Hotel check: City Lodge Umhlanga Ridge

1091

Background

The City Lodge Hotel Group consists of 1-star Road Lodges, 2-star Town Lodges, 3-star City Lodges and 4-star Courtyard Hotels. The group has 52 properties with 6,440 rooms across South Africa and earlier this year made its first foray into the rest of Africa. City Lodge acquired a 50% stake in Fairview Hotel Limited, which owns and operates the Fairview Hotel and the adjacent Country Lodge in Nairobi.

Where is it?

Located in the new business district of Umhlanga, north of Durban, this City Lodge is across the road from the Gateway Theatre of Shopping, which has a huge variety of big brand stores, boutiques and entertainment. Five minutes away are Umhlanga’s popular promenade, beaches and the village, which is full of bars and restaurants. The hotel is only 15 minutes from King Shaka International Airport, which makes it a great location. Durban’s International Convention Centre is approximately 25 minutes’ drive away.

What’s it Like?

The hotel is modern with a minimalist décor style. Most rooms overlook an attractive courtyard garden and the swimming pool, making this quite a restful place to stay, even though it is so close to the bustling Gateway complex. A 24-hour reception and check-in is available.

Room Facilities

The hotel has 168 air-conditioned rooms with double or twin beds. Standard features include selected satellite TV channels, bathroom with bath and separate shower, tea and coffee-making facilities, electronic safe large enough to accommodate a laptop and a writing desk. Complimentary Wi-Fi for 15 minutes daily is accessible throughout the hotel and in rooms. Thereafter, charges are R30 for 30 minutes, R50 for 60 minutes, R90 for two hours, R145 for four hours, R195 per day, or R295 for five days. My room was spotlessly clean, the beds perfectly comfortable, and the fresh flowers and chocolates added a lovely touch.

Restaurants and Bars

The coffee shop and sundowner bar provide outdoor and indoor areas, as well as two televisions for sports fans. The coffee shop also offers a variety of hot and cold light meals, such as salads, wraps, tramezzinis and sweet temptations at reasonable prices. For dinner, we tried out the ‘tasty steak strips wrap’ and tomato, cheddar and mozzarella tramezzini. Both were very tasty, fresh and filled generously, accompanied by a side of chips and a Greek salad. The warm ‘chocolate volcano’ (a soft chocolate cake filled with hot fudge sauce served with vanilla ice-cream) for dessert was delicious and more-ish! The coffee shop also offers room service, whilst another dining option is the Primi Piatti Italian restaurant across the road, where you can eat and charge the meal to your room, or order room service. Breakfast options are Full English and Continental.

Meeting and Business Facilities

The hotel has a fully-equipped boardroom, accommodating 12 delegates. There’s the usual support, with flip charts, pens, telephone, DVD and VHS recorder, mineral water, cordials and mints. A data projector is also available at an additional cost. Lunch and fruit juice is included in the conference package, except when you have booked the venue only.

Additional Facilities

A nice feature is the swimming pool area with loungers and deck chairs. Other facilities include same-day laundry and dry cleaning service, 24-hour vending machines stocked with snacks and drinks, a fitness room and free parking in the basement of the hotel.

Verdict

A great option for the business traveller seeking a central location and an upmarket environment, with lots to do after hours, right on your doorstep.

Contact

2 Palm Boulevard, Umhlanga Ridge +27 31 580 7000 citylodge.co.za

Lara McLeod