Prop­erty Review: Town Lodge Midrand

By City Lodge Ho­tels

Tourism Tattler - - EDITORIAL - By Des Langk­ilde.

Be­fore set­ting off on my busi­ness trip to at­tend The Ho­tel Show Africa, I searched the web for ho­tels po­si­tioned as close as pos­si­ble to Gal­lagher Con­ven­tion Cen­tre in Jo­han­nes­burg, South Africa. And City Lodge Ho­tel Group's web­site pro­vided the an­swer – Town Lodge Midrand.

With a wide range of ac­com­mo­da­tion op­tions to choose from, the Group's ho­tel brands Fairview, Court­yard, City Lodge, Town Lodge, and Road Lodge, are clearly dis­played with each brand fea­tur­ing its ho­tel lo­ca­tions by city with rates (there's a sig­nif­i­cant sav­ing for book­ing on­line com­pared to walk-in rates). Note though, that you have to se­lect Midrand and not Jo­han­nes­burg from the ‘Choose Ho­tels by City' book­ing drop­down menu.

As my flight was sched­uled for a late Sun­day evening de­par­ture to Jo­han­nes­burg, be­ing able to si­mul­ta­ne­ously book a night at City Lodge Ho­tel at OR Tambo In­ter­na­tional Air­port was cer­tainly con­ve­nient as the ho­tel is a short walk from the ar­rivals con­course along the park­ing block op­po­site the air­port.

Af­ter a sump­tu­ous break­fast on Mon­day morn­ing (their buf­fet spread is a sight to be­hold), I checked out and set off for the Gau­train sta­tion, which again is a short walk from the ho­tel along the air­port con­course.

Gau­train is an 80-kilo­me­tre mass rapid tran­sit rail­way sys­tem in Gaut­eng, which links Jo­han­nes­burg, Pre­to­ria, and Ekhu­ru­leni to the air­port. The trains run from 05:15 am to 09:20 pm and de­part ev­ery 10-15 min­utes dur­ing peak hours. Af­ter recharg­ing my Gau­train Gold Card, I caught the Sand­ton bound train, jumped off at Marl­boro sta­tion, and boarded the Pre­to­ria bound train which I dis­em­barked at Midrand – the next sta­tion along the route. The en­tire trip took un­der 30 min­utes, which is amaz­ing when com­pared to two hours that the same trip would have taken to nav­i­gate through Jo'burg's traf­fic con­ges­tion by taxi.

I then caught the No­ord­wyk bound Gau­train bus from Midrand sta­tion us­ing my Gold Card (cash is not ac­cepted on these buses) and jumped off at the 2nd stop along Old Pre­to­ria Road, al­most op­po­site the Gal­lagher Con­ven­tion Cen­tre.

Af­ter a tir­ing day at­tend­ing pre­sen­ta­tions at the Vi­sion Con­fer­ence, which formed part of the Ho­tel Show Africa, I sum­moned an Uber ride to my ho­tel. Thank­fully, Town Lodge Midrand is only a 6-minute drive away and I was re­lieved to be al­lo­cated a smok­ing room on check-in. The rooms at Town Lodge are some­what smaller com­pared to City Lodge rooms, but I found mine to be com­fort­able with all of the req­ui­site needs of a busi­ness trav­eller catered for, in­clud­ing com­pli­men­tary WiFi and a writ­ing desk. With 118 rooms in the ho­tel, my room just hap­pened to one of the two rooms de­signed to meet the spe­cial needs of the phys­i­cally dis­abled, which was rather con­ve­nient as they're po­si­tioned on the ground floor close to the re­cep­tion, sun­downer bar, and din­ing room. There's even a vend­ing machine for snacks and bev­er­ages just down the pas­sage­way.

I was cu­ri­ous about the li­nen change card pro­vided in the room, so af­ter an­other typ­i­cally sump­tu­ous break­fast the fol­low­ing morn­ing I met the ho­tel Gen­eral Man­ager, Shel­ley Steel for a coffee and chat sit­ting around the pool deck. Ms. Steel tells me that she's been with the City Lodge Group for 20 years, so when she says that guests ap­pre­ci­ate eco-friendly ini­tia­tives and tend to opt for re-us­ing the same li­nen to save wa­ter, she made me em­bar­rassed as I'd for­got­ten to place the card on my bed.

My per­cep­tion that Town Lodges are fre­quented by busi­ness trav­ellers was con­firmed when Steel said that their oc­cu­pancy is 80% dur­ing week days. “Our week­end oc­cu­pancy is some­what lower but with the Kyalami mo­tor rac­ing track be­ing close by and the new Mall of Africa be­ing built near Midrand, we are see­ing an in­crease in leisure tourists.”

I asked why Town Lodge is rated 2-Star by the TGCSA when the rooms and ameni­ties are clearly 3-Star. “We had a to­tal re­furb done be­tween 2014 to 2016, and al­though Town Lodge does meet 3-Star cri­te­ria, the Group man­age­ment de­cided to stay with the lower rat­ing to bet­ter dif­fer­en­ti­ate be­tween the brands,” said Steel.

Be­fore head­ing off to at­tend an­other gru­el­ing day at Gal­lagher, I popped into my room to en­sure that my con­science would sleep bet­ter that night.

For more in­for­ma­tion visit www.clhg.com

Lo­ca­tion and con­ve­nience are the prime mo­ti­va­tors for city ho­tel selec­tion in busi­ness tourism. This pearl of wis­dom oc­curred to me when check­ing into the City Lodge Midrand.

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