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This is the sixth post of my South Africa Series. Follow along to read my reviews on several different aspects of my trip. Other posts in this series include: Come Along With Me To South Africa!; Flight Review: South African Airways Business Class JFK-JNB; Hotel Review: Westin Cape Town; Trip Report: Watching African Penguins at Boulders Beach and the Cape of Good Hope; Cape Town Dining; 10 Things I Love About South Africa; Hotel Review: 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa Luxury Room; Trekking Up Table Mountain In Cape Town; Hotel Review: Hyatt Regency Johannesburg; Trip Report: South Africa Safari at Savanna Lodge in Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve; Safari Highlights at Sabi Sands Game Reserve in South Africa.
The hotel is in the heart of the Central Business District right about where Wale Street starts, so you have easy access to the main sights like the Waterfront, Table Mountain and the beach suburbs south of the city.
It has 137 guest rooms and suites and when I was looking for room rates, I was able to get a King Hilton Deluxe for 971.50 ZAR ($114), so I booked it immediately for two nights rather than using the two free weekend nights from my Citi Hilton Reserve card or 30,000 points per night (it’s a Hilton Category 4) – which would only have given me a value of 0.38 cents per point – I can do better!
When I arrived at the hotel, I found I’d actually been upgraded to a King Hilton Executive Room, which goes for about 400 ZAR ($47) more and comes with lounge access – meaning free breakfast for me as well as free internet. As a Diamond member, I would have gotten access to the Executive Lounge lounge anyway, which serves complimentary daily breakfast (with hot options and fresh juices), refreshments throughout the day, complimentary canapés and a full bar in the evening, but it was still nice to get a room on a higher floor, though it wasn’t quite the suite upgrade that I got at the Westin Cape Town as a Starwood Platinum (suite upgrades aren’t a benefit of Hilton Diamond, unfortunately). The Westin lounge was nicer, but the hours were better at the Hilton, with the canapes available until 11pm vs 7pm at the Westin.
The room itself was pretty spacious at about 420 square feet, with a minibar area next to the door, a wall-mounted flatscreen, a sizable work desk and chair and an ottoman next to the king bed. The best feature was probably the magnificent view of Table Mountain!
The bathroom was also nice- huge with a separate deep soaking tub, a large shower, and two sinks stocked.
My one quibble was that the rooms require a key card to activate the electricity, and the reader in my room was on the fritz so both nights I stayed, I woke up in the dark in the morning (and had to shower in the dark!) without having charged my gadgets, which was a major nuisance. A maintenance man came up each time and somehow banged on the box to get it to work, but it was annoying nonetheless. The other issue was that the internet, which was at least free for me, was slower than the dial-up I had as a kid, so it wasn’t much help getting work done or even doing something as simple as making an online restaurant reservation.
Despite my technological issues, however, I did have a nice stay. The service was attentive and quick – especially in the Executive Lounge, the room was spacious and the location was great. The hotel has their own cars, so you can avoid taxis and the prices are basically the same ($3 to the Waterfront or $35 to the airport). I hope they resolve the problems I was having, but if you’re a Hilton devotee, at least you have a decent option here.
Points Earned Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.
My room rate worked out to about $114 per night, so I earned a total of 2,280 base points, plus a 50% Diamond bonus of 1,140, plus a 1,000 point My Way amenity, plus the Hilton spring double point promo bonus of 1,000 points and then my double dip partner is Virgin Atlantic so I got 1,000 Flying Club miles, which I will convert into 2,000 Hilton points for 6,280 points deposited to my Hilton account. On top of this I get another 10 points per dollar for using my Reserve card for another 2,280 points and a grand total of 8,560 points earned. I value Hilton points at .7 cents each (50,000 point top tier nights are at least $350 where I redeem, plus I leverage the value of GLON awards), so in my eyes it is a net rebate of about $60 on a $228 stay, or about 26%.
Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.