Hotel check: Birchwood Business Class

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Background

From small beginnings back in 1998, the Birchwood Hotel & O.R. Tambo Conference Centre has become the largest conference and function venue in South Africa, with over 50 conference rooms, 10 function venues and 665 bedrooms. Management believed that the individual corporate and leisure guests were getting lost in the crowd, hence the decision to introduce Birchwood Business Class, which enables those individuals to enjoy some peace and quiet away from the conferences or functions, whilst still enjoying the same safety and security.

Where is it?

The hotel is situated in Boksburg, close to East Rand Mall. O.R.Tambo International Airport is only seven kilometres and a few minutes’ drive away, whilst the immediate area is dotted with an array of restaurants and shopping centres.

The Business Class Experience

From the reservation to the dedicated check-in desk, the guest is identified as an individual traveller. The other dedicated services include a concierge service, secretarial services, boardroom bookings for meetings, and a dedicated centre host or manager to meet and greet guests. They are transported to their rooms in golf carts, or if they wish they may park their own car outside their room. The rooms are away from the conference areas and have been recently renovated to cater to the needs of the business traveller. So, there’s complimentary Wi-Fi, new duvets, pillows and workstations. Large flat-screen TVs have also been installed. The beds are incredibly comfortable and depending on the room, may have one or two double beds. The bathrooms have also been upgraded, with large shower heads installed. Birchwood are in the process of upgrading their room safes to accommodate laptops, and all rooms have key card access. Some of the rooms have their own fridge, but all have the customary tea and coffee making facilities. The room I stayed in had a door leading to a garden, with outside patio and chairs. All rooms are air-conditioned.

Restaurants & Bars

There is the award-winning Local Grill, a Spur steakhouse and the Hi-Flyers restaurant and bar, which is an experience in itself, with its fully-equipped Boeing 747 cockpit as the main feature! The Local Grill specialises in steak dishes, but I decided to go for the grilled fish, which was unfortunately a little overcooked and dry. I was left to rue my choice, as the steaks being served around me looked delicious! The Sports Bar, which is situated adjacent to the PETIT restaurant, is open from 16h00 to 22h00, Monday to Friday, and it is totally dedicated to the Business Class Experience guest, with management in attendance, to offer that personal touch. Another nice touch is the PETIT breakfast restaurant. One doesn’t have to jostle with conference delegates or form long lines at the buffet area in order to eat. Dedicated waiters offer you juice or coffee at your table, and a chef is on hand to cook your eggs the way you want them. There is also an area for outside dining, which I preferred on a fresh summer morning, with the gardens as my view.           

Verdict

If you’re an individual corporate or leisure traveller not wanting to stay in the concrete jungle, and in search of some peace and quiet, close to the airport, then Birchwood’s Business Class Experience will be for you. The property also has large gardens, a fully-equipped gym and squash courts – ensuring that just about every box is ticked, for the business traveller.

Contact

Address: Viewpoint Street, Bartlett, Boksburg+27 11 8970000, birchwoodhotel.co.za

Pierre Grobler