A Tuscan affair - The Palazzo property

17 Feb 2012

Located at Montecasino Complex in Fourways, Johannesburg, The Palazzo 5 star hotel caters for discerning travellers and local residents too. 

The Palazzo, described as a Tuscan masterpiece set against an enticing African landscape is an award winning property that continues to lure guests locally and internationally.

Local Fourways residents are known to frequent the property to celebrate special occasions such Valentine’s Day and wedding anniversaries while some men are reported to have proposed in style in the lush rose gardens of the hotel.

The Palazzo is one of three hotels operated by the Southern Sun Group offering a taste of Italy in the midst of Fourways and world of entertainment at the complex for both young and old.

The other two hotels are the Southern Sun Montecasino situated in The Pivot precinct offering 194 rooms and SunSqaure Montecasino which opens out onto the complex’s Outdoor Piazza and offers 179 rooms.

Put together, all three hotels offer a total of 614 rooms catering for all market segments.

The Palazzo, described as a Tuscan masterpiece set against an enticing African landscape is an award winning property that continues to lure guests locally and internationally. 

It was named the Luxury Casino Hotel in the 2011 World Luxury Hotel Awards (WLHA) in the Country Winners category.

The Palazzo won the prestigious award in 2010, 2008 and was a finalist in 2009.

WLHA is a celebration of the world’s finest hotels committed to the highest standards of quality service.

It is about congratulating hotels that have taken the extra step by providing guests with outstanding experiences and as such has proven to be part of the very rare legendary hotel association, according to WLHA.

Click here to see some of South Africa’s luxury hotels, which won in the 2011 WLHA.

Property history

Montecasino is owned by Johannesburg Stock Exchange listed and Southern Africa’s premier gaming, hotel and entertainment company, Tsogo Sun Holdings Limited.

The central focus of the garden is a pond filled with Koi and views from the terrace stretch to the pool area begging you to devote time to indulge in nature’s priceless therapy.

It owns 14 gaming and entertainment properties in South Africa including Montecasino Fourways, Gold Reef City Casino, Johannesburg, Silverstar Casino, Krugersdorp, Suncoast, Durban, Golden Horse Casino, Pietermaritzburg, Blackrock Casino, Newcastle, The Ridge, Witbank, Emnotweni, Nelspruit, Goldfields Casino, Welkom, Hemingways, East London, Queens Casino in Queenstown, The Caledon, Garden Route Casino in Mosselbay and Mykonos Casino in Langebaan.

Montecasino known as Gauteng’s number one entertainment destination has been voted Best Casino, Best Entertainment Complex,

In a SENS announcement in November 2011 Tsogo Sun Holdings noted that Montecasino recorded gaming win growth of 7.3 percent for the six months.

With regards to hotels, the group pointed out that it intends focusing on customer satisfaction and brand awareness.

A piece of Tuscan in Fourways

With its beautifully manicured landscaped gardens, cascading water features and an intriguing Tuscan architecture, it is not surprising why visitors fall in love with this property.

Although it is within the 24/7 gaming and entertainment precinct, it is also far removed from the maddening crowd creating an enchanting world of luxury living inspired by nature.

Whether you travel north of Johannesburg to The Palazzo on business or for leisure purposes, all guests are treated in a very special manner, a testimony to its award-winning streak.

Robert Jasper, general manager of The Palazzo says The Palazzo is constantly striving to ensure that every guest leaves with great memories and a desire to return.

“Our attention to detail is uncompromising as is our staff’s passion for world class service, as are the gardens which lend themselves to total relaxation sanctuary, while our food and beverage offerings throughout the hotel delight the palate,” says Jasper.

He points out that deluxe rooms are very popular with their double volume ceilings, dark wood finishes on all the furniture. These rooms lead directly onto the gardens with a patio to enjoy a full English breakfast during warm summer months.

Perhaps the most striking thing about The Palazzo is the welcome party led by Deon Prinsloo, head concierge and guest relations manager at The Palazzo Hotel.

True to keeping up in style and remaining a luxury casino property of choice, Prinsloo says his role is a direct link between guests and service providers to enhance the guest’s experience.

He spends time researching ideas to keep up with industry trends of four and five star hotels just so this property remains a sough-after getaway venue even for Fourways residents.

When you walk into the hotel, Prinsloo is always ready to whisk his guests around the hotel so they experience the Tuscan feel where luxurious and inspired surroundings are simply part of every life.

Guests are treated to ice cold drinks and cold towels in summer and hot chocolate with warm towels in winter.

He is one of South Africa’s top head concierges making your stay at The Palazzo a theatrical experience.

Prinsloo is one of the eight concierges in the country to receive a Golden Key and is part of the Les Clefs d'Or, an International Concierge Society.

Other concierges in the country include Ronnie Govender of Sandton Sun, Archie Christodoulides of the Michelangelo Hotel in Sandton, Claude-Francois Ndala of the Beverly Hills Hotel in Umhlanga, Lizelle De Haas of Radisson Blu in Sandton, Vinny Maharaj of the Intercontinental Sandton Towers, Billy Chetty of the Davinci Hotel & Suites Sandton and Ryan Van Zyl of the Cape Royale Luxury Hotel and Residence in Cape Town.

“Our aim as concierges is to provide discerning international guests with world class service through effective national and international networking,” says Prinsloo.

With the types of guests who have stayed at the hotel, some well-known international names, it is easy to understand why The Palazzo has invested so much in its people and the property itself.

Jasper says some of the big name guests who have stayed at the hotel include the Top Gear team, Bryan Adams, Celine Deon, Neil Diamond and Dana Winner among others.

The Palazzo hosts events including caring about its community such as the Child Welfare Society.

For those who delight in a good drink, the Café Rialto offers just that, light meals and afternoon High Tea.

Local celebrities and musicians are often invited in a bid to raise awareness and funds for such organisations and to allow guests from these communities to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, he says.

Asked about the typical guest who frequents the hotel, he says they vary across the board. From high-flyer business people to local residents in Fourways and other parts of Gauteng wanting to experience a taste of Tuscan at The Palazzo and the Montecasino complex.

‘We are predominantly a corporate hotel during the week and leisure over the weekend with the casino contributing to both our weekday and weekend mix,” says Jasper.

As a group orientated hotel, he says, they have hosted numerous corporate and leisure clients.

Welcome parties at The Palazzo are tailor-made to suit individual taste.

To maximise the Tuscan experience, Jasper says the ideal way to arrive at The Palazzo is to arrange for a chauffeur driven vehicle to collect them from the airport allowing the guest to really start relaxing before entering the property.

Last year, Jasper explains that they had Chinese visitors who were treated to a very unusual welcome party including a sighting of lion cubs.

The guests deem the lion to be a good luck charm and so the concierge arranged for two lion cubs to wait in the manicured rose garden for the Chinese guests.

Adding a true African touch, Zulu dancers entertained guests into a Tuscan inspired architectural property exuding the spirit of Africa over canapés.

“Set in the bustling suburbs of Fourways, The Palazzo delivers a five star service effortlessly without guests feeling they are in a city hotel.”

Choosing a room

The penthouse with a Tuscan lived-in feel has three spacious bedrooms and everything is designed around sumptuous living from the dome painted ceiling, private bar and line study to the lounge and private dining room that sits 10 people.

With 246 Tuscan furnished rooms, guests can choose from standard, superior, deluxe, rooms for paraplegic guests, executive, presidential suite and penthouse rooms.

Each of the rooms offer tea and coffee making facilities, stocked mini bars, towelling robes and slippers, flat screen TV with DVD player and wireless internet connectivity.

From as little as R2 042 per night, guests can choose rooms to suit their personal taste and budget.

The hotel also offers a range of leisure packages including popular theatre shows and stay as well as romantic packages for special occasions.

The Palazzo’s success lies in the ability of Jasper and his team to pay attention to detail.

When asked what he would look for if he were a guest before checking into a hotel, he says without a doubt, the facilities are the most important as well as close to attractions in the area.

“Security always plays a vital role when international travellers choose a destination and we pride ourselves on having a very high level of unobtrusive security in Johannesburg.”

He points out that deluxe rooms are very popular with their double volume ceilings and dark wood finishes.

These rooms lead directly onto the gardens with a patio to enjoy a full English breakfast during warm summer months.

Standard rooms measure from 30 square metres and the ultimate Tuscan opulent penthouse measures over 400 square metres taking up the entire sixth floor block and said to be the biggest penthouse in Johannesburg.

The penthouse with a Tuscan lived-in feel has three spacious bedrooms and everything is designed around sumptuous living from the dome painted ceiling, private bar and line study to the lounge and private dining room that sits 10 people.

The opulent penthouse measures over 400 square metres taking up the entire sixth floor block and is said to be the biggest penthouse in Johannesburg.

Chefs at The Palazzo work tirelessly to please discerning palates at an unhurried pace, after all, all paths lead to pleasure when it comes to dining.

Medeo Restaurant offers an Italian Cuisine with an African flair of exotic gastronomic creations.

For those who delight in a good drink, the Café Rialto offers just that, light meals and afternoon High Tea.

Jasper says the rack of lamb is the most popular dish on the menu and is always worthy coming back for.

Far from the maddening crowd

The Palazzo is designed such that its gardens are a central focus offering peace and tranquillity far from the maddening crowd in the Montecasino complex.

It is here that guests completely take in the sounds and sights while Thai therapists work wonders in a private gazebo around the pool or in the comfort of the guest’s bedroom.

Meals can be taken on the terrace overlooking long stretches of green in neat rows demanding attention.

The central focus of the garden is a pond filled with Koi and views from the terrace stretch to the pool area begging you to devote time to indulge in nature’s priceless therapy.

The hotel has a 24-hour access business centre, a fitness centre and three conference rooms measuring between 33 squares and 68 square metres.

The Tuscan feel can be seen in every corner of the hotel.

If the Tuscan feel at The Palazzo is not enough, guests can take a leisurely stroll to the Montecasino complex, which attracts over 9.3 million visitors annually.  

It combines a casino, retail, entertainment, hospitality and corporate events and commercial office space.

There are also the Bird Gardens, a haven for thousands of bird and reptile species and a valuable source of educational entertainment.

The hotel market

Jasper says The Palazzo as with all hotels in the greater Sandton area felt the pinch of the global economic crisis.

Being a hotel that caters for both the corporate and leisure markets, he says they felt the downturn over all those markets.

However, they were able to stimulate incremental revenue through the casino, promotions and specials.

The Palazzo is likely to start making huge profits as the outlook for the 5 star hotel market in South Africa is looking much more positive against the backdrop of global uncertainty.

According to Joop Demes, chief executive officer of Pam Golding Hospitality, December 2011 hotel occupancy throughout South Africa grew by 11.5 percent compared to December 2010 and the consensus among industry leaders is that business and event travel will also fare better during 2012.

Read the article here.

Perhaps to wish the economic downturn away for even a day, The Palazzo Tuscan inspired property offers unforgettable experiences from its unpretentious lush gardens to tantalising menus - it is Fourways' best kept secret. – Denise Mhlanga

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