Hotel Of The Week: Winston Hotel, Johannesburg

Peruse the guest log at the reception desk and you’ll get an idea of the diversity of vacationers and business people passing through the Winston Hotel.

Their praise for the hotel, however, is just about universal.

The name of this 30-room, boutique hotel was inspired by Winston Churchill, who spent time in South Africa as a newspaper correspondent in 1899.

The design and decor are a mixture of colonial chic and South African.

A guest from Cape Town wrote, “Best boutique hotel in Jozi. Five stars. See you soon.”

From Ile de la Reunion: “The flowers round the swimming pool made me happy every day.”

From Australia: “Best hotel I’ve ever stayed at and I’ve stayed at a lot.”

And these: “What a fabulous end to our honeymoon,” and “what a great place to start a honeymoon.”

Guests at the Winston are about 70% business and 30% leisure. About 80% of guests are international, according to operations manager Donovan Britz.

This is not your typical hotel and you can tell from the minute you walk through the front door. You feel like you’re in the countryside, although you’re a short walk from the
Rosebank station that links to the O.R. Tambo International Airport.

The owners have decorated the five-year-old hotel with treasures collected from their travels all over Africa and the rest of the world.

winston-hotelThe parquet teak wood floors, found in all the rooms and common areas, come from Mauritius, each panel laid separately. The roof tiles are from Indonesia.

Rooms come in three styles: manor house; (English inspired,) royal safari; and French boudoir. I got a safari-style room on the first floor with its own courtyard where I sat and worked while yellow-and-black weavers flitted around in the trees above my head.

On the floor of my super-spacious room was a cowhide, and springbok horns decorated the wall above my four-poster bed. Framed photos of tribal dancers and Johannesburg families from the 1800s decorated another accent wall.

The marble-and-mahogany bathroom was modern and comfortable. The best part was the L’Occitane products including soap, shampoo and conditioner.

The work station in my room was super comfortable with fast Wi-Fi available throughout the hotel. I saw businessmen and women working on tablets and laptops at many inviting sitting
areas around the hotel — the pool deck, the business lounge, the bar and the hotel library. All these areas had been carefully designed to be as well suited for business as for leisure.

The food and service in the hotel restaurant were the source of much praise from guests in the logbook. “My compliments to the chef” was the phrase most often repeated.

It took a while to find the right chef for the Winston, Britz told me. Chef Marvin worked at another reputed Johannesburg boutique hotel, the Saxon, before coming to the Winston. I got to
talk to the chef during my dinner at the Winston.

Like everything else at the Winston, the service in the restaurant was way above average.

I will always remember my five star-quality stay at this hotel and feel grateful for the opportunity.

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