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All reviewsconference venuereception areaconference facilitieshourly shuttlethe grilleast rand mallclose to the airporttambo airportexcellent serviceevery hourenjoyed my stayshopping mallshuttle servicecartsgolfvenuesaccommodation
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Reviewed May 27, 2013

Location:
Within 15 minutes of airport.

Getting to Hotel from Airport:
Hotel shuttle is hourly from bus stop next to Intercontinental hotel. Just missed shuttle so instead of waiting for next shuttle or going back to terminal for taxi negotiated with one of the other hotel shuttle bus drivers to drop off 3 of us at Birchwood for R150.

Check-In:
No lines.
Haphazard.
Several people at reception but not clear who can check you in and who can’t.
When asked for room with good wireless access was given a LAN cable also.
NOTE: Person who gave me the LAN cable did not tell me I need to get a code for internet access.
Asked for and got a loaner South African power plug adapter.

Getting to first hotel room:
In 100 area.
Very far from reception.
Had to wait 15 minutes for golf cart to take me to room (which only took a minute).
Layout of complex makes it difficult to find your room on your own the first time.

First Room:
In 100 area.
Non-smoking.
Smelled very clean.
Very large.
Two large beds.
Very far from reception.
High table not suitable for working with laptop.
Relatively older looking with small basic bathroom.
Did not stay in first room very long to really assess it well.
Safe was lock box without lock that would not fit a laptop.

Internet In Room:
Once I determined the wireless did not work in the room I was first allocated I connected using the LAN cable. Then found out I need an access code to access the internet. Called reception to get a code. Was told I had to go back to reception to get a code. Told they were sending a golf cart to pick me up. Waited 30 minutes for pick up. After none arrived called reception again. Was told they were sending someone right away. Waited another 15 minutes and hotel bus showed up. Luckily I had not unpacked and went back to reception with my bags. Asked reception for code. Receptionist told me I didn’t have to come to reception for code, they could have sent it over. At this point when I complained about the run around I was given a complimentary access code for 24 hours. I asked for a room closer to reception. Was given one in 5000 area about 5 minutes walk from reception. Wireless access in second room was spotty but I with LAN cable I was able to get access to internet at fairly good speed with only occasional drops in service.

Second Room:
In 5000 area.
Non-smoking.
Smelled very clean.
Average sized.
Two king size bed.
Relatively new furnishings with much better lighting and much better bathroom than first room.
Smaller TV than first room.
Rest of review is relative to second room.

Safe:
Yes. Big enough for laptop.

Room Service:
None.
But restaurants in the compound have take away.

Elevators:
No need. You need golf carts to get to further points of compound.

Desk:
Good working height.
South African power sockets at desk level used with adapter loaned by reception.

Desk Chair:
Not adjustable but comfortable for work.

Iron:
Yes.

Trouser Press:
No.

Robe:
No.

Slippers:
No.

Umbrella:
No.

Tea and Coffee in room:
Complimentary.

Complimentary Drinking Water:
No.

Fridge:
Yes.

Turn Down Service:
Didn’t see it offered.
But in the evening someone came by with chocolate and coffee packets.
One night I asked for milk for tea instead and this was cheerfully delivered a few minutes later.

Room Lighting:
Good in-ceiling lighting.
Bedside lamps.
Good lighting.

Closet, Drawer and Cabinet Space:
Large hanging closet.
3 medium-sized shelves under TV cabinet.

Phones:
Phone on desk.
No phone bedside.
No phone in bathroom.

Couch:
Side chair.

TV:
Small wall mounted LCD.
Several TV channels with a large selection of sports channels.

Windows:
Full wall height window.
Curtains effective at blocking sunlight.

Balcony:
No.

View from Room:
Back of hotel room and compound wall.

Bathroom:
Medium sized but very practical.
Shower and separate bathtub.
No bidet.
No magnifying mirror.
Good lighting.
Basic amenities.
Water pressure strong.
Hot water after waiting a few minutes.
Non-heated mirror.
No shaver outlet.
Bathroom floor not heated.

Morning Newspaper at Door:
No.

Gym:
Maybe – with the large compound it was hard to tell.

Pool:
Maybe – with the large compound it was hard to tell.

Steam Room:
Maybe – with the large compound it was hard to tell.

Sauna:
Maybe – with the large compound it was hard to tell.

Noise Level in Room:
Light noise from outside sometimes.
Occasional aircraft noise.

Bed:
King size bed.
Firm mattress.
Bedside lamps.
Very comfortable.
Very clean.

Room Cleanliness:
Cleaned well daily.

Air Conditioning/Heating:
Heating unit was very ineffective at heating the room until I discovered a gap under the room door. From second night onwards I put a rolled towel in the gap and heating was more effective after that.

Alarm Clock and Wakeup:
No alarm clock.
Wake up calls requested from reception were always on time.

Laundry Service:
Did not use.

Microwave Oven:
No.

Breakfast:
Called reception for directions to breakfast and I was told I had to use the Petit Center restaurant for breakfast. After two mornings of walking to opposite ends of the compound for breakfast I asked reception for an alternative. I was told there is a closer option I could have used all along. This option was busier but much closer to get to/from and halved my time for breakfast. Unfortunately, the first person I asked did not bother to tell me that I could save time with the alternate location. The food was pretty similar in both locations. Buffet breakfast with several hot and cold options.

Restaurant:
Very good steak restaurant at far end of compound.
Small casual café with several options near reception with very reasonable prices.

Parking:
Did not use but seemed plentiful and spread out over the compound.

Staff:
Polite but not always effective.
One day after my room was serviced they didn’t leave any bath towels. I called reception for towels and was told they would be delivered shortly. After waiting 45 minutes I called again and asked how long I should expect to wait for towels. I was told it should have taken no longer than 5 minutes. At this point I asked to speak to the manager. The duty manager got involved and personally delivered towels at the requested time. From this point on my experience with the hotel got much better. The duty manager made sure I was properly taken care of for the rest of my stay.

Check Out:
No waiting.
Very fast.

Leaving Hotel:
Took hourly shuttle to airport. Took about 15 minutes to get to airport.

Room Tip: Ask for room near reception if you want to save time getting to/from your room.
  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank ymff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Greg H, Manager at Birchwood Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded June 4, 2013

Dear ymff,

Thank you for your review,

It is extensive feedback such as this that allows us to continue improving our services as well as examine potential shortfalls in guest experiences.

Firstly, your transport to from OR Tambo. Our shuttle is indeed hourly, but this only applies to the complimentary shuttle. We have an office at the airport directly opposite the shuttle pick-up zone and am disappointed to hear that a complimentary tea or coffee was not made available to you while waiting. Transport to the hotel can also be arranged through our on-site tour operator as well who can be contacted via our airport office. We apologise for this experience not being as intended for you and will address the matters with the relevant staff.

Regarding internet services, our reception certainly are supposed to inform you of the internet access vouchers and allocation of a suitable room with the required amount of signal also, should not have been a problem. A room in our 100 block was not correct indeed. This too will be addressed. This, along with other factors naturally caused you to have to move rooms which is purely not acceptable from our side, and we apologise for this severe inconvenience. We are happy to hear that internet access was received in our 5000 block and that the room was acceptable for you.

Regarding our on-site facilities such as the pool, gym, sauna and steam room, these are indeed all on-site and we are disappointed to hear that you were not informed or a suitable property map was not given to you to enjoy them. Thank you for your compliments on our Local Grill Steakhouse. It appears breakfast was not as conveniently accessed or enjoyed as much however.

To summarise, certainly your experience with us was far from the standard that we aim to maintain. I invite you to email me to discuss any of the below matters further in order that we can ensure that your next stay with us is off the level we intend it to be. We are indeed a very large property however, this is intended to be a benefit to you rather than a negative factor.

Thank you again for your feedback. Please be assured that all matters will be addressed internally.

Email: gregh@birchwoodhotel.co.za.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 26, 2013

Firstly this was not the first time I stayed at this hotel but seems the bigger they get the worse there service becomes. Reception was ok if not trying to translate what the mumbling was.

The rooms are average although more thought could have gone into the fact that most cellphone chargers do not come with 3 point plugs. the bathroom was ok in appearance but hot water in the shower requires patience and suddenly disappears. the water pressure especially the hot water vanishes as the other bathrooms open taps so a cold shower at 05:30 is possible. The staff are not discreet and shouting seems to be the norm and sounds like a market during shift change not to mention the endless drone and back firing golf carts.

The best thing about my stay was the Petite centre where breakfast was served. Efficient professional staff who save this hotel with service and attention to detail

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank mohamedz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Greg H, Manager at Birchwood Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded May 26, 2013

Dear mohamedz,

Thank you for your review. The concerns mentioned are of a very concerning nature, as this is certainly far from standard practice for the hotel and we will be looking in to the issues urgently - particularly the water problems as well as staff and golf cart noises.

It is good to hear that our Petit Centre breakfast as well as the service experienced during it were enjoyed.

We would like to do our utmost to ensure that we can alter your perception of our property - please feel free to contact me to discuss the items further.

Email: gregh@birchwoodhotel.co.za.

Kind Regards and we hope to see you again soon at the Birchwood.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 19, 2013

Vast property with the rooms often being a good 15 min walk or 5 mins on a gold buggy to them.

Rooms were simple and clean but no wifi, also I stayed beside the back gate so I had the noise from the Laundrette which didnt help. For single female travelers I would recommend the rooms much closer to the reception block.

Very nice transfer from the airport and the food wasn't too bad, nice steak at The Grill.

Good for conferences as plenty of fresh air and space to walk around in, however it is on the flight path for the airport so quite noisy especially in the early morning.

Staff were excellent and plenty of them.

Room Tip: Don't stay down by the back gate
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank jhdub
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Greg H, Manager at Birchwood Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded May 21, 2013

Dear jndub,

Thank you for your review.

Based on your comments, it appears you had both positive and negative experiences during your stay. We are pleased that rooms were felt to be satisfactory however, the Wi-fi connectivity should have been addressed by our Reception. Certain rooms do not get access due to proximity factors. This should have been communicated to you and a suitable room allocated.

Thank you for the compliments on our on-site restaurant, The Local Grill as well as our conferencing facilities - we are happy that you found our unique layout to be effective. The noise from planes is unfortunately due to our extremely close proximity to OR Tambo International Airport.

We sincerely hope that you will be making use of the Birchwood again soon in order that we can change your experience from mixed to exceptional.


Kind Regards,

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Reviewed April 19, 2013

I live in Johannesburg and this is my second encounter at the Birchwood Hotel. Last year I was there for the SASCOC Coaching Conference and this time its for the National Lottery Board Indaba and we had the inaugural dinner awards last night.

Their staff is always sooo pleasant and helpful :)

Its always a pleasure visiting the Birchwood Hotel :)

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank MaMchunu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Greg H, Manager at Birchwood Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded April 22, 2013

Dear MaMchunu,

Thank you for your review. We sincerely enjoyed having with us last week and are very happy that your experience a positive one. It is also a pleasure hosting you and we hope to see you with us again soon.

Kind Regards,

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 9, 2013

What a tremendous treat you gave Reon & I. A real spoiling. We so enjoyed our dinner at the Grill the food was really great and the service excellent.



We walked round the grounds and admired what you are doing to green the Hotel.



Lewis Pugh`s talk was more than inspirational it was a lesson in sheer determination.How he could have

survived those traumas I really don`t know,the only thing I think is that he has Welsh Blood from his Mother,

I too am Welsh, so it makes us tough!

We look forward to staying with you again in the near future

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank ElsbethL889
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Greg H, Manager at Birchwood Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded April 9, 2013

Dear EisbethL889,

You are more than welcome. Thank you for you joining the presentation and event and also, for visiting our award-winning restaurant, The Local Grill, as well.

We too, hope that we will see you again in the near future.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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