The presidential suite. Picture: Supplied
The presidential suite. Picture: Supplied

Striking the perfect balance between work and play on my first workation in the city

By Debashine Thangevelo Time of article published Jun 9, 2021

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There was a time when organisations baulked at the idea of staff “working remotely”. But the arrival of Covid-19 has made it the new normal.

This change meant the traditional sort of 9 to 5 work day has also evolved. Yes, the time frame tends to overlap but most people don’t mind work eating into a bit of personal time as they are in the comfort of their home.

And when there is a need for a chance of scenery, there’s always the option of going on a workation.

I wasn’t sold on the idea at first. I prefer to keep the two separate.

But when an opportunity to test this new trend popped up, I decided to give it a try.

As such, I recently found myself at the Protea Hotel by Marriott Johannesburg Wanderers.

When the hard lockdown was enforced in March last year, the tourism industry - along with many others - took a huge knock.

For this well-known establishment, it was the perfect time to renovate.

The lobby entrance. Picture: Supplied

My last memory of the place dates back to several years back when I was still living in Durban. So you can imagine my pleasant surprise when I arrived at reception and was greeted by a sleek new trendy space.

In fact, everything from the rooms, the dining area to the event spaces were remodelled, with the fixtures and décor giving it a very urban chic, cutting-edge feel.

I stayed in a junior suite on the eighth floor, which offered a wonderful overview of the neighbouring Wanderers Club, along with the bustling vibe of the Illovo/ Melrose Arch Precinct.

The room was kitted out with a kingsize bed, a smart TV in the dining area as well as the bedroom. A spacious bathroom with a tub as well as shower. It also had an executive work desk, where you can comfortably set yourself up during your stay.

And there is free wi-fi throughout the hotel.

During a tour of the place, which is fitted with plenty of sanitising stations throughout, I checked out their conference rooms, some of which can accommodate up to 15 delegates.

A standard room. Picture: Supplied

By the way, it doesn’t matter whether you book into a standard guest room, a junior or presidential suite, all the rooms have a smart TV with satellite channels, air-conditioning, tea and coffee-making facilities, a comfortable workstation and kingsize bed, unless you request otherwise.

I was told by the manager that they went with a Scandinavian design, which favours functionality, simplicity, and craftsmanship. As such, they gravitate towards natural materials, pale woods, as well as wool and linen textiles.

If you are on a tight deadline, which prevents you from making your way to the hotel restaurant, where they serve a buffet breakfast as well as lunch and dinner from the à la carte menu, they have room service available. However, the operating hours are aligned with the current lockdown level.

And if you are staying over on a Friday, you might want to try their stir-fry special.

I took time to explore the ambience of this tranquil urban bubble by popping down to the restaurant for my meals. Side note: their pastas are divine.

By the way, they also have a deli-coffee bar for those quick meetings or catch ups. And the outdoor area makes it the ideal sundowner spot, too.

The refurbished restaurant boasts fantastic views of parts of the suburb. Picture: Supplied

There is a swimming pool and a gym on the property. However, should these options not be to your liking, they do offer guests complimentary temporary membership of the Wanderers Club, which gives them access to the sports facilities as well as other social venues.

And if you want to enjoy some retail therapy, they provide a shuttle to malls within a 10km radius.

It’s the perfect spot to strike a harmonious balance between work and play. From that perspective, I can honestly say that I’ve warmed up to the idea of a workation. It makes perfect sense in this new normal.

For more information, visit: https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/jnbwa-protea-hotel-johannesburg-wanderers

* Debashine Thangevelo was hosted by Protea Hotel by Marriott Johannesburg Wanderers.

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