There are business hotels, and there are hotels that mean business. I think the Four Seasons The Westcliff Johannesburg is a little of both. Given its location, it seemed like the perfect place to stay for a couple of nights while up in Jo’burg on business.
Set up high on a cliff in Saxonworld, this place offers you something you don’t often find in Johannesburg; A little peace and quiet with incredible views.
Being a Jo’burg native, I remember this hotel from when it was just called ‘The Westcliff’. Back then it was super fancy – in a very colonial type of way – but all we managed to do was visit the Polo Bar for a couple of sundowners every now and then. Either way, everyone knew the bright pink hotel on the cliff!
The hotel though has recently undergone a year and a half of renovation where it opened its doors in early 2015 as Four Seasons The Westcliff Johannesburg. The original Westcliff hotel was actually a townhouse complex and much of that structure remains (though disappointingly the pink has been replaced with a neutral beige) amongst the green leafy gardens.
In stark contrast to the classic buildings is the new glass elevator that takes you up to their View and Flames restaurants. Here you’ll find a great combination of old meets new in the decor and food. We never managed to eat at the flames restaurant, but it had just launched a new menu that looked pretty awesome!
Our room also managed to capture that ‘old meets new’ charm with dark walls and furnishings contrasting perfectly against that crisp white linen! White linen is really all I need from a hotel, and this stuff felt like it was a million thread count or something. Super luxurious. The best part of the room though may have been the view! Ours looked over the Johannesburg Zoo with the iconic Hillbrow Tower perfectly framed every time I walked outside! It’s also super quiet up there, you get this amazing humdrum of energy from the city creeping up in a really zen kinda way. Sounds a little hippy I know, but it’s the best way to explain it.
By now you know that I judge my hotels HARD on their breakfasts so I was pretty excited to put this one to the test. When it comes to breakfast you have 2 options, you can opt for breakfast out at The View, overlooking the leafy parks or take it down in The Deli next to the new spa. As we were there for 3 nights we decided to try both and just hit our favourite on the last morning.
The Deli definitely won hands down for us! Not only because it offered more interesting breakfast options but also because it stopped us filling up at the continental buffet like we did the morning before – leaving more space for us to enjoy our actual breakfast. If your stay includes breakfast (as ours did) you can pretty much order whatever you want off the menu. So we did just that and got stuck into some buttermilk flapjacks (with a side of bacon, OF COURSE) as well as steak, egg and chips… as one does for breakfast! The food was awesome, but the service is what really stood out!
Unfortunately, and this seems to be a trend amongst hotels, the coffee left a lot to be desired! Why can’t hotels just get a decent barista to make a great flat white in the morning, I’ll never understand!?
On our last day we needed to leave at 6am, so we called our breakfast order into the Deli the night before to pick up just before we left. This is a really incredible service if you’re on business and don’t have time for a leisurely breakfast. Elzaan popped in to get our order while I checked us out. Our breakfast burrito and the salmon bagel was all neatly packed complete with condiments and cutlery in a little ‘to go’ bag! It was the perfect touch!
If you only ever go to the Four Season Johannesburg for one thing, a sundowner at The View restaurant should definitely be it. As the name implies, it offers a panoramic view of the worlds largest man made forest and is really the perfect place to watch one of those incredible Jo’burg sunsets.
I know I’ve said this a couple of times already, but it was for us the biggest stand out during our stay. In a place where the streets are so jam-packed with hustle and bustle, a moment of quiet really is worth its weight in the city of gold and there is probably no better place to experience that than up here.
Overall, our stay at the Four Seasons The Westcliff Johannesburg was a little rushed and we didn’t get to enjoy or experience the hotel as much as we would have liked. I guess that’s Johannesburg for you.
I think it’s location really does makes it the perfect business hotel. It’s close to downtown Johannesburg and a stone’s throw away from the new city centre of Sandton. In fact, come to think of it, it’s location makes it perfect for anyone traveling to Jo’burg and looking for a great base from which to explore.
Okay. Travel safe and stay fancy.