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TravelPod Member ReviewsMichelangelo Hotel Sandton
This was our last stop or stay at the end of our trip. We decided to stay in an upmarket hotel in Sandton, Johannesburg so we could do a tour of the city before flying home the next day.
The nicest thing I can say about this establishment is - DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY.
5 star hotel, there's a certain standard I expect. Somethings are givens for me, such as great communication and customer service. I also expect a clean room if I am staying in a 5 star hotel.
What I got was hands held out for tips more times than I've experienced in other hotels around the world - look at my blogs, I'm sure you can work out that we've been to lots of places.
We were given an "upgrade" without asking ... thanks, appreciated. We were told it was a non-smoking room. The Front Desk person asked for our credit card to pre-authorise 1,000 rand in case we charged anything to our room. The pre-authorisation would not go through - an issue with their system, she said. She asked if she could take a copy of our credit card and we agreed.
We got to the room with the bell hop and our luggage. He showed us how things worked, and volunteered to get us another luggage rack right away. We gave him a tip and never saw him again.
The bathroom had a shower with an etched glass door as did the toilet. When we opened the toilet door, there was a strong smell of cigarettes...not what I expected in a non smoking room.
We had two small bottles (330ml) of water to drink / brush our teeth with which I knew would not be enough for tonight and the following morning.
Our bellboy had told us about complimentary drinks and food in the lounge when we were going up to our room. We got sick of waiting for him to return with the 2nd luggage rack so we went to the lounge only to find all the food had finished some 20 mins earlier and neither the food nor the drinks were complimentary.
We then went to the Front Desk and saw the same person who checked us in. She said that she was able to get the pre-authorisation on my Credit Card, and asked me to sign for it which I did. Given that she had told me that they fix up any outstanding charges tomorrow upon check out, I was surprised that she went ahead and pre-authorised an amount on my card - I said nothing.
I asked her about the complimentary food / drinks in the Lounge - turns out there is no such thing !! We also told her that someone had been smoking in the room and she said she would send someone up straight away to spray it. I asked for two additional bottles of water and she said she would let Housekeeping know.
We left there, walked around the adjoining Mall and then to Mandela Square and back. Nearing the Front Desk, I realised that I needed to change some USD to smaller notes and 100 rand notes to smaller rand - I had run out of the smaller notes and needed smaller notes for tips.
I saw the same person again and asked to her change some USD - "We don't exchange USD" - wow - I guess there is a first time for everything - a 5 star hotel in a big international city and they have no FOREX ? "OK, can you exchange 200 Rand for smaller notes please"? I asked. She took the 200 Rand, got some change from the next counter and gave me back one of my 100 Rand notes and smaller notes adding up to 100 Rand. Turns out, that this busy 5 star hotel only had 100 rand of change !!
We decided to check out the restaurant ... nothing appealed so we went to the Bar area to get a drink. Drinks ordered, snacks came plus a "Bar menu". We ordered food here which suited us more than what was on offer at the restaurant.
When the bill came, we had been charged for a double even tho' we didn't ask for a double - the glass had a lot of ice in it so we assumed it was a single shot and the waiter said nothing. Apparently the hamburger did not come with chips and the chips suggested by the waiter was an additional cost. Now I don't mind paying for what I get, but I don't like not being told that there is an additional cost. When questioned about the double drink, the waiter said he gave us a double without asking as there was ice in the drink and it would melt so it was better with a double .... that's not for him to decide.
After that, we decided to print our boarding passes - up one floor, accessed the airline, but could not print. There was a paper jam which I cleared but then no paper and the printer noted a new ink cartridge was needed. I didn't fiddle around with the printer - it's not my place to do so- the light was too dim for me to see anything anyway.
So back to the Front Desk where I saw the same person who checked me in and had attended to all my enquiries ... and I was greeted with "WHAT NOW MRS DOUGO !!".
Wow ... I told them that the printer had run out of paper and there seemed to be an issue about the paper. She handballed it to her "manager" (I think) who silently came upstairs with me carrying a ream of paper.
He put the paper in the machine and then demanded to know if I had removed the cartridge - no I did not. With that he put the cartridge back in, the printer started working. I thanked him and off he walked without saying a word ... WOW again.
Back to our room - a can of spray had been placed on the bathroom basin but the toilet still stank of smoke. No bottles of water either. I rang the front desk and told them I asked for more water 2 1/2 hours ago and could they please send someone up. They did. At least something works !!
Sleep - I didn't get much at all that night - the room was too stuffy even tho' it wasn't hot.
The next morning we had a shower - by the look of it, no one has bothered to clean the grout in the shower for a long time - black and sludgy. I decided if the soap fell on the floor that's where it will stay as I have no idea if the floor had ever bee scrubbed either.
We went to breakfast - pre-paid - and decided to forego the hot food and stick to a continental breakfast. We were given water and two coffees by a lovely waitress - the rest we got ourselves from the buffet.
When we were leaving, she went to great lengths to show us where to put the gratuity ... nice ...
We collected our bags and checked out. I asked the man at the front desk if the pre-authorised 1000 rand would be taken off and he told me he would take out the bar bill from last night and release the rest this morning.
Post Script - some 3-4 days after arriving home, we had been billed on our Credit Card for the 1,000 rand. Our CC company suggested getting in contact with the hotel and asking them to release the pre-authorisation and if they didn't, then to lodge a complaint with our bank to start an investigation for fraud. I sent the hotel an email asking them to remove the pre-authorisation and charge me only for expenses incurred and advised them about the conversation I had with our bank. I didn't hear back from them but when I checked my bank account, a correct revised figure was there.
Why communication was such an issue for an established 5 star hotel is beyond me. This was not a nice easy going way to end our stay in South Africa - and based on my experience, I cannot and will not recommend this hotel.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of TravelPod.com.
TripAdvisor Reviews Michelangelo Hotel Sandton
Travel Blogs from Sandton
The final three days of our trip were spent in Johannesburg, or Joburg as the locals refer to it. It has a reputation as being a city riddled with violence and we were warned of this before we left. "Don't walk anywhere, always take a taxi, pay attention to your surroundings, don't wear jewelry or look like a tourist." Happily we saw no evidence of …
Day 64 –Saturday 16th May
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