Liesl Venter spoke to Bronwen Cadle de Ponte, chairperson of the Tshwane Tourism Association, about some of the more exciting venue openings and refurbishings in the Jacaranda City.
Possibly one of the most exciting developments in the city has been the opening of 012Precinct – four trendy new multifunctional inner-city venues – says Cadle de Ponte. Cleverly named for the city’s dialling code – 012 – the venues have already successfully hosted events from conferences to concerts and corporate functions to hip markets.
“Driven by passion for the inner city, the vision of 012Precinct is to build and grow a precinct in which people live, work and play,” she says. “The venue comprises a number of closely situated buildings that enable diverse, rich experiences for people or companies that need a venue for their event.”
The cornerstone is 012Central, a raw, urban space dotted with art and greenery, with an incredible sense of scale. There is a sizeable outside section too. Here, one finds the African Beer Emporium (ABE), an upmarket restaurant/bar that focuses on delivering local and foreign visitors a taste of Africa in an unprecedented way and with exceptional style. ABE stocks a large variety of African beers (possibly the largest collection on the continent) and the menu features signature dishes from all over Africa.
012Central Bank Towers, which boasts spectacular views of the city, was designed in the 1950s by Norman Eaton, the prolific South African architect. Corporates looking for a rooftop for their event will struggle to find anything better than this, says Cadle de Ponte.
012Central Jardown is situated in a building that was originally designed for a tobacco distribution business in the style of a hangar. The acoustics in the space are exceptional, thanks to the massive volume and curved roof.
The fourth venue, 012Central Prinschurch, overlooks the State Theatre, the SA Reserve Bank, Sammy Marks Square and the Union Buildings. This rooftop venue is another ideal option for taking in views of South Africa’s capital city.
Faircity Roodevallei Hotel
Accommodating up to 250 delegates in its largest venue and picturesquely situated on the edge of the Roodeplaat Dam, this venue recently underwent a R6m refurbishment. Renowned for its tranquil setting, it also has a variety of accommodation available for delegates who want to stay over, yet is a mere 20-minute drive from the Gautrain Hatfield station.
Leriba Hotel & Spa
This property is currently undergoing a revamp in support of its environmental sustainability programme.
Situated on 13 hectares of indigenous bush on the banks of the Hennops River in Centurion, the hotel has 73 luxury en-suite rooms to complement its 20 fully equipped, air-conditioned conference venues.
The first phase of the revamp has seen the 20 luxury en-suite rooms given state-of-the-art heating and cooling features. Heat pumps and insulation were installed to make heating and cooling facilities 70% more energy efficient and environmentally friendly and tanks collect water from the roofs to irrigate the herb gardens.
The second stage of the refurb focused on design, décor and architectural elements of the building and rooms underwent a facelift to create a seamless standard of luxury and elegance.
The final stage of the upgrade is the enhancement of the swimming pool area, with all exotic palms to be removed and replaced with indigenous plant species.
Still to come
New on the horizon is Time Square at Menlyn Maine, which will offer a five-star Sun International hotel with 100 luxury rooms and 10 suites to cater for the diplomatic travel market, support the business traveller and encourage overnight stays in Tshwane and accommodate gambling patrons over weekends. The hotel is expected to have a conference centre featuring an indoor entertainment arena seating 8 000 people and catering for international and local entertainment, concerts, sports events, conventions and exhibitions as well as a diverse range of retail shopping, bars and restaurants. It is scheduled to open in 2017.
Another exciting development that is being anticipated is the new Radisson RED hotel, part of the Loftus Park complex in the city, and is expected to open before the one planned for Cape Town. Radisson RED is a new hotel philosophy, where lifestyle, not luxury, is the inspiration. The brand's design is said to be bold, alive and inspirational, said Cadle du Ponte. “RED's flexible service concept includes staff who cater for the DIY attitude of guests, and believes that hotels can enhance their world via art, music and fashion.”