Finweek English Edition - - Openers - BRUCE WHIT­FIELD

THE SAXON, one of South Africa’s most ex­pen­sive bou­tique ho­tels, with rooms start­ing at R5 000 a night, has en­listed the help of an in­ter­na­tional con­sul­tancy to drive higher vis­i­tor vol­umes through its doors. Al­ready a des­ti­na­tion for the well-heeled, The Saxon is cre­at­ing an exclusive “byin­vi­ta­tion” club aimed at giv­ing pref­er­ence to the elite of Jo­han­nes­burg busi­ness to use the ho­tel’s fa­cil­i­ties on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.

The prop­erty, de­vel­oped by in­sur­ance mogul Douw Steyn, was home for a time to for­mer pres­i­dent Nelson Man­dela when he penned his Long Walk to Free­dom af­ter his re­lease from prison in 1990.

Mem­ber­ships com­mand an an­nual fee of R10 000 and give pref­er­en­tial ac­cess to meet­ing, din­ing, bar and spa fa­cil­i­ties. In­vi­ta­tions were sent to se­lect in­di­vid­u­als in Novem­ber.

John Press­grove, CEO of Fair­fax In­ter­na­tional, the UK based con­sul­tancy that has de­signed tai­lor-made ho­tel mem­ber­ships for 250 prop­er­ties around the world over the past 20 years, says it’s the most ex­pen­sive ho­tel club mem­ber­ship he has de­signed to date.

It costs twice as much to join the club at The Saxon, than for ex­am­ple the club at the Old Course Ho­tel at St An­drews in Scot­land.

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