The African Pride Melrose Arch Hotel Swimming Pool (Forbes)
What’s in a name? In the case of African Pride Melrose Arch Hotel, everything. Sure, the newly refurbished, 118-room property in the tony Melrose Arch section of Johannesburg has all the elegance you’d expect from a five-star hotel. There’s sleek, playfully funky décor—in-room safes are hidden behind paintings; a glossy jar of M&Ms rests on the front desk, beside bottles of sparkling wine—along with grand bathtubs adorned with scented candles and an in-room surround-sound entertainment system that made this music lover fast forget the world outside. The back patio invites guests to dine in the pool, between trees sprouting from giant metal buckets, and the sexy Library Bar beckons with plush leather couches, a pool table and an array of antique books.
But the property’s real coup is—back to that name—itsAfricanPride, which wonderfully eschews the generic. Well-plotted special touches remind guests exactly where they are—and that’s Jozi, as Johannesburg, the vibrant creative capital of South Africa, is affectionately known. Here’s how African Pride Melrose Arch adroitly marries luxury with local:
DECORIt runs deeper than animal print. The hotel is swathed in majestic local art, from the Abraham LeRoux life-size sculpture of jazz musicians at the entrance to the well-appointed boardrooms, named for South African artists and showcasing their original installations. On the desk in my room was a lovely coffee-table volume in photographic homage to Nelson Mandela,Thank you Madiba: Memories of Abilio Soeiro.
Art on entrance at African Pride Melrose Arch Hotel
PRODUCTSEartherapy Africa products, from lotions to body washes and bath salts, are made locally and are exclusive to African Pride. Enamored, I stowed away half my supply in my suitcase.
THE GOLDEN DUCK TRAILThe hotel has a cheeky mascot: a yellow rubber duck, which guests are encouraged to take home with them. And the yellow duck has a companion, the golden duck, who has his own trail: Show him off at local establishments in Melrose Arch and earn discounts on wine, restaurants, luxury attire and more. It’s the perfect prompt for getting guests out of the hotel and into the buzzing local scene.
The Melrose Arch Precinct
EATS The March restaurant serves up oysters and champagne at its lavish breakfast buffet. But it also revels in delectable South African specialties: fiery chicken livers liven up Sunday brunch, while salt and pepper kingclip and seafood curry are tasty additions to the room service menu. My welcome basket included the ultimate South African treat: spicy biltong, akin to gourmet beef jerky.
Chic decor at African Pride Melrose Arch Hotel
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENTAfrican Pride’s commitment to giving is far from superficial. They’ve hosted children from various orphanages and sponsored an array of local charity events. Prominently for sale at the front desk are Relate Bracelets, whose proceeds go to four worthy organizations including Save the Rhino and South Africa Breast Cancer Awareness. africanpridehotels.com/hotels/Pages/African-Pride-Melrose-Arch-Hotel.aspx
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