Hotel check: Courtyard Arcadia

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Background

This 97-year-old manor house was converted into a 4-star hotel and opened in 1994. Courtyard is the premium brand within the City Lodge stable, and Arcadia is one of only six Courtyard hotels in South Africa. The manor house still boasts a lot of its original wood, with development restricted by its status as a National Heritage Site. The classic theme is extended throughout the property – most noticeably with old photographs and vintage items of furniture.

What is it like?

Classic. What I also liked was the white bathrobe and fluffy slippers that greeted me when I entered my room for the first time. That set the tone for what proved to be a ‘pampered’ stay, further enhanced by Courtyard’s ‘kind generation’ philosophy.

Where is it?

The hotel is ideally situated for lecturers, sports fans and politicians. It is just a few minutes from the trendy Hatfield area and Brooklyn Mall, with numerous restaurants in the vicinity. A focal point is the Loftus Versveld rugby stadium only two blocks away, with the University of Pretoria and Embassy Row also close. A complimentary shuttle service connects the hotel with the nearby Hatfield Gautrain station – with a rail service to O.R. Tambo International Airport requiring a connection at the Marlboro station, but at a third of the price of a direct shuttle.

Room facilities

The rooms are divided into three categories – studio rooms, one-bedroom suites with separate bedroom and lounge, and two-bedroom suites with two bathrooms. Thanks to its heritage, Arcadia has rather unique rooms, with the original stables having been converted into the ‘stable room’ with two levels, and the large ‘one-bedroom king’ on the second floor of the manor house boasting a full-sized kitchen and LCD television. All rooms have well-stocked kitchenettes, complete with fridges and microwaves, and have air-conditioning, Wi-Fi Internet connectivity and two televisions (with selected DSTV satellite channels). A shared laundry is also on the premises.

Restaurants & Bars

The in-house bar is open until 22h00. A courtesy bar between 17h00 and 19h00 in the manor house’s classically-themed lounge provides free drinks and snacks to welcome guests and encourage socialising. An in-house restaurant provides a limited dinner menu, as well as options of a Continental or Full English breakfast in the mornings. Take-away menus in the rooms provide easy access to several restaurants in the area.

Meeting facilities

The original lounge of the manor house has been converted into a boardroom, seating up to 12 people, and is equipped with a projector. The dining room area can also be converted into a conferencing area, accommodating up to 20 people in different seating arrangements. Fully-inclusive conference packages offer delegates an array of refreshments and equipment, whilst a braai (barbeque) menu provides a South African alternative to the traditional set menus. A complimentary guest office is also available to guests wanting to work outside of their hotel rooms.

Leisure facilities

The highlight is undoubtedly the hotel’s deep swimming pool, with deck chairs and umbrellas dotted along the sides. A nice touch for foreign guests not acclimatised to the harsh South African sun is the pool-side provision of cold water, sun screen and towels. Fish pools, flag-stone walkways and benches allow for the appreciation of nature, while large gardens between rows of suites enhance privacy.

Verdict

It’s easy to see why the hotel offers a monthly rate – leaving this quiet sanctuary was not something that came easily to me. Attentive staff, unique and comfortable accommodation, central location and a peaceful environment all add up to the ideal shelter from the urban rush on the other side of the hotel’s walls.

Fact File

Address: Corner of Hill and Park Street, Arcadia, +27 12 342 4940, citylodge.co.za

Leon Schnell