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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 June 8, 2013

The 665 room Birchwood Hotel and OR Tambo Conference Centre is situated on Viewpoint Road in Boksburg, a short drive from the terminal building of Johannesburg’s Oliver Tambo Airport. It is within easy reach of highways to Pretoria and Central Johannesburg. Nearby is the East Rand Shopping Mall, the K90 Shopping Centre and the East Rand Flea market as well as several restaurants.
The hotel operates a free drop off and pick up service to both the East Rand Shopping Mall and the OR Tambo Terminal building where it has a reception area for arriving guests. Although the hotel lies near the final approach path of landing airlines rooms are well insulated and little sound is heard from within the rooms.
The hotel consists of single story motel type accommodation within several acres complete with gardens to stroll in. Electric cart drivers are on hand to ferry guests around the complex. For guests arriving in cars there is car parking outside each room. The complex is surrounded by security fencing with entrance and exit of cars strictly controlled and monitored.
On arriving at the hotel from the airport in a rented car we were warmly greeted by the gatekeeper who helpfully assisted us to locate the reception centre. Although it was only 10.00am the smiling receptionist checked us in and indicated our room was ready. We were given a welcome letter, printed details of facilities available and a map of the complex on which the route to our room was indicated. The receptionist suggested that it might be easier for us to ask one of the electric cart drivers parked outside the reception centre to guide us to the room. We did and followed him in our car to our room.
The room was larger than most hotel rooms, adequately furnished and having a desk to work on. There was a flat screen TV with several channels, including sports and film channels. A safe was fixed in the wardrobe. The bathroom was large containing a separate bath and a spacious shower cubicle. A range of toiletries were provided. Both rooms were spotlessly clean. There was a computer connection in the room but unfortunately a charge of 50 Rands per day was made to access the Wi-Fi. Complimentary tea and coffee making facilities were provided and a small refrigerator (without any drinks) was in the room. A bed turn down service was provided each evening. At this time a complimentary bottle of still drinking water was provided and a chocolate placed on each pillow.
A buffet breakfast included in our room rate was provided at the Petit Centre Restaurant, just a minute’s walk from our room. A large variety of food was available and the two ladies who were the short order cooks were efficient and friendly and carried out their work with smiles on their faces. On the first visit for breakfast the head waiter greeted us and suggested he show us how the buffet was arranged. This he did. On subsequent mornings he greeted us warmly as did other staff members of the restaurant. The staff of the restaurant certainly provided a bright start to the day. Daily local newspapers were provided in the restaurant.
Within the delightful grounds of the hotel there is an impressive range of facilities including a five a side soccer pitch, a small swimming pool, a 24 hour gym, a squash court, a sauna and spa, a chapel, several restaurants and bars and many conference centres.
The hotel is close enough to the airport for stays to catch flights and has excellent facilities for both the business traveller as well as the independent traveller.
Although during our time at the hotel several conferences were being held they in no way impacted on our stay.
In brief it was a pleasure to stay at this hotel.

Room Tip: Book direct with hotel to get special rate.
  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank crocnsw
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 10, 2013

Dear crocnsw,

Thank you for your review,

We are extremely pleased that you experienced so many aspects of our service offering and that they met your expectations. We will pass on the feedback to the staff involved.

We hope to welcome you back again in the near future.

Kind Regards,

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 3, 2013

The venue is still new and have some teething problems. Eg wireless reception almost non existent and 3G intermittent.

However, the rooms are comfortable and food was well prepared.

Pricing is good.

All in all a worthwhile hotel to use.

Stayed: August 2012, traveled on business
Thank Theo P
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 Theo P,

Thank you for your review.

We are glad to hear that your stay with us was primarily positive and that our rooms were felt to be comfortable and the food enjoyed.

We are aware of certain 3G limitations and we are addressing this with our mobile supplier.

Please feel free to email me should there be anything additional on gregh@birchwoodhotel.co.za.

Kind Regards,

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 2, 2013

I stayed here for 3 nights in April. The grounds are quite expansive, as many have mentioned before. The food was pretty good and a good selection at the breakfast buffet.

My room was located near the north wall I believe, so there was no Wifi access. Even in the main lobby, the internet wasn't working on a couple of days. While the room was big, it was sterile - white walls, little colour. It was more like a motel room. The bed was o.k. The bathroom was a bit dirty and could use a good scrubbing.

The hotel is located near the airport, but far from the city centre and the northern suburbs. There are shopping malls nearby, and the hotel offers a shuttle service.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank B_in_Ottawa
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 B_in_Ottawa,

Thank you for your feedback,

We appreciate the complimentary remarks on our food selection and taste. We are sorry to hear that room allocation was not as per your expectations and will take your feedback onboard (particularly the internet related issues). The limitations of any room and it's internet access should have been communicated to you and we apologise for this not happening.

We are happy that our shuttle to the shopping mall was made use of.

We hope to welcome you back to the hotel again soon.

Please feel free to email me anything additional regarding your stay on gregh@birchwoodhotel.co.za.

Kind Regards,

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