After getting a little lost on JHB’s highways i couldn’t have been happier to pull up outside the Melrose Arch Fire & Ice! Hotel. The sun was already starting to set and what little warmth was in the air seemed to be disappearing too. I was beyond relieved when i walked into the hotel lobby and was greeted with the biggest smiles from every single hotel staff member in the vicinity and a warm stone fire. Check in was a breeze and i didn’t even have to spell my name multiple times before they found my booking.
One of my favourite things about the hotel made itself evident in the first few minutes after i’d gotten my room key and we were heading up to the rooms in the lift – you need to swipe your room key in order to get to the floor you’re staying on. Now this might not sound life changing to you, but to me it was as close to heaven as i was going to get. When it comes to my personal safety (and personal space) i am a tiny bit paranoid… not without reason though. I’ve had my fair share of real stalkers, some scarier than others and quite a number of “close calls”. I knew that i’d be publicizing the fact that i was staying at the hotel and that it would make it very easy for anyone to come and find me… so this added security measure already put me at ease.
Walking down the corridor i had no idea what to expect from the room, i knew it would be beautiful, but i had no idea how beautiful it would be. Mixi and i got rooms next to each other and we both paused at the doors so that we could enter our respective rooms at the same time. Like a scene out of a teen movie where two normal girls get switched with two Princesses and get to live the glam life for a few days, we swiped our cards simultaneously and entered the rooms. As the doors closed behind us i swear i could hear Mixi’s squeals of excitement echo my own. Yes, i might have been a little delirious from the long drive and altitude sickness, but the room was more than i had hoped for.
In the room was a welcome tray of all kinds of fruit and sweeties, Lindt chocolates on the bed, a handwritten note from the Rooms Division Manager and a personalized banner that was hung from the roof with pictures from our roadtrip so far. You can see it in the room picture above 🙂 It was so thoughtful and so kind.
I don’t need to say it, but i’m going to say it anyway; the room was spotless, it had a massive flatscreen TV, salon-worthy hairdryer and the bed was ridiculously comfortable! As a shower lover, i fell in deep love with the shower in the room and there were always enough towels. In a previous post i mentioned that i am a bit of a hygiene freak and germophobe and the pristine shower and room made me feel more comfortable than i have ever felt in any other room besides my own.
In the morning when we went down for breakfast i was surprised that all of the hotel staff in the restaurant knew my name. I was more than a little shocked when one of the waiters said: “Good Morning, Stephanie”. I’m not sure how they knew my name, maybe it’s best that way 🙂 The breakfast spread was just insane, all kinds of food for every appetite. It doesn’t matter what you prefer for breakfast, they will have something for you. The chef also makes eggs any way you like ’em!
I do have to make special mention of Karen Battaliou (@kbattaliou). We’d been in communication on Twitter leading up to our arrival in JHB and she was always super helpful and interactive throughout our journey. When we arrived, Karen took us on a tour of the hotel as well as of the Melrose Arch precinct, immediately making me feel at home. Because of her sincerity and absolutely adorable personality, i would say that Karen was the first new friend that i made in JHB.
If you aren’t from the area, Melrose Arch is definitely one of the best areas to stay in as it minimizes the amount of travel you have to do. Almost everything you could possibly need is a quick walk away from the hotel. The Melrose Arch Precinct is also very safe, they have security guards and cameras on every corner and i never felt afraid walking alone. There are plenty of restaurants and coffee places; Moyo, Pizza e Vino, Tasha’s, Pigalle, Orient.. too many to mention/remember. You are also spoiled for choice when it comes to shops; from clothing shops like Adidas, Woolies, Edgars, Forever New, YDE andFabiani to shops like Clicks, Cellucity, Flight Centre, Exclusive Books and Europcar. You can find the complete list on: www.melrosearch.co.za
We had a few people over to the hotel for drinks on one of the mid-week evenings and reserved a section of the outside terrace area. Even though it was a chilly 1 Degree Celsius, the gas heaters did their jobs and kept us toasty warm. We also had 2 waiters assigned to cater to our every whim as well as one of the restaurant managers, Matthew Khoury (so cute). A massive thank you to the staff for putting up with the rowdy bunch that they turned out to be that night. You guys are rockstars!
The Fire & Ice! were also kind enough to provide welcome drinks and divine food platters for our guests. No one has stopped talking about the brownies since! All of our guests are JHB locals and for some of them it was their first time at the hotel, they all left very impressed and with only good things to say. I would love to come back to the hotel and do a bigger event in Summer when maybe we can make use of the beautiful pool and play out the Hollywood Glam theme that runs throughout 😉
Unfortunately Mixi and i spent way too little time in JHB and we didn’t even get a chance to try one of their famous milkshakes! Next time i’m going to make sure i order a milkshake upon arrival.
I was sad to leave Joburg behind and i can only thank the Fire & Ice! for helping me form such a positive opinion on JHB and it’s people. I hope to be back soon.