Durban - Durban’s hospitality industry is on a high this week after being recognised not only as South Africa’s friendliest city, but having four of its hotels ranked among the top 10 favourite hotels in the country.
After the globally influential Anholt-GfK Roper City Brand Index ranked Durban ahead of Joburg and Cape Town as the friendliest metropolis, the Hilton Durban was voted South Africa’s favourite hotel.
This was according to leading online travel agency SouthAfrica.TO in its 2013 annual awards, revealed. The website has about 190 000 visitors a month, and 1 097 people cast votes in the 2013 SouthAfrica.TO Travel Awards campaign.
The Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani took second spot, pipping Cape Town’s One-&-Only Hotel, which came third. Also among the top 10 were uMhlanga’s Beverly Hills Hotel and The Oyster Box.
Other hotels in the top 10 included The Palace of the Lost City Hotel, Mandela Rhodes Place Hotel & Spa, The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa, Mount Nelson and the Michelangelo Hotel.
Rob Baker of Cape Town-based SouthAfrica.TO said Durban and Cape Town dominated the list, with the Mother City also having four hotels in the top 10.
“Hilton Durban prides itself on its excellent service standards and premium facilities and it is a great honour to be awarded South Africa’s favourite hotel title,” said Evan Harrington, the Hilton Durban’s acting general manager.
“This award is recognition of the tireless efforts by our team to provide every guest with an exceptional experience. We are thrilled to note that the results of the voting comprised feedback from our valued customers and members within the travel and tourism industry,” said Harrington.
Meanwhile, Baker said, although the Michelangelo was the only Gauteng hotel in the top 10, this was not as a result of a lack of Gauteng voters taking part.
He said Gauteng had the most voters (41 percent) of all provinces. On the other hand KwaZulu-Natal had only the third-most voters (18 percent), and the Western Cape had 24 percent of the voters.
SouthAfrica.TO analysts concluded that this was because the most vivid hotel experiences were formed when travelling outside one’s own province and actually staying in hotels, as opposed to opinions formed when driving past hotels in one’s home town or perhaps dining there, which could be a lot weaker.
“Our readers have spoken and we’d like to congratulate the Hilton Durban on being voted South Africa’s favourite hotel.
“Also, congratulations to the runner-up, the Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani. It was very close between the front runners,” said Baker.
He said votes came from readers of the site and its newsletters as well as those on its social media platforms during August.
l Launching the KZN Tourism master plan on Tuesday, Economic Development and Tourism MEC Michael Mabuyakhulu said Durban’s being named the country’s friendliest city was a huge accolade and would help market the city as a hospitable tourist destination.
The Anholt-GfK Roper City Brand Index assesses the images of 50 cities annually, quizzing people in 10 countries. - The Mercury