WHAT’S IT LIKE?
Port Elizabethis currently experiencing a flurry of hotel openings boosted, of course, by the fact that the friendly city is one of the hosts for the Soccer World Cup. This Four-star hotel is not one of the newcomers to the bay. Owned privately by Austrian, Werner Peterseil, the Paxton was established in August 1998. But it can hold its head up proudly: this unassuming yet modern hotel has been the recipient of the AA award for best commercial hotel for the past three consecutive years. When we checked in, it was easy to see why: it was our fastest check-in ever; within a minute (quite literally!), we were clutching our room card and heading towards the lift.
WHERE IS IT?
Perched on a hill overlookingPort Elizabeth’s busy harbour and the prettyNelsonMandelaBay, the Paxton Hotel is extremely close to all the city’s best beaches and just a stone’s throw from the city centre. If you have scooped one of the sea-view rooms (do try, they are nice), look over to the left, and you will be greeted by a view of the Campanile. To the right is the strip of hotels overlooking King’s Beach. Straight ahead is the port and, of course, the glistening ocean. It takes 10 minutes to reach the airport and the Coega IDZ is about 20 minutes away.
HOW MANY ROOMS?
There are 79 rooms, many with panoramic views of the harbour and ocean. One VIP suite, which has a private balcony and lounge, is also available to well-heeled travellers.
Our room was at the end of the passage on the third floor, and so it was relatively quiet. Decorated in the conventional hotel shades of brown and white, but accentuated with flashes of burnt orange, it featured a queen-sized bed, two casual chairs (after a hard day’s work, you can plonk your butt in them and admire the view of the harbour and ocean) and a large dressing table/desk, which was an ideal workstation. There is a kettle in the room, and tea and coffee are provided. Room service is available from 14h00 to 22h00. A modem point is provided, and a plug to charge your laptop or mobile telephone. The bathroom is small, but perfectly adequate, with bath and separate shower. A safe is also provided, and it is big enough to gobble up two laptops. The only thing missing is a fridge, and the pillows are not sensational (no feather pillows were provided). Other than that, we were completely satisfied with the room.
RESTAURANTS, BARS AND AMENITIES
A breakfast buffet is served in the restaurant on the ground floor. It serves a fairly limited but tasty, fresh selection of typical breakfast dishes. Next to the restaurant is the small residents’ bar, which is open from 15h00 to 23h00. The menu includes salads, sandwiches, burgers, a selection of main course meals (curry, calamari, lasagne) and desserts. The Oystercatcher Restaurant is located in the harbour across the road (while the food is fabulous, readers should note that a 10% service charge is automatically included in the bill). Another restaurant that we can recommend is Ginger (just down the road at the Marine Hotel) – it’s a firm favourite of celebrities such as John Travolta. The Coachman, a terrific steakhouse located 10 minutes away inCape Road, offers one of the best steaks in the country.
The hotel provides a fax service, and messages are delivered to your room on the hour every hour. We needed a document printed and e-mailed it to reception, and the printout was delivered to our room within five minutes. Wi-Fi connectivity is available throughout the entire hotel at a charge. An Internet-enabled PC is located next to the restaurant, and offers free Internet connectivity to guests. A boardroom is available, which seats up to 12 people, and offers all the normal business tools. In addition, the restaurant is available for business functions, and can be hired for exclusive usage. The hotel has its own generator, so you don’t need to worry about power outages during Eskom’s infamous load-shedding.
If you’re feeling energetic, there is a massive gymnasium right next door to the hotel, and day use vouchers are available for sale at the hotel. Gamblers can have a flutter at the Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment complex, located five minutes away. There is a swimming pool on the ground floor opposite the reception area, but we suggest that you head straight for one of the gorgeous beaches (over 40 km of superb beaches are up for grabs).
The Paxton Hotel is a terrific place to stay whether you’re visiting Port Elizabethon business or for pleasure. It is unpretentious, good value for money, and the staff is friendly, obliging, well trained and most professional. While the rooms and breakfasts are nothing out of the ordinary, the staff is exceptional – we will return for this reason alone.
R899 per single room per night, R585 per person per night in a double room, and R2575 for the VIP suite per night. Discounts are available for weekend and extended stays. Breakfast is excluded.
Carnarvon Place, Humerail,Port Elizabeth6001
PO Box13717, Humewood,Port Elizabeth6013
T: +27 (0) 41 585-9655, paxton.co.za