Hotel review: Radisson Blu Port Elizabeth


BACKGROUND: Radisson Blu Port Elizabeth was purpose-built for the 2010 World Cup, but has since evolved into a sought-after seafront hotel popular with the corporate, government and leisure markets. For the third year running it has received certification from the global SafeHotels programme, which benchmarks security standards in the hospitality industry. The entire property is non-smoking.

WHERE IS IT?: In the upmarket suburb of Summerstrand, a 10-minute drive from Port Elizabeth Airport, and a similar distance to the central business district. It’s also close to the N2 freeway for travellers heading into the Eastern Cape, and a short walk from some of the city’s best beaches.

ROOMS: The property offers 173 rooms across 18 floors, with rooms on the upper floors offering superb ocean views. ‘Superior Rooms’ – with or without a direct ocean view – make up the bulk of the stock and are well-suited to corporate travellers. Beds can be configured as king or twin, with a desk workspace, coffee facilities and high-speed complimentary internet access. Junior Suites are a significant step up, offering nearly double the space and a separate lounge area. My Junior Suite had a superb sea view, to be enjoyed from the king-size bed or the large couch in the adjoining lounge area. The inclusion of large flat-screen TVs, with major satellite channels, in both areas makes for an impressive feature. In the lounge area there was a sea-facing desk too, and with coffee facilities on hand it was ideal for tackling early-morning emails. Suites also receive a nightly turndown service complete with Lindt chocolates, which is a nice touch. The bathrooms are modern and spacious, with both bath and shower, but these are rather open-plan to the bedroom – worth remembering if you plan on upgrading to share with a colleague. If convenience is key, inter-connecting rooms are available.

BARS & RESTAURANTS: There’s one food and beverage outlet on site, the Tabú Grill, Bar and Lounge overlooking the pool terrace. Tabú Grill offers all-day dining, with generous breakfast buffet-style. A buffet is also offered at dinnertime, but the a la carte menu is a better bet with a good range of South African and international dishes. The steaks are generous and well cooked, with a value-for-money wine list alongside. Tabú Grill is certainly a good option for after-work dinners and catching up with colleagues, but for celebratory client dinners it’s perhaps a little low-key. The adjoining Tabú Bar & Lounge offers both seating at the bar and on a more private couch; a fine spot for after-work drinks.

BUSINESS FACILITIES: There’s a small business centre on the ground floor for last-minute services, but the hub of the hotel’s corporate offering is its spacious conference facilities. Ranging from private meeting rooms to larger function spaces, these take over an entire floor stretching across 680 square metres. The multi-functional Bay Suite space can be tailored to accommodate between 42 and 180 people, with a dedicated bar and catering area on hand. The conference floor offers separate access lifts for delegates. The friendly concierge team on the ground floor can also assist with airport transfers and other requests.

LEISURE FACILITIES: Modern gym facilities are available on-site, managed through an outside provider. It features state-of-the-art Technogym equipment, along with a weights and floor area. Outside guests also use the facility and it can get busy in the mornings. There’s a dedicated shower area in the gym. Subject to availability, hotel guests have complimentary access to the steam room facilities at the on-site Amani Spa, which offers a wide range of facial and body therapies. Treatments are competitively priced, making this a good option for corporate breakaways. The spa offers six treatment rooms, a relaxation room and nail bar. There’s a pool on-site, situated in front of the Tabú Grill, and while you won’t fit in too many laps, it’s great for winding down after a day in the office. Sea views, again, come standard.

VERDICT: The combination of location, facilities and upmarket accommodation ensures the Radisson Blu Port Elizabeth ticks all the right boxes for the corporate market, keeping weekend leisure visitors happy too. ■

Richard Holmes

A: Cnr Marine Drive & 9th Avenue
T: +27 41 509 5000