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“Awful, Website's Pictures Lie!”
Review of Birchwood Hotel

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Birchwood Hotel
Ranked #3 of 6 Hotels in Boksburg
Reviewed July 10, 2012

We learned that our South African Airways flight from Johannesburg to JFK was cancelled due to techical faults, and we were informed that we would have to return to the terminal to collect our baggage, wait in a long line to get into a shuttle, an stay in a disgusting hotel in a barred-window section of Johannesburg called "Birchwood Hotel and Conference Center". First class passengers were put up in the Intercontinental Hotel connected to the airport, and we heard later that people who directly complained to SAA agents were provided with rooms there. That only angered us more! By the time we arrived to the hotel check-in, it was already 1:30 AM, and there was a line to check-in and then we needed to ride on a golf cart to get to our room in the freezing cold! When we arrived to the "motel" room, I noticed that the heat was not working. I wanted to call the front desk to notify them of this, but the phone did not work either! So no wake-up call either! We set our camera alarm to get up at 5:30 so we could get a ride to the airport so we could check in on time to get on our 9 AM rescheduled flight to JFK. We viewed this room as an opportunity to at least wash up and get 3 hours of sleep, but in my opinion it wasn't even worth it. The sheets and towels were stained and the sink handle was broken, in addition to the non-working heater on a freezing winter night in Johannesburg. We ended up calling our own taxi ($35) to get back to Johannesburg because of how long the line to use the hotel shuttle was and had to pay for our own breakfast ($15).
This place is a dump and its embarrassing that South African Airways would use them; I guess its the only place that would have room for 300 stranded passengers that would be open last minute! Avoid this place like the plague, or get a written guarantee that you will get the same exact room that they have on their website homepage photo! Oh by the way, the hotel sits right under the flight path of some of the largest and noisiest aircraft in the world. Good luck getting some sleep.

Room Tip: Don't stay here; if you're forced to by the airline insist on getting a room at the Intercon...
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  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank WakebdrGRM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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617 - 623 of 689 reviews

Reviewed June 30, 2012

Owing to a cancelled once daily flight to Atlanta, Delta Airlines provided this hotel for an overnight stay. It consists of a sprawling, walled in compound of single-story buildings that make golf carts a necessary conveyance.

The restaurant, one of several on the property, was puzzled by our Delta voucher but reluctantly provided dinner. Breakfast in another restaurant proceeded a little more smoothly. The food was quite good in both instances.

Upon arrival, we asked to use the in house computers for the internet connection to notify our U.S. party of the delay. since our cell phones did not function there. We paid the $4.00 USD charge. (Delta did not provide a voucher for such notification purposes as would have been logical.) We were not advised that the hotel's internet connection was down (for most if not all of our stay.) For some reason, the internet service included the hotel's long distance phone service, or so we were advised. The $4.00 fee could not be refunded!

The TV's cable box malfunctioned. I phoned housekeeping and was told they would send someone right away to sort out the problem. No one ever came.

The room was furnished with a walk-in closet which also contained a built in safe. The closet was fitted with a regulation prison-bar door! However, there was no key or any way to lock either the closet or the safe.

So, one can imagine we were relieved to depart after our 16 hours there.

Room Tip: Rooms closer to reception and/or on-site restaurants are a bonus.
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  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Bolivartwitch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 14, 2012

I am actually at the hotel right now. First off no wireless internet so if you have a wifi phone or iPad you're SOL. Heater takes 10-15 minutes to start and with the draft coming from under the door and windows, heater can't keep up. Room is COLD!!! Then when I get back to the room in the evening, the ceiling is caving in and there is a massive leak from the pipes in the ceiling drenching the carpet. Had to pack and change rooms. Second room is colder than the first! Also, don't think about using their toiletries. Overall the rooms are in bad shape. Will not stay here ever again.

Stayed: June 2012, traveled on business
1  Thank Shayman1234
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 11, 2012

We stayed at the Birchwood for a couple of nights after spending two weeks in the Kruger.

The place is massive! It's a huge conference center and seems to go on forever!

Finding the room was challenging enough - the map didn't really help.

The room was what I'd expect from a conference center - big beds, TV, fridge, bath etc... the bonus with the Birchwood is that you get a lockable walk-in cupboard (for added security).

The main problem was the 'event' going on over the weekend we stayed - loud music, very loud music, people shouting... all though the night. I wouldn't have minded so much, but we were told there were no rooms available further from where the event was being held (which it would appear was the main car park) and when we checked-in, nothing was mentioned! The first indication we had that something was going on was a note under the door requesting we move the cars from the main car park and several vans turning up... doors being opened... and music being turned on!

We complained... got a discount!

Breakfast was great! So much choice!

Very convenient location - not far from the airport... just ignore that flightpath overhead!

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with family
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Thank Littleferrett
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 16, 2012

This is a large hotel with rooms spread around a large lot. Great location for conventions and meetings, however a bit impersonal due to the size. The rooms are confortable and modern, although I heard from other customers that not all of them have been refurbished. Breakfast was excellent in quality and variety.

Room Tip: Try to get a room as close as possible to the front desk. The place is really big and you will need...
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  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled on business
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Thank syllia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 5, 2012

I stayed here for 3 nights- on a recent buisness trip and that was enough As a single female traveller I do not want to be situated on the ground floor of any hotel, due to security issues.However when you see the layout of this vast complex the odds are that you could end up anywhere on your own! I was given a first floor room, a short walk away from the grand reception. Talking of grand reception they have obviously renovated the reception, shame they do not spend some of the money on these tired and shabby rooms. Beds comfy, though, bathroom adequate, in room facilities: iron, hair drier, kettle, powdered milk,tea/coffee etc. I manged to get fresh milk from the breakfast buffet to sit in the huge fridge.
Internet access payable,on arrival . surely the money they charge and rating as a 4* hotel could be included. I paid for mine only to find that the cable downstairs got cut by someone messing around. Theres plenty of that, as this is a conference centre there are hoards of people around all times of day & NIGHT. Rubbish left on staircases in flower pots, anywhere. I compained aboutno internet at 7pm , around 20 minutes later someone came t check itm came back and said the cable ahd been cut and they would fix it. What they did not tell me is that it would be sometime tomorrow. I called reception 3 times over the next 3 hours and no-one could tell me what was going on. At 10.00pm I gave up asking. Returning from work the next day they had repaired it. Shocking service for a 4* hotel more like a 2*. Breakfast enourmous variety of food, some very bland and tastless. Apple juice incipid like water. Hot water -luke warm.
I ate out at the little bistro in the corner of the complex best food I have had for a long time, steak was fabulous, attention to detail great and waiters knowledgable. Getting around the complex is by golf buggy and this is Ok,but no mention of this on the website? I felt the hotel rating was too high, the price too high the service not so good. Bonus points for the free shuttle service to the airport, thank you.

Room Tip: ???? Did'nt see any good rooms, all dark even in the daylight, THey have dark brown or black car...
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  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled on business
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1  Thank NitaDorsetUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 26, 2012

We stayed here at the beginning and end of our month trip to the Country. The Birchwood offers free pick ups, every hour or so to and from JNB International. Luckily we didn’t have to wait too long for the bus. After a quick check-in we were driven by one of the many golf buggies to our room.

The hotel is on a very large complex (hence the golf buggies),with lots of conference rooms, a little swimming pool and even a small church, very close to the airport, the planes do roar over the site – you can almost touch them! The room was a bit tired but very clean, spacious with two double beds, flat screen TV, fridge, good size room all round. Unfortunately, there is a nightclub (nothing to do with the hotel), boom, boom, boom till about 3:00am!

There are a couple of bars on site and an excellent restaurant.

There is a Spur just outside the Birchwood, we eat there on our first night, it was really good, excellent service and great value for money. There is also a couple of shopping complexes’ with various places to eat.

The breakfast next morning, was the highlight. Self service, freshly cooked. Plenty of room/seating area.

On our return stay we still had our hire car. This was no problem as you are able to park right outside your room. The room this time was newly refurbished. We did ask for a quiet room as we didn’t want a repeat with hearing the nightclub – but alas this didn’t happen and we could still hear the music.

I would definitely stay again, the staff are very friendly, the rooms are extremely clean, but ask for a quiet room.

Room Tip: Request a quiet room due to offsite nightclub
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with family
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Thank snowies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Birchwood Hotel

Address: Viewpoint Street | Bartlett, Boksburg 1459, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Gauteng > Greater Johannesburg > Boksburg
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 6 Hotels in Boksburg
Price Range: $60 - $124 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Birchwood Hotel 3.5*
Number of rooms: 665
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Birchwood Hotel and OR Tambo Conference Centre is South Africa's leading business-to-business conferencing facility, catering to hundreds of business travellers from all over the world each year. Over 17 years of experience in hospitality, and in understanding the needs of our guests, coupled with a location that is hard to beat, are the secrets to our success at the Birchwood Hotel. Added to our "success formula" is our staff who are highly trained and dedicated to exceeding the expectations of our guests. The Birchwood Hotel offers 665 accommodation rooms, 60 on-site venues, three restaurants, including a fine-dining steak-house, a café and wine bar for quick meals and drinks and our aviation bar, for relaxing after a hard day's business. Other facilities include the Mangwanani African Day Spa, a gym, pool and squash courts. We at the Birchwood Hotel pride ourselves on the exceptional service of our staff and their dedication to ensuring all our guests' needs and preferences are catered for. With our large range of venues and facilities which enables us to host any sized event, whether it be for two delegates or 3000 delegates, we guarantee the all-important personal touch, by ensuring flexibility and affordability for all event types and budgets. Let us at the Birchwood Hotel assist you with your next conference, banquet, product launch, exhibition, wedding or accommodation needs, because as Gauteng's premier hospitality hub we endeavour to make your occasion our occasion! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Birchwood Hotel Boksburg

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