Hotel check: Holiday Inn Express

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Background

The South African franchise of Holiday Inn Express is owned by ISO Leisure and they operate four properties in Umhlanga, Cape Town city centre, Pretoria (Sunnypark) and Johannesburg (Woodmead). They also operate the Holiday Inn Johannesburg-Rosebank. ISO Leisure has committed to developing 25 new Holiday Inn Express hotels within the next 10 years.

Where is it?

It’s off Umhlanga Rocks Drive, on the other side of the highway from the beachfront, which is only a few minutes’ drive away. The hotel has great views, looking down to the beachfront and the ocean. It’s also walking distance from Gateway Shopping Centre, which has plenty of restaurants, bars, shops and cinemas. King Shaka International Airport is approximately 20 kilometres’ away, whilst Durban city centre is a similar distance.

What’s it like?

The Holiday Inn Express brand is all about understanding that their guests “want a fresh, clean, uncomplicated hotel, providing a comfortable stay”. And that’s for both business and leisure travellers. The 3-star Holiday Inn Express Durban – Umhlanga certainly delivers on that.

Rooms

The hotel has eight floors, comprising 235 rooms, made up of 140 double-bedded rooms and 95 twin-bedded rooms. 110 of the rooms have inter-leading access. As it says on the tin, it’s all about clean, simple accommodation, and that’s what my room was like, with a comfortable bed (twin), enough space to work in and move around, and a bathroom that ticked an important box for me, in terms of a power shower. Two basins, but no bath, which may not be some guests’ liking, but I didn’t mind. My balcony had a lovely view of the sea, whilst the work space was well-designed, with a comfortable chair, enough plug points, and flat-screen TV (with selected satellite channels – movies, CNN, SuperSport etc) located just above. The hanging space was quite unique – not a cupboard, but rather an open hanging space with hangers, next to the mirror – certainly in line with the economy of space theme. Thereafter, some standard hotel room features, in the form of centralised lighting, tea/coffee, air-conditioning, in-room telephone, hairdryer and laptop-size safe. Most importantly, Holiday Inn Express offers free high-speed Wi-Fi internet access in their rooms.

Restaurants and Bars 

There’s a complimentary continental breakfast and I enjoyed mine, going for the fresh croissants, cold meats and cheese. Attentive staff sorted out the teas and coffees, and there was a nice spread of hot and cold offerings. Breakfast is served in the Great Room from 06h30 to 09h30, midweek and 06h30 to 10h30 on weekends. The adjacent bar serves drinks and cocktails from 16h00 to 23h00. Lunch and dinner takeaway menus are available from reception, whilst there’s also a restaurant on the property – the Butcher Block, which is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.

Meeting and Business Facilities

The hotel has a self-service satellite business centre with two work stations, including a PC, printer, telephone and Internet access, and it also takes care of copying, faxing and stationery, whilst also offering  a courier service. There are three meeting rooms able to seat up to 50 delegates. The standard offering is a data projector, TV, PA system, microphone, whiteboard, stationery, tea/coffee, and lunch and snacks can be arranged.

Leisure Facilities

There’s a small on-site pool and other facilities include dry cleaning, laundry and 24-hour reception, whilst you can also pick up a complimentary newspaper.

Verdict

Perfect for convenient business travel and I was impressed with the condition of the hotel and it’s amenities.

Contact
Address: 2 Ncondo Place, Cnr Ncondo Place & Ntusi Rd, Umhlanga, +27 31 514 9000, hiexhotels.co.za

Dylan Rogers