News & Reviews Africa South Africa Insight: Four Seasons The Westcliff, Johannesburg

Four Seasons The Westcliff, Johannesburg
Room type: “Smallish”
Duration: 17th > 18th February, 2018
Booked with: Dorsia Travel

I have never previously felt so inclined to write so much about so little.  I will even save you the hassle of looking at any pictures, which I will claim is for art purposes, but in reality is because I couldn’t be bothered to take any.  This hotel warrants the special edition.

Having stayed in The Saxon three times in the last 5 months, we decided to stay at the Four Seasons for the sake of knowing that it’s worse, rather than believing it.

I can now definitively say that it is.

At check-in, we asked what room category we were in and the size of it, naturally hoping for an upgrade, only to be told “it’s kinda small”.   That woman should definitely not go into sales. We were then told nothing about the hotel, other than the objective and universal truth of the magnitude of their rooms.  After deducing where anything was by ourselves, we made our way over to lunch, only to wish we hadn’t bothered.

When we arrived in Flames, in a place where I assumed lunch was served, we were looked at like we just walked off the streets and greeted with the iced glare of resentment. A lack of greeting made up in an abundance of attitude, accumulating in a silent walk to the bar, where a very un-Four Seasons atmosphere of loud music made it unappealing before even sitting down; clearly they are aiming at a different demographic here, with everyone looking like they were auditioning to become the next Kardashian.

After reviewing a menu that contained small snacks, even the waitress agreed we should not be there for “proper food”, so off we toddled to the Apres Spa instead. Over lunch we ordered drinks, for the wrong ones to arrive.  At least an apology was forthcoming, with the promise of rectifying it. 15 minutes passed without any sign, so we just went and got them ourselves. Then the mains came without any sides, but that was inconsequently compared to them tasting like they just came out of a freezer, only for the bartender to admit the pizza had in fact come from one.

Then, the pièce de résistance – ordering room service at 3am. I really hope we were on a hidden camera show, as I would likely sign the waiver and have a good laugh about it. Lucie managed to maintain her sanity, whilst I lay in bed listening to it all go down.

Lucie: Can we please order a strawberry milkshake?
Him: Ok, a vanilla milkshake
Lucie: No, a strawberry milkshake
Him: I’ll need to check, I’m not sure I can do that

Lucie then explains to him what a milkshake is

Lucie: Ok, if you cannot, please just go for a hot chocolate
Him: Ok, so a coffee with chocolate
Lucie: No, a hot chocolate. If you cannot do a strawberry milkshake, please just do a hot chocolate
Him: Ok, I’ll do a chocolate milkshake
Lucie: No! Strawberry milkshake or hot chocolate
Him: But I want to make you a chocolate milkshake
Lucie: I don’t care what you want, we want a strawberry milkshake or hot chocolate. Please do either and if you cannot, don’t call back as we’ll just go to sleep

2 minutes later he calls back and says he’ll bring a hot chocolate. It was like training a parrot to speak. If anyone works in Four Seasons and confirms they record the phone calls, please, please get this for me, as it will be something I will listen to during dark days to cheer me up for years to come.

Overall, not a single positive interaction with any member of staff, except the waitress decent enough to admit we should not eat there.  I just should have realised she didn’t just mean Flames.

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Tom Cahalan

Written by Tom Cahalan on 23rd Feb '18

Dorsia Travel’s co-founder Tom Cahalan’s take on travel is reliably candid. Here’s his take on what’s good, bad, and luxurious.

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