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“Hotel had much to offer, but has some flaws” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Protea Hotel Balalaika Sandton

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Protea Hotel Balalaika Sandton
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   20 Maude Street | Sandown, Sandton 2196, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #17 of 44 hotels in Sandton
Kutztown, Pennsylvania
Top Contributor
1,374 reviews 1,374 reviews
170 hotel reviews
Reviews in 408 cities Reviews in 408 cities
1,243 helpful votes 1,243 helpful votes
“Hotel had much to offer, but has some flaws”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2013

This large (300 room) hotel in the upscale area of Sandton has much to offer. We stayed two nights as part of a tour. The rooms are comfortable--ours overlooked the garden, had comfortable beds, a desk, comfortable chair, coffee maker and safe (the safe was difficult to use because being in a closet, it had no lights on the numbers, so I had to use a flash light to set it).. Because of the configuration of the hotel, you need to find out which hallway and elevator you need to take to get to your room. There is free wifi that worked well for me on my tablet, but it stopped three times on my wife's tablet and she had to get new user names and password each time--somewhat of a nuisance. They also have a bank of computers to use in the lobby and this came in handy to print boarding passes.

The hotel has a large dining area and serves a very good breakfast buffet with made to order omelettes. One night we used room service for dinner and had very good spinach and mushroom lasagna for 59 rand each (about $6.50).

The next door shopping center is closing down, but the hotel is near other centers. They offer a regular shuttle service to different places in Sandton, especially the Nelson Mandela Center, a nice shopping center with restaurants, which is only a long block away. If taking the shuttle, you have to call the hotel to have the shuttle pick you up to return to the hotel. It is also an easy walk--just exit the hotel and turn left and walk the long block, cross the street and the Mandela Center is right there. Sandton City is another center, another block or two away.

The staff are pleasant enough, but there were issues that indicate some lapses in training and taking responsibility. The front walkway and street slopes down toward the hotel--on a rainy day it is very slippery, especially a 2 foot wide grate near the sidewalk--I slide on it and went down--even though there were staff members in front of the hotel, none came to help me (this was reported to the front desk and our tour director). On another occasion, late one night a drunk was in the hall, trying to get into different rooms--a number of calls were made to the front desk by the people in the rooms, but no one from security came to check it out or help. Too bad--this is a lovely place, which could be a top notch hotel--they have a ways to go.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Balalaika_Management, General Manager at Protea Hotel Balalaika Sandton, responded to this review, February 4, 2013
Dear ‘PnMiller’.
Thank you for taking the time to write such detailed feedback on ‘tripadvisor’. How wonderful to read that you enjoyed your stay with us. We would also like to thank you for your constructive criticism you have raised. We would like to apologize for any inconvenience caused. Please know that your concerns have been taken to heart and addressed with the relevant Departments, who have taken the necessary measures to ensure these do not occur again.
We look forward in welcoming you and your wife back again soon.
Kind regards,
Jörg Zwinscher
General Manager & Team
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (86)
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London, United Kingdom
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2013

Stayed here in November 2012. It has old world charm. Rooms were functional, if a little tired. However I heard from people in Jo'burg that the hotel was going to undergo some rennovation. Breakfast superb. Location perfect for what I needed. Staff very helpful - especially the concierge CJ. Downsides: Bull Run restaurant next door/attached, staff very slow and got things wrong numerous times. Check-in and check-out took ages. Radar keys for the room kept on breaking down. Would stay again though.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Balalaika_Management, General Manager at Protea Hotel Balalaika Sandton, responded to this review, January 29, 2013
Dear ‘JoFo74UK’.
Thank you for taking the time to write on ‘tripadvisor’. Your praise about CJ in particular is greatly appreciated. Please know that I have congratulated him on doing a great job! You will be pleased to know that one of our refurbishing projects is to upgrade our key card system
( room door locks ). Please know that I have addressed your concerns about the Bull Run with their Management Team; may I ask if you had spoken to any of them during your meal?
We look forward in welcoming you back again soon.
Kind regards,
Jörg Zwinscher
General Manager & Team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town Central, South Africa
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2013

Once again a lovely stay!!! Alesha at the front desk is very friendly and exceptionally helpfull!!!
Patricia and Ohad at Reservations are also an absolute pleasure to deal with!!
(Pity there are no smoking rooms :-) but the balcony rooms make up for it!!

Thank you

Stayed January 2013, traveled on business
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Balalaika_Management, General Manager at Protea Hotel Balalaika Sandton, responded to this review, January 29, 2013
Dear ‘Delia M’.
Your positive words on ‘tripadvisor’ are very much appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to do so. Your praise about Alesha, Ohad & Patricia truly mean alot and will surely encourage them to keep up their great work.
We look forward in welcoming you back again soon.
Kind regards,
Jöerg Zwinscher
General Manager & Team
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Denmark
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2013

The Babalaika hotel are really nice. Place in the center of Johannesburg, and with a big green garden in the back. Staff are helpfull and always ready. The breakfast are really good, with a big selection, and loots of room. The Bull Run restaurant next door are worthy of a visit

Room Tip: Make sure to get a room on first floor... They have rooms in the basement also... They are not worth...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jeroen Holland
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2013

If a business hotel tells you they are overbooked at 11 pm after a 16 hour journey, there is clearly something wrong. One person for one room can happen, but when it happend to me, the whole lobby was filled with people who had the same issue.

After an hour waiting they stated they had found an alternative hotel for the night of similar quality. Unfortunately, this was far from the thruth.

Never again for me!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled on business
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Balalaika_Management, General Manager at Protea Hotel Balalaika Sandton, responded to this review, January 29, 2013
Dear ‘Jeroen_77’. Your comments refer. Again, we would like to apologize most sincerely for the unfortunate incident of not being able to accommodate you upon your arrival at 23h00. We do understand your frustration. But unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, the hotel had become overbooked and we had been unable to accommodate you that evening. This is by no means a norm, despite being a very busy hotel. As a token of our apology, we would like to invite you back to enjoy one complimentary night’s stay with us, when next you are in the area. Kindly contact our Guest Relations Manager, Christine (Christine@balalaika.co.za) to assist with the Reservation.
Kind regards,
Jörg Zwinscher
General Manager & Team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Telford, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
111 reviews 111 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 46 cities Reviews in 46 cities
108 helpful votes 108 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2013

This hotel really is a sanctuary, nice gardens, pools and singing birds. It is hard to believe there is the hustle and bustle of Sandton just outside. Friendly, efficient staff. Great bar. The hotel is always pretty full with guests but because it is spaced out, nobody is on top of anybody, there always seems like there is space.
Being able to use The Bull Run restaurant situated next door for room service is a big bonus.
Rooms in the newer Garden Court part of the hotel are obviously more modern than those at the front of the hotel.
Just one thing, the cleaning staff.... When there is do not disturb sign on the door, particularly when wanting a lie in at the weekend, why do the staff vacuum the hallway scrapping the vacuum or trolley against the door at 7-8am? Do not disturb means more than just not knocking the door.

Room Tip: Ask for a room in the Garden Court. They are more modern.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Balalaika_Management, General Manager at Protea Hotel Balalaika Sandton, responded to this review, January 24, 2013
Dear ‘andyove’.
Your kind words on ‘tripadvisor’ are truly appreciated. We would have to agree with you that our gardens are just too beautiful and seem soothing to the soul. It definitely does not give one the impression of being in a very busy suburb or hotel. We feel truly blessed with our lovely gardens. Please know that we have addressed your concern with our Housekeeping Department. Thank you for bringing it to our attention.
We look forward in welcoming you back.
Kind regards,
Jörg Zwinscher
General Manager & Team
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London UK
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2013 via mobile

The setting is beautiful invoking a feeling of being in the jungle. The tress and the tweeting birds set around swimming pools. So many rooms but you never feel crowded as there is so much to do in and around the hotel including Mandela square.
Rooms are very comfortable and business friendly. Customer service very good.

Check location of hotel machinery. Room 2159 had a compressor in the vicinity which took off every so often in the middle of the night. The frosty television pictures are uncalled for in this day and age.

Stayed January 2013, traveled on business
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Balalaika_Management, General Manager at Protea Hotel Balalaika Sandton, responded to this review, January 24, 2013
Dear ‘MagoLondonUK’.
Thank you very much for taking the time to write on ‘tripadvisor’. We were thrilled to read about your positive experiences. Your praise is truly appreciated. Please know that we have asked our Maintenance Team to investigate the concern which you have raised. Thank you for bringing it to our attention.
We look forward in welcoming you back again.
Kind regards,
Jörg Zwinscher
General Manager & Team
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Protea Hotel Balalaika Sandton

Also Known As:
Protea Hotel Johannesburg
Balalaika Hotel
Protea Hotel Balalaika
Sandton Hotel Balalaika
Protea Hotel Balalaika Sandton Greater Johannesburg
Address: 20 Maude Street | Sandown, Sandton 2196, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Gauteng > Greater Johannesburg > Sandton
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#10 Business Hotel in Sandton
#15 Luxury Hotel in Sandton
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Protea Hotel Balalaika Sandton 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Protea Hotel Balalaika Sandton is a tranquil oasis of country estate in the heart of the business and entertainment hub of Sandton, just outside Johannesburg, South Africa and approximately 30 minutes from O.R. Tambo International Airport. The Protea Hotel Balalaika is the perfect stopover for those doing business in the surrounding area, or as a central hub for the discerning tourist. The hotel comprises of two sections – the Balalaika and the Crown Court – and all rooms are air-conditioned and tastefully furnished in a classic, comfortable style with their own en-suite bathroom, with many of the Crown Court suites offering the additional luxury of a private spa bath. Both buildings of Protea Hotel Balalaika are set in their own lush, landscaped garden, each boasting a sparkling swimming pool, where GUESTs can relax, unwind and momentarily experience the timelessness and calm of a bygone era. At the Protea Hotel Balalaika, efficient, discreet and attentive service is a priority and our well-trained STAFF is always on hand to ensure that all of your needs are amply met. Guests are able to safely and easily use the link from the hotel lobby to the festive Village Walk Shopping Centre, which houses 15 restaurants, 70 shops selling a variety of wares, a main grocery store (Pick ‘n Pay), hair and beauty salons and the well-known African Craft market, where one will find African artifacts, curios and artworks from all over the continent. ... more   less 
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