D'oreale Grande: more than just the Vegas of Africa

2013-10-31 16:55
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Luxury galore at D'Oreale Grande

Escape from the bustle of Johannesburg by spending some time at the D'Oreale Grande hotel at Emperor's Palace.

Travelling in and around Johannesburg is getting easier by the day. Or that’s what people told me.

With this in mind this Cape Town girl decided to do an (almost) lift free trip through Johannesburg the other day. It started with a Gautrain trip to visit a friend, followed by a taxi trip to Monte Casino and a bus trip back to the Gautrain station and off to a shuttle service to our hotel. A bit expensive yes, but almost effortless.  Bring on the Joburg travels!

This brought me to the big treat of the week, spending a night at the D'oreale Grande hotel at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg with my husband.

The D'oreale Grande is set a mere 5 to 10 minutes from OR Tambo International Airport where a free shuttle service departs every 20 minutes.

Admittedly I was skeptical about our trip in the beginning. Casinos have also struck me as a bit garish with their bright lights and over-use of gold paint. When we drove past D'oreale Grande and it had a massive sign blaring out “Welcome to the Vegas of Africa” my optimism dropped even more.

But my skepticism was short lived.

D’Oreale has one of the plushest, neatest entrances I have ever seen. It’s almost overwhelming with its’ high roof, glistening surfaces and welcoming personnel. As we stepped in four receptionists were typing away furiously (important dignitaries coming over to stay?)and hotel guests were lounging in a cocktail area with drinks

Hellooo high life.

The Rooms

We were welcomed at the door with berry juice and cooling down towels. As if from out of nowhere our host, Eduard, showed up. He knew our names and wanted to help in any way possible.

Imagine wading through lush carpets to get to your room. Ours had wonderful big bed, with a relatively large TV.  It also had a pleasant view of swimming pool and sprawling grounds of D'oreale Grande.

D'oreale gave us two access cards to our rooms and even though it might seem insignificant, it helped knowing we could both get into the room.

Peermont (the owner’s of D'oreale Grande) recently launched a loyalty drive called Crown Key, an initiative aimed at given loyal guests more value.

Because of this programme we received free welcome beverage and mineral water in the room, complimentary movie and show tickets, free internet access at all hotels as well as discounts on green fees and spa treatments.

A negative aspect of our ‘upgraded Superior King Room’ was the shower-and-bath combo. Not quite what I expected from a five-star hotel.

We took a chance and tried to make a last minute booking for a specific treatment at the spa located in the hotel, Octavia’s. They were full, but the woman really tried to go out of her way to accommodate me. It did look very tempting to cough up the R250 and spend a few hours lounging in their roman bath, but we had some more exploring to do.

D'oreale is flanked by immaculate gardens with a big pool. It’s almost a haven from the busy traffic a stone’s throw away. There are also various areas where people can sit in the garden and relax.

A fantastic touch is the fairy lights they have draped in some of the trees.

Even though the swimming pool looked fantastic with a big fountain set as the centerpiece, the used and disorganised towels on the deck chairs that weren’t changed in the 30 minutes I was outside spoiled the view a bit. But everyone has a bad day and maybe this was the hotel’s one.

The Location

D’oreale Grande hotel is situated next to Emperor’s Palace and is easily accessible corridor that links the two together. This is the biggest attraction of D’oreale. You don’t need to leave your hotel. Everything is located within 200m from your room. In the mood for a movie? Just pop on over to the cinema at Emperor’s Palace. If you’re keen on dining out, there are various restaurants serving cuisine from all over (African cuisine, Asian cuisine, American, the list goes on.) D’oreale also has its own restaurant, Aurelia’s (named after Caesar’s mother).

Of course you can also just roll out of bed and you’ll be in front of a slot machine. Seriously, it’s that close.
And as casinos have the knack of never letting you realise how late it is you’ll be able to spend hours on end there.

Dealing with tricky situations

The proof in the pudding for a hotel is how they manage tricky bookings. We were to depart from the hotel at 04:00 in the morning for a meeting at the airport before our flight. The staff at the hotel gave us a wake-up call, a pre-packed breakfast and they had a chauffeur waiting for us at the hotel’s entrance to whisk us back to reality.

Too bad it was that early or we would be able to read that morning’s paper on the backseat.

That’s where  impressed me and would be thing I recommend them for. After a certain price range service becomes more important than the physical. There is after all, only that many TVs you can have in your room.

And D’oreale’s service is brilliant.

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