Industry has been watching with keen interest the work going on behind the scenes at what used to be The Grace of Rosebank hotel in Johannesburg since Tsogo Sun – Hotels bought it last year. Yesterday media were invited to take a sneak peak of the progress to date, with the hotel on track to open 1 July. The results are a stylish, contemporary and calm design and ambience, with an exciting Champagne bar and new-look gardens, all of which respect the iconic nature of the building.

In October 2011, Tsogo Sun acquired the Grace Hotel and office buildings in Rosebank, Johannesburg. The acquisition promises good growth potential for Tsogo Sun, adding the Rosebank node to their existing footprint. Renovations to the property in late 2011.

An extensive amount of research was conducted to determine the offering of other establishments in Rosebank, the character of this vibrant multi-cultural district and the niche preferences of the discerning business and leisure traveller to the node.

Tsogo Sun consulted with Brash Brands, an internationally renowned brand consultancy, to determine the vision and character of the new hotel. The vision of this new deluxe boutique property is to provide a unique guest experience combined with a personalised approach and careful attention to detail. Consistent small changes to the offering promise a new experience every time guests visit.

Along with the renovations and vision came the need to change the name to reflect the distinctive experience, the modernisation and the urban chic personality of the hotel. Tsogo Sun adopted the address of the property as the name of the new deluxe boutique hotel, 54 On Bath. It is a name that reflects the iconic history of the property, which has long been a landmark in the area, and its trendy surroundings.

Strategically positioned in Rosebank, 54 On Bath will provide a personalised experience local and international travellers. Rosebank is emerging as an exciting business and leisure node. The Gautrain has boosted development and changes in the immediate precinct are underway, with major construction and refurbishments taking place.

“54 On Bath will be positioned as the antithesis of large chain hotels. It will have attention to detail like no other, providing an intimate, vibrant and energetic environment that is focused on a distinctive guest experience. The hotel will reflect the energy, character and sophistication to satisfy the needs of the discerning business and leisure traveller. The hotel will open on 1 July 2012 and has 60 standard rooms, 12 luxury suites, and three penthouse suites. 54 On Bath has been designed with the discerning traveller in mind, the person who seeks refinement as well as comfort and a personal touch, the person who can appreciate tranquillity in the heart of a trendy and fast-developing urban area – a hotel for you,” says Graham Wood, MD of Tsogo Sun – Hotels.

David Muirhead, of David Muirhead & Associates, designed the interior of 54 On Bath. He says: “We worked with the classic foundation and lines of the property and evolved the interiors in a way that was respectful to the architecture. This landmark building has been given an interior that is urban chic yet classic, and is all about a revival, not only of the hotel, but of the commercial node of Rosebank, making the design both exciting and uplifting.”

Art is a strong feature in 54 On Bath, with many of the photographic pieces having been especially commissioned. These offer a visual journey that celebrates Johannesburg. The original brass chandeliers in the lobby lounge create a modern combination of the old and new against a backdrop of classic wall coverings.

The leisure and fine dining options, which now include a Champagne bar, will draw in local residents and appeal to guests. Key F&B features include the intimate Champagne bar on the fourth floor, which is where the garden terrace is located; boutique coffee bar in the lobby lounge; and enjoy traditional afternoon tea which will be served on the terrace and in the lounge. The restaurant is an uncomplicated yet elegant space that allows for intimate and comfortable dining and opens up to the renowned fourth floor roof terrace and garden. The new name for the restaurant, which reflects the dining offering of showcasing the specialities of the chefs in the brigade, is soon to be announced.

Gerard Vingerling, executive chef, and Craig Smith, restaurant manager, with their staff are putting together a restaurant in which all the chefs will be given credit for their contribution towards the guests’ dining experience. The restaurant offering will be targeted to service residents of Rosebank and surrounds.

Leisure and business guests have easy access to designer shops, boutiques and entertainment facilities at the Rosebank Mall through the hotel’s link from the second floor.

Jacques-Louis Moolman, who moves across from Tsogo Sun’s Southern Sun Resorts Division, will take the reins at 54 On Bath as general manager. He is keen and excited to be part of the deluxe boutique offering and is eager to start delivering a unique guest experiences to all his guests. He is ably assisted by Darren Hailstones as deputy general manager, who was with the property in its previous life from the beginning of 1999 to 2000.

“Our staff will be the true USP of this hotel. They are all being specially trained to deliver an energetic and vibrant personalised and professional experience ensuring that we deliver on the distinctive 54 On Bath promise,” notes Wood.

Source: Hotel and Restaurant – Susan Reynard