Arrival/Check-In: We were met at the airport by a driver from The Westcliff — just one of the many services that the hotel arranges. After a drive through dense traffic, we arrived at the gates of the hotel, where we were greeted and ushered through to the main registration area, a spacious colonial building complete with zebra-skin couches and sumptuous dark wood tables. Despite being busy, the staff greeted us warmly, offered us a refreshing drink and presented us with our key yes, a real key; on a leather tab, not a piece of plastic). From there, we were driven up to our room in a cart. The Westcliff, as its name implies, sits on a cliff and the ascent can be pretty steep. (18/20)
Guest Quarters: The porter carried our bags up the steps as we lingered inhaling the intoxicatingly sweet smell of jasmine blooming everywhere around us. Our suite opened onto a private balcony that faced the Johannesburg Zoo. Purple jacaranda was in bloom and the city spread out below us in a blaze of color. Spacious, gracious and perfectly appointed are perhaps the best words to describe the rooms. I especially loved the separate dressing areas for him and her, complete with our own sinks. Nobody really likes to share if they don’t have to … and we even had an extra bathroom off the living room! Perfect when you’re hosting an in-suite meeting and don’t want colleagues and clients taking note of your living habits. (15/15)
Services/Amenities: The Westcliff exemplifies South African hospitality. For business travelers there is a business wing with 30 fully equipped guestrooms. All have broadband connections (for a daily fee) and there is wireless access in all three of the hotel’s restaurants and on the poolside terrace. Private meeting facilities are available in the conference center, boardroom or any one of four private function rooms. Take a plunge in the infinity pool on the Pool Terrace while looking out over the Johannesburg Zoo — an experience that has become known as the Safari Swim. There is also a well-equipped gym with a personal trainer available and a floodlit tennis court with a resident coach. (44/45)
The Experience: The concierge here is exceptional. We had a chat about what our interests were when we arrived and later that day, he called with a list of suggestions for our stay. Everything was timed and arranged perfectly. (20/20)
Total Score: 97/100
67 Jan Smuts Ave.
Johannesburg, South Africa
tel 27 11 481 6000
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I had just taken off my sandals, stepping onto the white-sand beach for a late-morning walk to a secluded spot I heard about from a front desk clerk, when I glanced down and saw the time on my phone. It had just turned 11 a.m., which meant it was only 7 am back home, the perfect time to call and say good morning to by husband before he left for work. Not quite ready to head back to my room, I decided I’d test the WiFi signal and made the call as I continued walking toward the shoreline.
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