Boutique vs Traditional Hotels

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There are so many options when choosing to stay either at a flamboyant boutique hotel or an elegant traditional hotel. Boutique hotels have the exclusive finesse of being luxurious and quirky. They convey an atmosphere of intimacy without familiarity, while traditional hotels offer superb service and tried and trusted methods of perfection. Melissa Jane Cook looks at just some of the options available.

Saving the environment

The Peech Hotel

The Peech is a chic boutique hotel featuring 16 bedrooms and suites. A bistro with champagne bar and a fully equipped boardroom complete the contemporary, edgy and Afrocentric space.

Location

61 North Street, Melrose, Johannesburg

Going Green

The Peech’s environmental contribution is centered on four areas: energy conservation, water conservation, green design and recycling.  The hotel has solar water heating throughout, while inefficient lighting is being replaced ‘one energy-draining bulb at a time’ using timers and day-night sensors, ensuring it has an electricity supply no larger than that of a standard South African household. The Garden suites have grey water recycling. The Peech has water-efficient dual-flush toilets and water-efficient landscaping. The hotel uses ecological detergents and cleaning agents in the laundry and kitchen.

All the rooms have double-layer insulation to reduce heat in summer and heat-loss in winter. The bistro grows some of its own herbs and vegetables, keeping food deliveries down, and the kitchen is stocked with organic ingredients. Only rechargeable batteries are used in the hotel. There is an on-site water-bottling facility that provides drinking water for the bistro and rooms. This cuts out waste from plastic bottles and avoids the need for water deliveries.

Da Vinci Hotel

Legacy’s latest luxury hotel boasts 166 en suite rooms and 54 luxury suites. The hotel has a restaurant and lounge, pioneering fitness centre and health spa. There is a business centre and conference facilities for the business traveller.

Location

2 Maude Street, corner of 5th Street, Sandown

Going Green

The Da Vinci Hotel and Suites has introduced the first commercial solar system, by installing 117 flat-panel solar collectors capable of heating water for 138 guest rooms. The hotel’s water-heating system is able to pre-heat 30 000 litres of water before it enters the hotel’s electrical heating system, cutting its electricity bill by up to 60 per cent. A card-activated electrical management system switches off all power when a room is unoccupied and a water-saving system, comprising water-saving shower heads, has been installed in all bathrooms. Electrical timers have also been installed to switch off basement parking lights and keep only selected lights switched on when necessary. The hotel’s eco-friendly design has been applied to the restaurant, Maximillien. Its floors are made of bamboo, while the use of eco-friendly kitchen cleaning and preparation material will ensure that it will be one of the ‘greenest’ kitchens in the country. Only green renewable timber is used throughout the premises, as well as energy-saving glass and energy saving-escalators.

A little out of the ordinary

Grand Daddy Boutique Hotel

This boutique hotel boasts superior rooms, sugar daddy suites, a fleet of seven, iconic American Airstream rooftop trailers, a bar, restaurant, a venue for events and meetings, and the Pink Flamingo Cinema.

Location

38 Long Street, Cape Town

Quirkiness

A gleaming fleet of seven iconic American Airstream trailers resides on the rooftop of The Grand Daddy Hotel. Each of the seven trailers is playful, eccentric and the decor is dazzling. Each Airstream is enclosed by a tidy garden complete with US Postal Service mailboxes. You can watch an outdoor movie on hot summer nights at The Pink Flamingo Cinema. The Daddy Cool Hotel Bar is super bling. White leather, shimmery surfaces, dangly bling chains and quirky gold treasures in jewel boxes set the scene for much shiny celebration. The corridor to Daddy Cool is flanked by Cape Town’s only digital art and photographic gallery.

Protea Fire and Ice – Cape Town

This funky, eclectic, sizzling hotel is Cape Town personified.  There are 85 standard rooms, 67 superior rooms, seven superior rooms with patio, 30 executive rooms, and four conference venues. A lounge bar, restaurant and pool deck are presented for your ultimate relaxation.

Location

Buitensingel and New Church Street, Cape Town

Quirkiness

A retro, suspended pod chair welcomes travel-weary guests at reception. There is ultra-chic lighting, music to suit the mood, trendy decor, and a cigar lounge with unique coffin seats and burial scene  decor, simply called the ‘Coughin Room’, complete with a mural on the ceiling of people looking down at the grave as if you are ‘6 feet under’. There is a pool that wraps its way around the restaurant, a de luxe Private Sound Room with the latest gaming technology, and a tea-cup-shaped seating area for those demanding a little privacy! Chuckle at the sign on the manager’s door saying: ‘Please Disturb’. There are Cable Care and Shark Cage-themed lifts and movie-themed toilets. The temptation is a naked man with his privates covered by a towel. If you move the towel a buzzer goes off and everyone will know what you have been looking at! Lou Rawls, the famous jazz singer, has a play on his name and the hotel has filled the toilets with toilet rolls. There is ‘Stage Fright’, which has pictures of people staring at you in shock, with mirrors all around so that it feels as though you are on stage – when you are on the toilet.

Health and Wellness

Fairlawns Boutique Hotel and Spa

Boasting 19 highly individualised, world-class suites, a conference centre, fully equipped gym, Balinese Spa and an excellent à la carte restaurant, this boutique hotel ensures your every need is catered to.

Location

Alma Road, Morningside Manor Ext 6, Sandton, Johannesburg

Holistic being

The Fairlawns Spa seeks to recreate the principles of holistic healing in a pampering environment. The Balinese Spa Garden, with its hydrotherapy treatments, relaxation and dining pavilions and outdoor massage areas comes close to paradise. The Spa combines age-old Asian healing traditions, philosophies, beliefs and wisdom with modern technology and products to create a variety of holistic treatments. There is an extensive selection of facials, massage therapies, grooming and body treatments from which to choose, as well as packages. The fully self-contained Balinese Spa Villa is designed for couples to enjoy in total privacy.

Misty Hills Country Hotel, Conference Centre and Spa

This charming stone and thatched hotel set in lush, landscaped gardens, offers 215 rooms including some luxurious suites, and 17 African-themed conference and event venues, including a spa conferencing facility and atmospheric exhibition facilities.

Location

69 Drift Boulevard, Muldersdrift

Holistic Being

Set in lush, landscaped gardens, Spa in the Country offers tranquillity and peace. Well-being and relaxation are important components of Misty Hills. Outside the borders of the city buzz and in line with worldwide trends, the Spa addresses stress management, and promotes well-being in the workplace. The Spa provides a therapeutic environment where delegates can enjoy private and personalised treatments as part of the day’s itinerary.  Designed as an African sanctuary, the spa follows a natural approach to skin and body care, infusing modern therapies with African herbs and oils, flowers and spices. There is an exclusive Signature Room that provides an entirely private spa experience.

Mind your own business

Parkwood Boutique Hotel

The Parkwood Guest Lodge offers luxurious, private and secure accommodation within walking distance of the Rosebank shopping district. There are lush green gardens and lap pools to laze by. There is complimentary Internet access, Wi-Fi spots throughout the hotel, and a computer workstation for guests. There is a private Conference room that seats up to 18 people.

Location

72 Worcester Road, Parkwood, Johannesburg

Own space

All bedrooms have extra-length king-sized beds and spacious bathrooms. They all come complete with mini-bars, tea and coffee-making facilities, safes, and televisions with DStv channels. There are iPod stations, a choice of luxurious pillows, cotton bathrobes and your own personal slippers. Six executive rooms have their own private enclosed courtyard with outdoor showers, underfloor heating, and individual music systems.  Eight rooms have smaller enclosed patios.

Radisson Blu – Sandton

The hotel offers 290 rooms and invites guests to catch a quick workout in the Platinum Planet Fitness Gym, or take a relaxing swim in the outdoor pool. With free, high-speed Internet access, One Touch Service and three-hour express laundry, a stay at this luxury hotel in Johannesburg is perfect for leisure and business travellers alike.

Location

Cnr Rivonia Road and Daisy Street, Sandton

Own Space

This hotel offers a mix of 212 Standard rooms, 45 Business Class rooms, 32 suites, one exceptional Luxury suite and 11 magnificent Penthouses. For guests expecting an extraordinary time, a stay in one of the hotel’s 11 Penthouses is essential. There are one-, two- and three-bedroomed penthouses. The penthouses boast kitchens, separate guest toilets, all bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, dining areas, lounge areas and plasma televisions. Most of the penthouses have lifts which can access all floors in the penthouse, and two of these ‘houses’ have wine cellars.

Slick and Stylish

The Hub Boutique Hotel

Nestled in the leafy suburb of Walmer, The Hub Boutique Hotel is a newly-built establishment aimed at providing stylish, affordable accommodation for the corporate and leisure traveller. Each of the en suite rooms sleeps up to three people and offers a wide range of amenities. Certain rooms also feature a private patio or roof garden. Additional on-site facilities include a large public lounge with LCD TV, surround sound, and PlayStation. There is an Honesty Bar and Coffee Station for drinks and snacks , a  business centre,  private boardroom, Wi-Fi access throughout the hotel , a swimming pool and  private barbecue facilities.           

Location

217 Main Road, Walmer, Port Elizabeth

A sense of style

 Experience a refreshing take on corporate and leisure accommodation with the ultra-modern, purpose-built Hub Boutique Hotel. The Hub successfully fuses the intimacy of a guesthouse with the amenities and privacy of a hotel offering a unique accommodation experience. The Hub was designed by a local architect and boasts a modern, minimalist look. Natural light is taken advantage of where possible, as can be seen with the numerous clerestory windows, the double-volume in reception, and large stacking doors. The interior has a neutral palette accented by natural stone and complemented by bright reds and cool greens. Texture has been used throughout the hotel to create points of interest – from the paintable wallpaper in the bedrooms to the glass-tile feature wall in reception, to the marmoranMarmoran paint technique.

The Paxton Hotel

The Paxton Hotel is conveniently situated on Port Elizabeth’s beachfront and offers 79 luxury suites with sea views. The Paxton Hotel prides itself on providing home comforts and personal attention.

Location

Carnarvon Place, Humerail, Port Elizabeth

A sense of style

The Paxton Hotel boasts a unique, innovative architectural design. The hotel is bold and stark and exudes sophistication and a sense of style. It impresses with an interior that is both elegant and comfortable. There is a great sense of space in the lounge amongst the plush couches and armchairs. African objects and subdued colours of beige and brown splashed with maroon give this hotel a feeling of distinction and relaxation.  For the corporate traveller, this hotel has the superb advantage of a magnificent location overlooking the harbour, and a modern, slick feel of affluence.