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If hunting for hidden Mickey Mouse ears isnít your thing, perhaps some wildlife spotting sounds more appealing? It may not have made the summer opening we were hoping for, but Four Seasons The Westcliff in Johannesburg is now welcoming guests, after a $56 million renovation of the hotel.
As we showed you earlier this year, the refresh isn't afraid of a little zebra print, across a number of different styles and colour schemes. The hotel has 117 rooms and suites, ranging from entry-level Superior Rooms to the Royal Suite, which has its own plunge pool.
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And so the expansion of Four Seasons Hotels continues apace: we told you about Moscow (weíre still in shock over the prices), Boston round two, Kyoto being years off but in progress, and now Dubai (above) and Johannesburg are opening at the same time later this year. Having a little wander around the internet, we found reference to other Four Seasons Hotels coming to Puerto Rico, Oman, Barbados, and more as well.
Whether itís a dose of winter sun in the Middle East, or summer sun and safari in South Africa youíre looking for, reservations are open from December 1 at either property.
In true Dubai-style, the Four Seasons at Jumeirah Beach does things big: 237 rooms starting at over 750 square feet, 10 restaurants and lounges, three swimming pools and spa, and a private beach. The design looks fairly typical Four Seasons, with all rooms having some form of outdoor space. Also big? Nightly rates, with an introductory offer ringing in at 2,204AED, or just over $600.
Previously an Orient-Express hotel, where a Sunday afternoon at La Belle Terrasse is one of our all-time brunch favorites, we can expect a new spa, two new restaurants, and a new bar in addition to the redesign of all guestrooms and suites.
If this is a little too bold for your tastes, perhaps you prefer the more subtle way of incorporating the print in the window treatments as seen below, which also shows how different the color schemes and decoration between the various room types will be.
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Tucked away in the heart of Johannesburg's Sandton district, The Maslowis a new hotel that's changing the face of travel to the largest city in South Africa. It's so fresh to the scene that when we were at the New York Times Travel Show last week, the country's own tourism reps didn't know about it!
Tempting world business travelers, the hotel pays respect to the world's most famous entrepenuers by naming each of their 12 conference rooms after the inspirational business people from the past. We're talking about Rockefeller, Astor, Edison, Venderbilt and Carnegie; the movers and shakers of modern day business. Even the namesake is from famous physcologist Abraham Maslow.
All 281 rooms are outfitted with calming contemporary design and free in-room WiFi. Since we have even asked how much hotel-room bathtubs get used, The Maslow offers guests the option to stay in rooms with 'power showers' or the full tub and shower set-up. With 135 of the standard rooms boasting the shower only, we know where The Maslow stands in the argument.
Every so often we feature a hotel review from our readers that we feel should be shared with the rest of you dear hotel guests. These reviews are highlighted because they are timely, about cool hotels in cool places and are relatively level-headed. Think you can submit one just like this? Send it in.
This time, a reader sends in a quick dispatch from the Westcliff Hotel in Johannesburg.
What a lovely hotel, it's built like a small village on a hillside overlooking the city. Sunday brunch at La Belle Terrasse is a very nice way to while away the day, sitting outside on the terrace above the infinity pool, watching elephants and giraffes in Johannesburg Zoo at the foot of the hill.
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Complete with the sassy new Radisson Blu branding, the former Radisson SAS chain has a new hotel in South Africa. The Radisson Blu Hotel Sandton has just opened in Johannesburg and it sounds cool enough to go with the "Blu" title.
Big flat-screen LCD TVs for all, complimentary WiFi for all, and a big wine bar and lounge, this hotel sounds great except for one not-so-cool (well, to us) feature. As part of its ONEwellness Spa and fitness center, it's got this:
an indoor/outdoor jogging course that snakes in and out of the hotelís public areas.
So they want us to jog, sweaty and puffy, through public areas of the hotel? The hotel designers obviously have a lot more self-confidence in their jogging styles than we do.
Right now rooms are going for 1600 Rand ($180) for a standard room and from 2450 Rand ($270) for a one-room suite including breakfast. Public exposure to your jogging is included for free.
The Peech Hotel in Johannesburg seems to be going for all the angles. It's a boutique hotel, it's proudly eco-friendly, and it's a loud, proud member of all the biggest social networking sites. How much cooler could you get?
For a start, they've got their own Facebook page and for once, it doesn't look like the only fans are staff, because they've got (a few) fans from across the world. It's early days but they're doing all the normal Facebook stuff like adding photos and events; someone's started a discussion but we're hoping to see more.
The Peech also started Twittering a few weeks ago, giving a few updates on events and advertising links to special rates. And on top of all that, they offer a link on their website to call them by Skype rather than use actual money, so we like that too.
Of course, one day every hotel under the sun will be on Facebook and Twitter, but The Peech is one of the pioneers out there. Now we have to ask: Does this make you want to book a room there?
[Photo: The Peech Hotel on Facebook]
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The Saxon Hotel in Johannesburg takes the meaning of 'surreal' to a new level. It's an over-the-top opulent boutique hotel inside what looks and feels like a high-security prison.
Johannesburg, the largest city in South Africa, has a reputation for being dangerous--or at least, it's dangerous to be rich. And the Saxon Hotel is where the Really Rich stay. It's a 24-room boutique extravaganza of a hotel, but for security reasons it's set behind a 10-ft. stone wall topped with barbed wire and lined with armed guards.
The entrance roads are a kind of maze, with various gates opening at various unpredictable times to throw would-be robbers off the scent--you have to wait for a hotel car to guide your taxi through the maze. The grounds are large so you can't see all this from the hotel itself, but it's an unsettling experience.