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.
- 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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