My Wife and I stayed there for our Honeymoon in Sept 2006.
From the beginning I was not happy with this hotel. When checking in, the clerk asked if we wanted a smoking or non-smoking room. I requested non-smoking (as neither of us smoke). We were taken to our room which reeked of saturated smoke and air freshener. As well, an ashtray was on the desk. I called up reception, and notified them of the mistake, but the clerk insisted it was a non-smoking room. After insisting that it smells, and has an ashtray, he said "I don't have any other rooms available". At which point I told them that they better find us a non-smoking room (as it was stipulated in our reservation), or transfer us to a close-by hotel.
A half-hour later, a porter came for our bags and we were transferred to another room. This room smelled almost as bad as the last. Again, the clerk insisted that it was non-smoking. When I asked again about the ashtray on the desk, he remarked "that's for holding a candle". At that point, I was almost ready to blowup (It's at that point that I also noticed that some of the rooms have non-smoking signs on the door - the ones we were taken to didn't).
Finally on our third room, we got one that didn't smell and was actually non-smoking. I have never been lied-to in this manner before, let alone by a hotel.
During our stay, we requested the use of an Iron and Ironing board. (Most hotels in North America will give you one for the duration of your stay. It seemed that the hotels in South Africa would ask you to return it when you were done each time. A bit of a pain, but tolerable). When the Iron arrived, they made us sign a waiver (saying we would be liable for any damage to it), and that we could only use it for 30 minutes. What a joke.
If the hotel itself was amazing, in spite of the above problems, I would probably give it 2 stars, however the hotel is nothing to write home about. Parts of it are renovated, but the hallways are so narrow and old, it makes you feel closterphobic. The rooms are average for a hotel, and do not have any remarkable "features".
The breakfast was ok, but the service is mixed. One day we had a great young kid who was really happy to make sure we were ok, the next day we had a waiter who insisted on setting the table for the next patrons while we were still having Tea, and engaging in a conversation.
We didn't try the Bull Run restaurant, as we had reservations at various other restaurants around Sandton.
All in all, this was probably the worst customer service experience I've ever had at a hotel. Please look elsewhere before staying here. The Protea hotel we stayed at in Cape Town was lightyears beyond this one.
- Also Known As:
- Protea Hotel Johannesburg
- Balalaika Hotel
- Protea Hotel Balalaika
- Sandton Hotel Balalaika
- Protea Hotel Balalaika Sandton Greater Johannesburg
- 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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