In this, the third of a series showcasing locations in Gauteng province, we look at some of Gauteng's newer and refurbished hotels, all icons in style that have shown a willingness to work with the film industry in providing perfect locations for big ideas.

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Gauteng's hotel industry is upgrading and expanding ahead of the expected influx of visitors associated with the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup, when South Africa will become the first African country to host the world's biggest single sporting event. There appears to be a new standard being achieved in terms of style, location and uniqueness which each hotel trying to outdo the next in terms of gaining market share. This can only be a boon to the film industry as more and more of these stylish, funky, superb hotels provide wonderful locations for film, television and commercials.

Hotels that have recently reopened after massive refurbishments include The Rosebank and The Mount Grace. New hotels that have recently opened in the Inner City include Mapungubwe Hotel Apartments and Ashanti, with a new four-star hotel planned for Newtown to open in time for 2010. Recently, The Nicol opened its doors in Bedfordview and very new on the scene, a boutique hotel called AtholPlace. The Sandton Holiday Inn is another new hotel on the Sandton skyline and Muldersdrift has a sparkling new casino and hotel called Silverstar. There is a willingness among these hotels to be used as film locations and to work constructively with production companies to negotiate appropriate location fees, obviously depending on availability and level of disruption to business.

We highlight some of these hotels, to give you an indication of what's on offer in Gauteng's hotel sector:

Ashanti

Ashanti, in the heart of Joburg's Inner City, pays homage to established architectural design. This neo-classical structure in Brownstone and Marble was built in 1948 and celebrates its sixtieth birthday this year. The restoration of Ashanti forms part of the on-going Johannesburg inner city rejuvenation project. A highlight of this hotel is the roof garden and pool overlooking Johannesburg. Soon to open is a new restaurant with a wooden deck on the pavement close to the grace and grit of city streets in the financial district. This venue definitely has the ambience of a European city street. Outsurance have filmed some adverts in the hotel and OLA films have recently made enquiries about shooting an advert for Kelloggs - their location scout thought Ashanti was an incredible building for film and advertisements.

Tel: Megan Ryan +27 11 832 3552

Mapungubwe

Named after the legendary South African kingdom, Mapungubwe Hotel Apartments is an upmarket, four-star hotel in the Inner City. This building used to be home to the French Bank and was built in 1950. The hotel lies in the financial and business heart of Joburg's inner city on the corner of Marshall, Anderson and Ferreira Streets adjacent to some of South Africa's premium corporate companies.  It features contemporary African design and decor an exclusive penthouse, the rhino room, offers stylish corporate hospitality and entertainment facilities.

The hotel has been used for numerous film shoots including the filming of a South African movie Southern Cross, scheduled for the big screen, as well as Jacob's Crossing and various magazine shoots.

Tel: Martin Carberry or Saleen Reddy +27 11 429 2600

Silverstar Casino

Silverstar Casino is set in Muldersdrift on 40 hectares of ground bordering a natural conservancy and has magnificent views over the picturesque Magaliesberg area. The development has been designed to environmentally support the natural aesthetics of the area and interiors have a contemporary feel that is timeless. It opened its doors in December last year, followed by a second phase which was completed in March this year. There is no theme attached and the interiors are clean and simple. The use of marble floor finishes, luscious carpets in rich bright hues, light wall colours and frameless glass shop fronts give the complex a fresh, open and airy atmosphere that brings the outside in.

The restaurants have been designed to open out on to terraces that look on to the boardwalk and the magnificent lake feature beyond, as well as open out to terraces viewing the mall and gaming floor, creating a buzz of activity that captures the side-walk caf feel.

The impressive new three-tiered Fashion TV venue opened at Silverstar Casino in June this year.

The upper mezzanine level is a relaxed lounge environment with glass windows that look out over Silverstar's spectacular musical fountain - the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. The restaurant level opens out onto the deck area, providing intimate proximity to the fountain against the backdrop of the natural beauty of the mountains and cliffs that border Silverstar Casino.

The lower level includes a dance floor, bars and a vibe all of its own. Fashion TV provides the perfect platform for promotional activities, photo shoots, star interview, high fashion events and VIP parties.

Tel: +27 11 662 7300

AtholPlace Boutique Hotel

The newest boutique hotel in the Province opened its doors last month (October). The small, luxury boutique hotel was developed by Sumari Krige, the intrepid owner of La Grange interiors and the brains behind Rooms on View, and her husband, Gerhard Krige, a property developer. The original 1970s thatched-roof house has been transformed into a contemporary urban oasis decorated in tones of white and grey. Krige has travelled the world collecting pieces for AtholPlace, but the ultimate emphasis is on the sort of luxurious comfort with which anyone who has shopped at La Grange will be familiar.

There is a well appointed and glamorous dining area, tranquil gardens, a gym, sauna, pool and well-appointed library.

Tel: Sumari Krige +27 11 783 3410


The Rosebank

The Rosebank, one of Johannesburg's leading hotels, reopened in August this year after a R254 million facelift that has created a chic, stylish yet professional facility with vibe and energy. The hotel is ideally situated in the heart of Rosebank in Johannesburg and offers superb accommodation, fine restaurants, quality state of the art conferencing facilities and the most exceptional day spa (to open soon).

All 318 rooms at the Hospitality Property Fund-owned hotel have been refurbished with the lobby and entrance being recreated to cater to all five senses with the use of vibrant colours, mood lighting, textured fabrics and ambient, subtle music. The Rosebank's new look and feel is supported by innovative technology. The grooving Circle Bar will be the hub of this innovation, where specially-selected music will be played and unique visual effects shown on giant screens encircling the bar. The music and lighting is themed according to the time of day to create an all-encompassing ambience for relaxation and recreation.

The large open foyer is a pastiche of styles including flavours of Africa and Asia - but the overall mood is one of luxury and opulence. We suspect this is going to become a very popular and sought after location - already various stills shoots have taken place, including for Top Billing magazine and Discrete's publicity shots. Jacob's Crossing has approached the hotel to use as a location but this is still to be confirmed.

Tel: Marije Meerstadt 086 174 7444

Sandton Holiday Inn

The launch of the Holiday Inn Sandton marks the re-emergence of the international Holiday Inn brand into the South African market. The Sky Bar at the Holiday Inn Sandton offers a panoramic view of the bustle of Rivonia and the verdant greenery of the Northern suburbs of Johannesburg. Along with the Sky Bar, another special feature worth mentioning is the sparkling swimming pool housed on the hotel roof overlooking Sandton.

Tel: Michelle Held +27 11 282 0000

Mount Grace

Whether you are looking for an out of door hotel with a gracious country feel or a truly relaxing retreat for an international cast and crew Mount Grace set in the heart of the Magaliesberg is the place. Mount Grace is Gauteng's leading country house and spa. Just an hour's drive from Johannesburg, amid the Magaliesberg Mountains, sits Mount Grace, renowned for its luxury accommodation, picturesque gardens and the peace and tranquility of its spa gardens

Mount Grace officially reopened, also in August, after the first phase of a R135 million upgrade. The revamp began in January and will be completed in the first quarter of next year and the overall effect is energising, breathing a sense of well being in luxurious comfort. All in the magnificent and idyllic Magaliesberg surroundings, with famous views of the mountains and valleys of this magnificent countryside.

Mount Grace Spa has already received numerous accolades, including South Africa's most Unique Spa. Of course, everything that the spa was famous for has remained or been enhanced  the hydrotherapy spa gardens continue to offer ultimate relaxation with a Jacuzzi, rock pools and a liquid sound flotation pool.  

Tel: Lara Visagie +27 14 577 5600

The Nicol

The Nicol also opened its door in August. This designer condominium hotel, located in Bedfordview, one of Johannesburg's busiest hubs, is ideally located a mere 10 minute drive from OR Tambo International Airport, 15 minutes from Johannesburg CBD and 20 minutes from Sandton. All suites offer two or three luxury bedrooms, designer furnishings and the usual fittings and features. Facilities include a heated swimming pool, restaurant, auditorium, meeting and boardroom facilities and gymnasium. An up-market, smart, corporate hotel!

Tel: Megan Ryan +27 11 832 3552

 

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