WHEN a hotel says it’s the best, I reserve judgment. When Travel & Leisure magazine votes it the Best Hotel in Johannesburg, I take note and investigate for myself. The Grace in Rosebank, especially for guests who are staying on the Club Floor and have the advantage of butler service, is among the finest hotels I have visited in the world.
There are only two negatives and only one of their own doing, but otherwise, this is a perfect hotel.
The shower cubicle is a little small and, not of their doing, the road systems in and around Rosebank now that the Gautrain development is underway are exacerbating for those of us who don’t know the way, to say the least.
Fortunately, one of the brilliant added-value offerings for all guests at The Grace is a complimentary chauffer service within 10 kilometers of the hotel so despite having a car, we took advantage of the pick up and drop off and enjoyed our night out ten-fold more not having to worry about traffic at night.
People will tell you that I’m spoiled. This I know. In fact, I was at my local pharmacy when Mr Mallach came up and told me a story that his daughter, with whom I was in junior school, tells at my expense.
I don’t remember the incident at all, but it seems true to form. When the teacher in grade three asked me to go and collect something I said, she and not I, should collect it.
I relate this because I am used to having superb service. I’m not one of these people who become bashful at the thought of someone serving me. What makes the service at The Grace beyond exceptional is not that they will do your bidding, but rather that they offer it without being asked. “May we shine your shoes”, butler Elijah says without even looking down at my mud-encrusted footwear; can we press your shirt; may we serve you a glass of wine with canapés; may we have your car washed? “May we make up your room”, he asked as we left for a jaunt around the adjoining Mall of Rosebank.
“Don’t worry”, I said, “we’ll be back soon and then we’ll check out.” When we got back, the room had been serviced. This level of bespoke service is what sophisticated travelers today crave, but we make do with large, corporate hotels where you’re more likely to find a jumble of airline staff or large group of deal-seekers.
The Grace is a premium product and is priced accordingly, but the added-value must also be considered when selecting another five-star product based on price alone. The kitchen is headed by Group Executive Chef Raymond Rundle and his team. The Dining Room’s menu is simple, elegant and contemporary. It is famed for its breakfast, which is just as I remember it from my last visit some years ago, (and the only spot offering oats with fresh cream and Drambuie).
If you’re in a hurry over lunch (and who isn’t nowadays) they’re offering a “Power Lunch” that allows corporate guests in the immediate area to be back in their offices within an hour (and a surprisingly inexpensive burger option!) The hotels meetings rooms have been branded “54 Bath Avenue” and are on the second floor, accommodating 12 to 200 people in one venue.
All guests have access to WiFi on the premises. Complimentary wireless internet is available in all rooms. In addition, internet points for Ethernet is also available for guests whose notebooks are not compatible with a wireless option.
By Brian Berkman
The Grace, Rosebank. 011-280-7200