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“Nice pre-Rovos Rail stay, but a little chaotic”

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131 on Herbert Baker Boutique Hotel
Ranked #15 of 73 Hotels in Pretoria
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 18, 2012

We spent a single night here before a trip on the Rovos Rail, which seems to be a common reason to stay at 131 Herbert Baker. They readily accommodated our early check-in after our flight.

Facilities: The room was very comfortable (with a huge bathroom), the wifi worked well, and the views from the restaurant were nice (save for the power lines).

Location: The hotel is in an upscale neighborhood/suburb of Pretoria, and as far as we can tell is not close to much (certainly not close enough to walk). We had booked our own tour, and so got out for the day, or I am not sure how we would have occupied our time.

Food: Their Grissini restaurant does not seem to have a separate entry, and if you stay here you'll be eating a good portion of your meals there. The breakfast was excellent -- one of the best of our trip. Salads and appetizers were quite good, as was dessert (we had the red velvet cake three times). Mains, however, were not as good as the rest of meal.

Service: Overall, the service was a little chaotic for what aspires to be an upscale hotel. It was hard to tell who did what, as everyone seemed to do everything (desk, waiting, bar, service, etc.). The guys primarily working as waiters were really nice and friendly, but one of them seemed to get flustered when there were more than two tables. Check-out took a very long time.

Transportation: We needed to get some rand from an ATM, and the hotel drove us to the nearby shops free of charge. They also provided our transportation to the Rovos Rail station, our other frustration with the service -- at check-in, we specifically arranged a 1:30 departure to have time to take photos in the train yard. About 1pm that day, they wanted to combine us in a vehicle with a separate large group going to the station (who had just sat down to lunch and would take some time) and tried to assure us it would only be a "5 or maybe 10 minute drive." I pushed back, insisting on the previous arrangement, and we ultimately left about 1:35pm. It actually took 25 minutes with the driver maneuvering VERY aggressively -- and that other group wound up being the very last people to arrive at the Rovos Rail station, missing the welcome champagne!

It was an excellent place for a single night stay before/after the train, but I don't know that I would use 131 Herbert Baker for a longer stay.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank sindssyg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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78 - 84 of 104 reviews

Reviewed November 2, 2012

We use 131 Herbert Baker for all of our discerning overseas guests. It is such a beautiful hotel located in the heart of Pretoria and has an amazing view. It only has 8 rooms with a stunning Presidential suite. This boutique hotel has it all for all ages. It is also located close to the shops and restaurants, even though it boasts the best restaurant on the property itself.

Room Tip: When you book you cant go wrong as all the rooms have a lovely view and they are all cosy, spacious...
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank UpmarketSafaris
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 31, 2012

I stayed 3 nights at this hotel and had a wonderful experience. The staff was exceptionally friendly, efficient and helpful. The room was luxurious and comfortable. The second night of our stay we ate dinner at the hotel and it was so delicious that we returned the third night. We had speical dietary requests and the chef went out of his way to accommodate us. I would highly recommend this hotel!

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with friends
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3  Thank JBLTravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 29, 2012

One of the nicest hotels I have found in many years travelling - not particularly cheap but well worth it. Reception was most helpful, room was very comfortable, food was excellent. Location offered lovely views of Pretoria's jacarandas.

Room Tip: Room 1 was very pleasant
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank roythurston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 30, 2012

We stayed at 131 on Herbert Baker after going to Notten's Bush Camp for a 3 day safari. We only spent one night there, before going to the Pretoria station for our Rovos Rail trip to Victoria Falls. Wow. They arranged for Gift to pick us up at the airport and bring us around to the guest house. Three people helped us take in our bags, brought us water, arranged ice in the room, and checked us in. What a beautiful setting. We sat on the patio outside our room door looking over the mountain side to the city and enjoyed a great cheese and snack tray from the kitchen. The room was modern, luxurious and spotless. In the morning, Mike came around from the entry and walked up the tiled patio to greet us as we are sitting outside again. Mike owns the guesthouse but is only the boss when his wife is not there. He clearly wants to satisfy just about any want or whim. We asked about changing some cash for smaller bills and he told us his accountant has not arrived yet but he will check. Regardless, he will arrange for our driver to stop at an ATM on the way to the train station. At breakfast, we had no less than three waitstaff helping us. If we are in Pretoria again, this will be our first choice.

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Rich H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 6, 2012

Did not know what to expect as we arrived at our hotel in a very elegant and private residential neighborhood overlooking Pretoria. We were treated as special guests, even though the hotel was at capacity. From the moment we stepped out of our vehicle until we were driven to the train station, every effort was made to make us feel welcomed and comfortable. The service, food, beverages were all excellent. The kitchen was outstanding as was the wine selection. The owners and Willem made sure that every request was handled with courtesy and professionalism. Our room was beautiful, spotless, and spacious. Lucky us to have found 131!

Room Tip: request a room on the second floor with a view of the city
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  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank gloria s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 25, 2012

131 Herbert Baker is a gem of a hotel. The staff is attentive, the rooms are gorgeous, and one simply feels at home. The owners are wonderful and go out of their way to make sure that your stay in South Africa is not only utterly enjoyable, but also successful. In our case, they volunteered superb relocation services. If your rooms faces out back, you have a chance to see some wildlife from the comfort of your own bed. Don't miss it!

Room Tip: If you want to see city lights, face out front. If you want your chance at spotting wildlife, face o...
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  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled on business
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3  Thank Cuculhain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about 131 on Herbert Baker Boutique Hotel

Address: 131 Herbert Baker Street | Groenkloof, Pretoria 0181, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Gauteng > Pretoria
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #15 of 73 Hotels in Pretoria
Price Range: $116 - $202 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — 131 on Herbert Baker Boutique Hotel 3.5*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
With an incredible 180 degree view of the city of Pretoria, the exceptional 131 on Herbert Baker Boutique Hotel stands primely positioned in the leafy suburb of Groenkloof. Bordering on the Groenkloof Nature Reserve, the private boutique hotel offers discerning visitors to Pretoria and Johannesburg an exclusive refuge from the bustle of the city. Originally built as a private residence, 131 on Herbert Baker Boutique Hotel was exquisitely transformed to provide outstanding hotel luxury, catering perfectly to the refined tastes of its clientele. The meticulous attention to every detail, together with impeccable service and superb dining, creates a distinctive boutique experience that has quickly earned 131 on Herbert Baker an excellent reputation. The hotel offers nine beautifully appointed guest suites and rooms, each with its own private balcony or patio/terrace. For guests who prefer to celebrate life in supreme style, the magnificent Presidential suite includes its own private lounge and dining area. Guests are invited to relax, unwind and savour a delicious drink in the hotel lounge or on the lawn, with its magical sunset views. The hotel's extensive drinks menu includes a remarkable wine list, to impress even the most selective connoisseurs. For culinary delights and a spectacular view of the city, the hotel's exclusive Ristorante Grissini is open daily. A full English and continental breakfast is included in the daily rate, while lunch and dinner guests are treated to sumptuous gourmet creations. In-room dining is available to those who prefer to relax in the privacy of their own room, and al fresco breakfasts, lunches or dinners may also be enjoyed on your balcony or terrace. Weather permitting, extravagant high teas are served on the front lawn daily. Booking is essential! In addition, the hotel offers transfers, a boardroom that can accommodate up to 18 people, and a private swimming pool located in the inner courtyard. Accommodating up to 60 cocktail style or 35 seated people, the hotel may also be hired exclusively for intimate celebrations and private functions - ideal for corporate groups and diplomatic parties. 131 on Herbert Baker Boutique Hotel is conveniently located 10 minutes' drive from the Pretoria CBD, with easy access to all major highways. A mere 35 minutes' drive from the Johannesburg CBD and 5 minutes from the highly efficient Pretoria Gautrain station. ... more   less 
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