Hotel check: Silverbirch @ Birchwood Hotel


BACKGROUND: Birchwood Hotel often received requests from individual travellers for rooms on the quieter side, away from conference rooms and delegates. Silverbirch was born from these requests. This unique concept has its own express check-in in the main Birchwood Hotel reception area, its own dedicated golf cart shuttle and its own dining and breakfast venues.

WHERE IS IT? The ‘hotel within a hotel’ is situated within the grounds of Birchwood Hotel and O.R. Tambo Conference Centre. The complex is in Boksburg, a mere seven kilometers from O.R. Tambo International Airport, where a newly-opened office is available for guest to wait for a complimentary shuttle to the hotel. The shuttle is also available to guests wishing to visit the nearby East Rand Mall.

ROOM FACILITIES: Once checked in and given your electronic key card, you either take the dedicated Silverbirch shuttle or if in your own car, drive to your room. Parking is available right outside your front door. A security boom allows only residents’ vehicles inside the Silverbirch area. A total of 153 rooms were completely refurbished and upgraded. I stayed in a King room consisting of a comfortable king-sized bed, 40-inch flat screen TV with a decent selection of satellite channels, a good work station with local and international 2- and 3-pin plug points, complemented by a comfortable chair. The room is very tastefully decorated and fully carpeted, with a pair of armchairs flanking the bed.  Most rooms have a door that opens up to the gardens, which have also been upgraded and replanted. The bathrooms were also completely refurbished. As I don’t like a cramped shower, I really enjoyed the size of the shower area and the large shower head. Upmarket, complimentary toiletries and large, fluffy towels complete this area. Should you prefer a bath tub to a shower, you can request this when making your reservation. A laptop safe, tea and coffee station, air-conditioning and a hairdryer are all standard supplies. Very importantly, high speed Wi-Fi access is offered free in all Silverbirch rooms.

RESTAURANTS & BARS: Guests of Silverbirch have their own dining and breakfast areas. At The Grill at One Twenty you can enjoy grain-fed, free-range beef prepared to suite you taste buds. I settled for a fillet steak grilled medium rare and served with vegetables. It was a fair sized portion and very tasty. For non-meat eaters there is also a selection of seafood dishes. The Grill at One Twenty offers a comprehensive bar and wine list and a pleasant atmosphere. Breakfast is served at Petit Centre. This area is for the exclusive use of Silverbirch guests, so there is no need to queue with conference delegates for your meal. A full breakfast buffet is on offer, from cereals, yoghurts and pastries to hot dishes with a good selection of sides. The omelettes made here are among the best in town. In the early evening the Hot-Spot bar and lounge will serve your favourite tipple to be enjoyed while either watching the large screen TVs or catching up on emails with free Wi-Fi. Hi-Flyerz pub has a complete B747 cockpit inside (seeing is believing), and the menu includes pub-type food.

BUSINESS & MEETING FACILITIES: With over 60 venues, Birchwood is the largest conference and function venue in South Africa, with capacities ranging from five to 3,000 delegates. There is almost no function they can’t handle.

LEISURE FACILITIES: The property has a number of leisure facilities, from an invigorating game of squash or tennis to a fitness centre. If you’re looking for something a little less active, you can spoil yourself with a treatment at the Mangwanani Boutique Spa situated within the Birchwood grounds. In summer, cool off in the pool and enjoy a cold beverage. 

VERDICT: Birchwood has a winner in Silverbirch and I am sure that not only individual travellers, but also conference delegates who prefer the quieter side of life, will be staying there. I would most certainly recommend Silverbirch to anyone staying on the East side Johannesburg or needing to be close to the airport.

Pierre Grobler

14 View Point Rd, Boksburg
+27 11 897 0000