Tried and Tested

Ho­tel Check

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• Four Sea­sons The West­cliff

• Mab­ula Lodge


First con­ceived as an en­clave of lux­ury town­houses in 1997, Alb­wardy In­vest­ment (Dubai) and Ho­tels Prop­er­ties Lim­ited (Sin­ga­pore) bought The West­cliff from Ori­en­tEx­press Ho­tels in 2013. A R200mil­lion($14m) re­vamp re­placed the wist­ful pink colo­nial nos­tal­gia with a more mod­ern hand­writ­ing. The Four Sea­sons Ho­tel The West­cliff, Johannesburg, run by the epony­mous Cana­dian-based group, re­opened late2014.


Sit­u­ated in the heart of the pres­ti­gious Parks neigh­bour­hood just 22 kilo­me­tres west of O.R. Tambo In­ter­na­tional Air­port and 36.6 kilo­me­tres south of Lanse­ria, the ad­dress is 67 Jan Smuts Ave al­though it's ac­tu­ally tucked away in Wood­view Drive.


Our spa­cious room 925 on the sec­ond floor – one of 12 suites and 105 guest rooms – of­fered a bal­cony over­look­ing the main pool, and terry bathrobes so thick and fluffy I could barely close my case. Nah, just jok­ing, though I couldn't re­sist pock­et­ing the Ter­res d'Afrique toi­letries found in the mar­ble bath­room fea­tur­ing dou­ble van­ity basins, rain shower, bath­tub and pri­vate loo (non-ne­go­tiable, in my view). Ex­pect free wi-fi, flatscreen TV, iHome dock­ing sta­tion, Power Hub with guest con­nec­tiv­ity panel to charge elec­tronic de­vices, an es­presso ma­chine, large comfy bed, a sofa, and hand-em­broi­dered cush­ions. Guests can down­load the con­ve­nient Four Sea­sons App, en­abling ser­vices and ameni­ties at the tap of a fin­ger.


While there are five venues, the two lofti­est – Flames and View – ac­cessed via a glass el­e­va­tor, are most pop­u­lar. Sweep­ing vis­tas and a serene sense of space come free with the menus. Open daily, Flames, an up­mar­ket grill house, is a mag­net for brunch­ing busi­ness­men, lunch­ing ladies, or cou­ples want­ing to watch the sun­set from an ex­pan­sive pa­tio. We en­joyed starters of kudu carpac­cio and charred baby oc­to­pus with line fish ce­viche, fol­lowed by a tuna tataki, served with Asian tab­bouleh salad and mint lab­neh, washed down with a bot­tle of 2014 Thelema Car­ber­net Sau­vi­gnon. Oh, and a tasty cheese plat­ter for af­ters. The ur­ban chic View, open Wed­nes­day to Sun­day, of­fers break­fasts and three or four-course din­ners with wine pair­ings for evenings of culi­nary rap­ture. Plush decor with touch-friendly tex­tures from sump­tu­ous vel­vets to crisp linens cre­ate a con­vivial din­ing space and I en­joyed an ex­cel­lent eggs bene­dict for break­fast. You can also pick up a snack at the street-side, French-in­spired West­cliff Deli of­fer­ing gourmet food on the go. The Apres Spa Bar & Lounge of­fers light bites and cock­tails. For those who value their pri­vacy or pre­fer to stay in their bathrobes, there's also in-room din­ing.


With 1,457 m2 of func­tion space, the ho­tel's 13 meet­ing rooms, grouped in one build­ing, can ac­com­mo­date be­tween four and 400 del­e­gates. High-speed in­ter­net ac­cess and state-of-the-art au­dio­vi­sual equip­ment comes stan­dard and groups can so­cialise be­tween con­fer­ences in the di­vis­i­ble Ar­ca­dia Ball­room's pre­func­tion foyer or in Jacaranda and Rose gar­dens.


There's an out­door lap pool and a large, out­door fam­ily pool. The Health Club of­fers nine treat­ment rooms for mas­sage, skin­care and beauty, in­clud­ing one for cou­ples. Men's and women's chang­e­rooms each fea­tur­ing a sauna and steam room. Think weight train­ing, stu­dio classes, and cer­ti­fied per­sonal train­ers on re­quest. The post-treat­ment re­lax­ation room and a small se­lec­tion of snacks and sig­na­ture spa teas cre­ated by African lux­ury tea brand Yswara are rea­sons to linger. Be­fore and af­ter your ap­point­ments, you can re­lax at Après Spa, the city's only out­door spa lounge for drinks and light cui­sine.


If mad, bad Jozi is a trou­bled teen on Tik, the Four Sea­sons West­cliff is a serene dowa­ger in di­a­monds, a tran­quil re­treat for meet­ings, con­fer­ences, stay­ca­tions or cel­e­bra­tions, far from Eskom strikes and de­mands for wage hikes. An all­round game-changer with eye-pop­ping views, there's noth­ing else quite like it in the city.

Caro­line Hurry ■

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