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Reviewed 2 May 2021

Having lived in Joburg for more than a decadein the early 2000s, I have fond memories from my (increasingly-distant) youth of lazy Saturdays lounging languidly by the old swimming pool and too many nights behaving badly at the old Polo Lounge. Sadly, these spaces were demolished to make way for flashier "contemporary" settings when new investors purchased the property some years ago. The aesthetic neutering of this Grande Dame of Joburg hotels is regrettable, but perhaps more in line with the Four Seasons' corporate image of refined, clean spaces.

Although design decisions are very much personal, there is one fact about the property that isn't clear from the beautiful photos on the 4S website: the iconic views over the most tree-filled city in the world (Johannesburg) are only available from the outdoor restaurant and bar seating. Although the property has two new swimming pools, neither receives sunlight after 11am - so good luck if you (like me) were hoping to spend some time relaxing by the pool!

The Westcliff's physical refurbishments aside, the property definitely was most definitely upgraded when the Four Seasons was brought in to manage the property. Unfortunately - and perhaps due to the COVID pandemic and the loss of hard currency tourists and business visitors, The Westcliff seems a little down at her heels on my most recent visit.

Whether it was the two room moves over my three night stay (the first room had no running water in the shower; the second room had air bubbles in the water lines and after the brown water ran clear the shower head exploded), or the Medium Rare fillet served Medium Well or the double gin cocktails served as singles -- this visit to The Westcliff certainly did not meet my expectations of exceptional service.

I will say that the front office team did their level best to assist with the crazy shower issues that appeared at multiple turns of my stay - see photos. However, it's just bizarre to have happen at any luxury hotel, let alone a 4S property. Judging by the other reviews of this property, my experience was likely a one in a 100-years combination of bad luck and bad timing.

In the larger scheme of a global health pandemic where millions of people have been hospitalized with a serious disease, these issues are trivial. But where other South African luxury hotels on this visit (O&O Cape Town; Oyster Box Durban) seemed to have emerged from the last year even better than ever before, why is The Westcliff struggling with the finer details of providing 5* service?

The 4S desires "to be recognized as the company that manages the finest hotels, resorts and residence clubs wherever we locate. [To] create properties of enduring value using superior design and finishes."

Management at the 4S corporate may want to book into The Westcliff and examine the state of the "superior design and finishes" in rooms 929, 806 and lastly 408. And while at it, try using "the App" and see if you think it delivers on the 4S brand promise of "offer[ing] only experiences of exceptional quality." My missed housekeeping and maintenance requests and the 30-minute wait for a drink to be delivered suggest perhaps the Human Touch is better at a 5* property than an app.

Date of stay: May 2021
  • Trip type: Travelled on business
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank Notorious_JNG
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Natalie Harrison, Marketing at Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff Johannesburg, responded to this reviewResponded 3 May 2021

Dear Notorious_JNG,

Firstly thank you for taking the time to write a review and inform us on your experience. We always strive to give the best service possible and clearly on this occasion we did not.

After investigating with all concerned departments in the hotel, I have been informed that our management team have spoken to you to learn more about your stay and we are working on improving all aspects mentioned.

If there is anything further, we can assist with please don’t hesitate to let me know.

Hope you have a great stay in sunny South Africa.

Kind regards
Natalie

Natalie.harrison@fourseasons.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 April 2021 via mobile

The Westcliff, like many Four Seasons properties, is located in a beautiful property with sprawling land and exceptional views. We used the golf cart to get around to our room as the hotel is set upon a hill. The rooms were fine, roomy and spread out, the bed and bedding were very comfortable, we slept great. The A/C didn’t cool as much as we would have liked, but they brought us a fan. The staff were amazing. Ute at the front desk was concierge, housekeeping, room service - anything we needed she went above and beyond to take care of us. COVID has hit the area quite hard, and they did everything to make you feel safe and also make sure you enjoyed your stay.

Date of stay: March 2021
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
1  Thank Permanenthoneymoon
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Natalie Harrison, Marketing at Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff Johannesburg, responded to this reviewResponded 12 April 2021

Dear Permanenthoneymoon,

Thank you for your lovely review and I will pass on your compliments to our team members.

We hope to welcome you back very soon to our Urban Resort.

Kind Regards
Natalie

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 March 2021

I stayed for the weekend and loved every minute of it . All COVID protocols have been carefully adhered to and follow through everywhere one goes on the property. Golf carts have plastic dividers so that guests don’t have physical contact. The staff wear masks and gloves all the time. Our room was spotlessly clean and the beds are super comfy . Staff are easily accessible and take time to engage with guests. Everything runs via an app so if you need a golf cart for example you order on the chat via the app. Wi fi is free and works all over the property. The meals at Flames restaurant are exceptional, presentation is classy , the waiters provide recommendations with explanations of the various dishes . Booking is essential for the restaurant, it’s a popular spot . The spa is of the highest standard, with COVID protocols very closely managed. For example basins in the change rooms have the middle one sealed to allow for social distancing . Masks are worn during treatments and the steam room and sauna only allow for one person at a time. Over all it was five star service from the time we arrived until our departure.

Date of stay: March 2021
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
2  Thank 657marions
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Natalie Harrison, Marketing at Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff Johannesburg, responded to this reviewResponded 23 March 2021

Dear 657marions,

Thank you very much for your wonderful review and we are so pleased you had a fantastic stay with us and we will pass on your compliments to our team.

We hope to welcome you back soon.

Kind regards
Natalie

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 February 2021

Stunning beautiful views and a great location. We scored the COVID special so two adjoining rooms quite affordably. We were directly above the family pool and a quick walk to the restaurant and reception.

I'd stay again if the price is right. The rooms are a tad run down. Both sinks in the bathroom (King room) didn't empty well and the panels on the bathtub (twin-bed room) fell off and scared us at night. Carpets also showing their age, but the linens were perfect. But these things didn't hinder our experience.
My only real issue was with the very old french doors that lead to the balcony, which are beautiful during the day but don't keep the noise out at night. Luckily the roads and hotel weren't busy, otherwise, this would have been annoying.

Overall the staff made the stay feel safe and clean. The staff knew our names and were helpful. Staff at the restaurant for sundowners and dinner were fantastic.

Date of stay: December 2020
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank SanPABosDC
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Natalie Harrison, Marketing at Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff Johannesburg, responded to this reviewResponded 4 February 2021

Dear SanPABosDC,

Thank you very much for your review and for your valuable feedback. We hope to welcome you back very soon.

Kind regards
Natalie

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 December 2020

I have been in many hotels from Johannesbourg rated 4-5 stars, this one exceed my expectations in terms of architecture, service, location, cleanliness. I will definitely go back again and again. Specially during this pandemic period, they taking care of guest health by applying appropiate jules to protecteur against COVID.

Date of stay: December 2020
  • Trip type: Travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with Four Seasons
Thank ferdimus0
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Natalie Harrison, Marketing at Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff Johannesburg, responded to this reviewResponded 8 January 2021

Dear ferdimus,

Thank you very much for such a lovely review and we hope to welcome you back very soon to our Urban Resort.

Kind regards
Natalie

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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