Hotel check: 131 on Herbert Baker

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What’s it Like?

131 on Herbert Baker is an attractive understatement of luxury. Warm greetings at the gate and a smiling concierge at the door were an indication of what was to come, from the time I opened the door into to my lavish suite. There was hospitality of note, detailed in the arrangement of champagne, mineral water, fresh buckets of ice, assortment of the finest nuts, berries and chocolates – to the beautifully made up bedroom with its rich, luxurious linen. The experience was further enhanced with enjoyable conversations with all the staff, managers and owners over drinks. A romantic dinner with my loved one over-looking the beautiful city lights of Pretoria and a restful sleep on lavender-scented pillows made the whole experience perfect.

Where is it?

The address is in the name and a ‘blooming’ gorgeous street it is! Pretoria’s popular Herbert Baker Street, decorated with white-blossom jacaranda trees (a tourist attraction on Herbert Baker as there are less than 100 of these which were first planted there in 1961 as part of a gift to the mayor and a representation of the status and values of the city), is only a few minutes’ drive from Pretoria’s CBD and all major highways. The boutique hotel is also close to grand shopping malls, a variety of restaurants, golf courses, gyms, hospitals, embassies, government buildings (Union Buildings), game parks (Groenkloof Game Reserve) and entertainment venues.

Rooms & Facilities

The hotel comprises eight bedrooms that can be described as modern, upmarket, with a subtle Italian influence. There was no skimping on the immaculate finishes in hues of olive, snow-white and chocolate.

Seven of the rooms have their own private balconies with breathtaking city views, large, comfortable beds, fine linen, telephone, Wi-Fi, HD TV, air-conditioning, hairdryer, mini bar and digital safe. The eighth room, the Presidential Suite, is the epitome of luxury. Blending a fine mix of elegance with class, this suite comes complete with all the amenities plus a 24-hour butler, a lounge, dining and bar area with a Lavazza coffee machine and an additional guest bathroom. There is something to be said about the bathroom which boasts an invitingly grand bathtub – I certainly took the liberty of indulging in a steamy, jojoba-fragranced soak with bubbly, hubby and some decadent chocolate

There is also a daily laundry and shoe cleaning service available.

Restaurants & Bars

Ristorante Grissini, which translates from Italian to ‘breadstick’, is certainly an attractive feature of the hotel, offering an amazing view of manicured, rolling hills and city lights. All dietary requirements can be catered for and are prepared by gourmet chef Xanthya Kriel, 28, who, even without formal training, whips up gorgeously presented and tasty dishes that will impress even the fussiest pallet. Xanthea’s training comes only from an upbringing in restaurants. She describes her meals as being “honest”. The restaurant serves lavish breakfast, lunch and dinner and is open to the public but by reservation only. High tea is served between breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner on the manicured lawns with an assortment of delicious pastries, also by prior reservation.

Meeting & Business Facilities

Conferencing at 131 on Herbert Baker provides a private and secure venue for up to 20 delegates. With attention to detail and keeping the business traveller in mind, the well-lit boardroom hosts a set-up that is ideal for small meetings and conferences, offering power points available for laptops, an interactive smartboard, plasma screen, DVD player, cordless phone, polycom for audio-conferencing, wireless connectivity, data ports and, of course, the mineral water, cordials, mints, notepads and pens. Flexible full and half-day packages include tea/coffee breaks with sandwiches and pastries, full English breakfast and a three-course lunch.

Leisure & Fitness

If you are a fitness freak, a warm-up jog down the road would get you to the Virgin Active Club, but if you believe in a healthy balance of exercise and leisure, like me, then the serene waters and deck chairs tucked in the middle of the hotel will be a satisfying way to keep fit, hydrated on exquisite cocktails and relaxed during your stay.

If you are in the mood for pampering after a long business meeting, an in-room spa treatment can be arranged upon request.

Verdict

More than just five-star accommodation – if you are looking for a place to rest your head, relax, work or eat, then 131 on Herbert Baker will provide you with nothing but the finest offerings and service with a human touch and warm smile at any hour of the day or night. You will feel like an honourable guest, be treated like a king and spoken to like a close friend, thus creating more than just an experience – you walk away with a lasting memory of A Wonderful Moment and a Yearning for More.

Contact

Address: 131 Herbert Baker, Groenkloof, Gauteng, 0001, South Africa, Call:  +27 12 751 2070/1/2/3/4; +27 12 346 5537; +27 83 268 1866 or +27 83 253 1089 

Melissa Douman