecasino opened to guests in April. The hotel’s GM talks to Business Traveller about what travellers can expect.

Q: What kind of reaction has the hotel received thus far?

Magnificent! We are far busier than we anticipated. I’m very happy with the reaction so far. We have been fairly busy over weekends, which is mainly due to leisure business.

Q: Which market is the hotel targeting?

There are three. The hotel is essentially geared towards the corporate market, which is our main focus, but there is also conferencing and leisure and sports.

Q: What does the Southern Sun Montecasino offer a corporate traveller?

The hotel has a gym, Wi-Fi connectivity, 24 hour room service, a conference centre, a fantastic restaurant which features a show kitchen, and it’s part of Montecasino which is an entertainment destination. The location is ideal because of what Montecasino has become. It has gone from being purely a casino to an entertainment destination which now includes a bird park, hot air balloon, etc. Fourways has also become a node.

Q: What is special/unique about this hotel?

The design has a very warm and welcoming feel. But also the vibrancy of the staff. We have a young, energetic team 

Q: What kind of experience can a guest expect?

One of personalised service, style and soul within the Southern Sun brand. This is not a typical hotel, it’s modern, but is modern, and this has been achieved by blending classical designs and metal. In my opinion, this hotel won’t age.

Q: Does this hotel compete with the other two Southern Sun properties at Montecasino?

No. We actually run all three hotels as one. Each hotel caters for a different segment of the market and they offer 623 rooms in total. The Sun Square would be graded at about three and a half star, this hotel is a four star and the Palazzo is five-star. We only have two suites, as travellers who want to stay in suites would choose to do so at the Palazzo, so it wouldn’t make sense to offer the same product here.

Q: What do you, as the General Manager, bring to the hotel?

I have been with Southern Sun for 24 years, for the whole of my career. My expertise is in food and beverage but my role here is to keep the staff happy.

Q: Is running this hotel more or less the same as those you have run in the past?

No this hotel is different. It has a charm and feel to it that is unique. It’s got energy! 

Q: How, do you think, hotels in Johannesburg will perform post World Cup?

Business levels will pick up. We experienced a poor year last year, but this year business will pick up. Probably not to the same level we saw in 2008, but we will have better occupancies. This hotel is fully booked for the World Cup.

Q: Were your rooms contracted to MATCH?

80% of the inventory was contracted to MATCH and to date none of those rooms have been released.

Q: What are some of the highlights of the hotel?

The restaurant is named after the first restaurant opened at Southern Sun Elangeni and is called Punchinello’s. The restaurant features a show kitchen and there are even cameras to capture what is happening in the kithchen, guests can watch this on a dedicated channel in their hotel rooms. There is also a conference centre comprising six rooms which can become nine. It can hold up to 250 people and can be used as an exhibition area.

Q: Is there more to come for the hotel or is this as good as it gets?

This is it, but The Southern Sun Montecasino is part of the Pivot development. The rest of the Pivot is still to be occupied. This includes offices, shops and a spa. In the coming months Wi-Fi will be complimentary for guests.

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