Texas Hotels, the best hotels in Texas

The Legendary Driskill Hotel

No other hotel in Texas is as beautiful or legendary as the Driskill in Austin. It is, by far, my favorite hotel in the state and perhaps in the country. This is a serious luxury hotel with a story in every room. It’s even reputed to be haunted, but that’s one of its charms.

A Texas cattle baron built this hotel in 1886. Restored to its original elegance, The Driskill has a magnificent columned lobby, marble floors and a stained-glass dome over the classic décor of the 189 guestrooms and suites.

Located right in the middle of Austin, and 6th street, this gorgeous hotel is within walking distance of many live music venues. It’s also close to the state capitol building and the home of some of the best tours of the city, including the ghost tour and horse and carriage rides.
Great Wolf Lodge
A hotel with an indoor water park! Amazing.
A hotel with an indoor water park! Amazing. | Source
Great Wolf Lodge – Dallas, Grapevine Texas

The fun Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, Tx has to be a great hotel simply because it houses an indoor water park! Me and my fair skin love this place. I really like the outdoors, but have never been able to stay in the sun, so why not bring the outdoors inside?

All of the rooms are suites with mini refrigerators which is a real boon to travelers! Need to keep medicine cool? How about some wine or champagne? No problem. Enjoy a cool beverage when you retire for the evening to watch a bit of TV and catch up on some Zzzz’s.

If you’re traveling with children, this is the only type of hotel I would consider. An automatic babysitter for 8 year old and up come in the form of lifeguards. The kids can play safely, and you can enjoy a leisurely lunch nearby. Guest passes are available for whoever you are visiting so they can enjoy the fun too.
The Gage Hotel
An outside wall of the Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas
An outside wall of the Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas | Source
Marfa, Alpine, WestTexas and the Gage Hotel

If you are going to visit West Texas and the stunning Big Bend country, there is only one hotel to spend your time at. The Gage Hotel makes you feel like you’re living next door to every Texas legend that ever lived.

It’s the center point for all that is holy in the West:

Big Bend National Park
Far Flung Adventures, River rafting
The Marfa Ghost Lights
Horseback riding
McDonald Observatory and Star parties
A 3.5-million gallon spring-fed pool (yes, million!) at Balmorhea, Tx
Terlingua Ghost Town and the giant Texas Chili Cook-off
The Chihuahua Desert and a moon that follows you wherever you go

The original hotel was built in 1927 and I think the furniture is still original. It’s well maintained, of course, but it feels like you have gone back in time. If you liked Bonanza and the Cartwright Ranch, then you’ll swear you just might bump into the ghosts of Dan Blocker, Pernell Roberts, Michael Landon or even Lorne Greene himself welcoming you to the modern pool and gardens.
Houston, Dallas and Fort Worth hotels

There are some nice hotels in Houston and Dallas, but they don’t have the personality I desire in a great Texas hotel. I always look for the best hotels that have a real past. You know like that big hotel in Colorado that Stephen King got so famous for in the Shining. I’ve yet to see a ghost, but I always look for them.

If I were to book a hotel in Houston or Dallas today, I would probably go with the ZaZa hotels. They’re a bit upscale and foo foo for me, but they are geared toward tourists and making a guest comfortable. For less foo foo, pick a chain hotel that is close to whatever part of the city you’re visiting. Actually, I don’t recommend either city. Houston and Dallas are both too crowded and busy. Neither city has anything at all resembling the heart and soul of Texas.

Fort Worth is a different story. Ft. Worth has history to spare. It’s where the Chisolm trail met the East/West route of the cattle barons, cotton kings, trains and the settlers from all over. The nickname for Ft. Worth is Cow Town and there is no doubt it still has roots in the cattle and ranching industry today.

The Stockyards Hotel is the place to stay in Forth Worth. Cattle and Cotton are King here and the best steak house in the state is right next door at the Hunter Brother’s H3 Ranch Restaurant. Visit Billy Bob’s and other eccentric saloons nearby. Built in 1907, the hotel has been the temporary home of cattle barons, country music stars, and real outlaws of the west.
Texas hotels that deserve an honorable mention

The Menger hotel in San Antonio is past its prime, but still reputed to be haunted and it is conveniently located in the Alamo City. I stayed there many years ago and hopefully, they have refurbished the place since then. Theodore Roosevelt, Babe Ruth, Mae West, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant and Sarah Bernhardt have stayed here so there is history. Much of the furnishings are museum quality so it is worth looking into.

If you’re going to stay in New Braunfels, I would recommend the Schlitterbahn Resorts. Stay where you play is my motto here! Nothing is more fun in Texas than a water park and Schlitterbahn is the best water park in the world.

Haunted Hotels, The Hotel Lawrence, Dallas, Texas

The 1925 boutique hotel in downtown Dallas has charm, mystery and some of the who-dun-it appeal of the 1930’s. Sure, there were deaths. Were they murders?

The Hotel Lawrence is in downtown Dallas, two blocks from the Book Depository, Kennedy Memorial and Dealey Plaza. The hotel was built in 1925 by George Scott, as a railway hotel and is just across from union station. First named the Scott Hotel, changes in ownership over the years have resulted in several name changes. In 1930 it was renamed the Lawrence but between 1980 and 2000 the hotel was called the Bradford and the Paramount, regaining its title of The Hotel Lawrence in the year 2000. Despite all the changes the hotel retains many original art deco features.

The Lawrence is a inexpensive hotel, providing individual touches such as a welcome kit for your dog or cat, and free milk and cookies in the evening, but the rooms are small, though adequate unless you insist on doing yoga during your stay here. Railway hotels were designed to provide accommodation for one or two nights. Some guests had never left.
Macabre Events on the 10th Floor

The 10th floor is renowned for suicide and murder. In the 1940s a woman plummeted to her death from a window on the 10th floor. Did she fall, did she jump, or was she pushed? Staff and guests report seeing moving shadows and hearing the sound of someone crying. Jack Jackson, known as “Smiley,” is said to have been murdered in room 1009, although some versions of the story say it was room 807. Perhaps they are one and the same; there were originally 160 rooms, now there are 118. Smiley can be picky about whom he allows in his room, is a good idea to say, ” Let me in, Smiley,” or acknowledge his presence in another way before entering. Another murder is said to have happened in the same room, a Mr. Brookshire had his throat cut. One guest reported the feeling of a towel being placed around their neck. You’d wonder if the events are connected.
Unexplained Happenings on the Lower Floors

In the early days of the hotel a casino was run on the second floor. An unhappy gambler wanders through the hallways, apparently still hoping to make up his losses. Late at night when all is quiet, the faint sound of someone walking in high heeled shoes has been heard in the lobby. In the basement laundry carts move of their own volition and doors opened and closed. Voices are heard, a watchful presence is felt and staff wonder why they suddenly feel cold.
Telling Reviews from Guests

The Hotel Lawrence receives mixed reviews, guests complain of the bath being dirty, the elevator acting erratically, and, in one case, of the alarm clock in the empty next room being set off in the early hours and of being unable to use the phone to call the lobby. The guest dressed and went down to the lobby to ask for somebody to turn the alarm off. Had he been aware of the spirits wandering the hotel, he may have used earplugs instead. Guests have also complained of the cold in their rooms, but in the Dallas summer it is easy for people to be over exuberant in setting the air conditioner controls.

In an old hotel with thin walls and inadequate insulation, all these manifestations of otherworldly activity are easily explained. Or are they?

Retreat Hill Winery ~ Beautiful Texas Bluebonnet Wine Trail Country Photos

Bluebonnets and wine tasting…

This last Spring my husband and I ventured out from our home in Houston, Texas as we do each year by automobile.

Our primary mission was to soak up the ambiance furnished by the springtime Texas temperatures while enjoying the profusion of wildflowers gracing the roadsides. Bluebonnets and many other wildflowers are in abundance and the newspapers keep us apprised of when they are approaching their peak blooming time.

This last year we decided to also explore some of the nearby Texas wineries that were open for the Texas Bluebonnet Wine Trail and Retreat Hill Winery was on the list of places to experience.

Thus our mission took on an extra flavor of discovery.

Countryside around Retreat Hill Winery
Surrounding countryside
Surrounding countryside | Source
Retreat Hill Winery sign
Retreat Hill Winery

The address of Retreat Hill Winery is 15551 FM 362, Navasota, Texas 77868. Their telephone number is 936-449-5285.

Conveniently open from 11 AM to 6 PM on Saturdays and Noon to 5 PM on Sundays (and other times by appointment) this winery is tucked away into the gently rolling countryside.

The people that worked there appeared to us as though they were all the best of friends and had probably worked together at Retreat Hill Winery for years. Whether that was in fact the case, it was our impression from all the jovial banter back and forth between them.

For the Texas Bluebonnet Wine Trail, once we showed them our tickets, we were ushered outside under a covered patio and were given some tasty morsels of food to accompany the wines that they were sampling that day.

A very friendly college student was there to serve us and answer any questions that we had about the wines.

A Texas friendly atmosphere prevailed and the picture above and to the right shows the typical Texas country farewell posted by a sign as we left the Retreat Hill property.
Retreat Hill Winery
Retreat Hill Winery
Retreat Hill Winery | Source
Retreat Hill Winery

Billy Cox

While we did not happen to see the owner and winemaker of Retreat Hill Winery on the day of our visit, Billy Cox is very involved as a director of the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association and he is also takes an active role in the Texas Bluebonnet Wine Trail.
Map where Retreat Hill Winery is located
A markerRetreat Hill Winery – 15551 Farm-To-Market Road 362, Navasota, TX 77868, USA
[get directions]

Countryside around Retreat Hill Winery
Surrounding countryside
Surrounding countryside | Source
Vineyards, Wineries and Wine

Growing grapes as a crop is an agricultural business and farming the land, trimming the vines, keeping the grapes pest free, and a myriad of other activities dictated by the season and weather keeps grape growers busy just like any other type of farming.

Knowing exactly when to harvest the grapes to get the peak of flavor and other desirable components from the fruit takes knowledge and then turning those grapes into good wine is an art form orchestrated by the seasoned winemaker.

There are many steps taken in between the newly harvested grapes to the final product of what the consumer sees and gets to enjoy in each bottle of wine. Much of this step by step process is the same from winery to winery but the final product depends upon decisions made by the winemaker and, of course, Mother Nature.

Once bottled, the wine continues to evolve. It is a living and breathing thing! Some wines are meant to be aged and continue to improve over the years while others are purposely meant to be drunk soon after purchase. It is fun learning about different types of wine and broadening one’s wine experiences.
Countryside around Retreat Hill Winery
Surrounding countryside
Surrounding countryside | Source

Farmland and surrounding countryside

In addition to passing glorious fields of wildflowers on our sojourn into the countryside looking for Retreat Hill Winery and other wineries on the Texas Bluebonnet Wine trail, we passed numerous fields that were plowed and planted with various crops.

Cattle were grazing in many of the pastures and my husband and I spotted animals such as horses and goats as shown in these accompanying pictures.

The weather was bright and sunny and couldn’t have been better had we special ordered it for our daytrip out of the city.
Wildflowers in cemetery near Retreat Hill Winery
Masses of wildflowers drew our attention to noticing this little country cemetery.
Masses of wildflowers drew our attention to noticing this little country cemetery. | Source
Texas wildflowers


Not far from Retreat Hill Winery is a small cemetery.

What drew our attention was the carpeting of wildflowers that adorned this final resting spot for people who had passed from this life to the next.

Armed with camera in hand, my husband graciously agreed to stop and let me take some extra photos.

I did not see a sign which would have let us know the name of this little country cemetery. However it is on FM 362 off 105 for those who wish to find it.

While the gravestones were not large and grand, the setting with some old moss laden trees and the blanketing of wildflowers surely presented a beautiful picture.

Texas wildflowers
Wildflowers blooming in a nearby cemetery
Wildflowers blooming in a nearby cemetery | Source

If you happen to be visiting Retreat Hill Winery in the Spring of the year, they can probably point you in the right direction if you wish to visit this little cemetery. It is a serene setting made even prettier with the splash of Texas Wildflowers.
Texas wildflowers
Retreat Hill Winery part of the Bluebonnet Wine Trail

Second Winery location!

Since the time of our visit to Retreat Hill Winery in Navasota, there is now an expanded second location called Retreat Hill Cellars in downtown Montgomery, Texas.

When my husband and I visited Cork This! Winery in Montgomery, Texas we had noticed the old and historic First State Bank building and even photographed it. Built in 1906 and located at 14343 Liberty Street ( SH 149 just one block north of SH 105) this is now the new home of Retreat Hill Cellars.

With two wineries in this small and historic town filled with other attractions (such as stores filled with antiques) Montgomery, Texas will now provide people with even more reasons to visit.

Elegant Hotels With Discounted Rates In Chicago

When looking for an affordable lodging but not compromising the comfort it brings, go to Chicago for some excellent hotel options that give discounted rates. One of these is the Hotel Indigo in North Dearborn Parkway Downtown Gold Coast of Chicago with over 165 fully furnished guestrooms and suites to choose from.

Hotel Indigo is located in the oldest and historical place of Chicago nearby downtown and other well known places like the Oak Street’s Boutique and the Chicago’s Magnificent Mile to spend the day for relaxing, shopping’s activities or even cosset the nightlife styles at Rush Street.

It is one of the finest and exceptionally designed hotels that attract guests with their affordable rates without sacrificing quality, comfort and fine amenities. Its original style is based from the Inter Continental Hotels Group and their warmth and friendly skilled staff/ concierge waits at the lobby to give their full assistance and support to their guests.

All guest rooms are well accentuated and furnished with lavish beddings with high count threading, pillows, individual desk lamps, working tables, high speed internet connection, personal safe, wide screen cabled television, dual line telephone, iron and board, hairdryer, coffeemakers and a bathrooms with complete set of toiletries.

The facilities are one of a kind. The lobby exudes a feeling of warmth and relaxing ambience. The expansive and cozy zone of Golden Bean Restaurants and Bar serves special and unique American cuisines with wide array of international wines and drinks.

Hotel Indigo is also committed in providing good and accessible facilities for their guest with disabilities under the American Disabilities Act of United States and Canada. They also provide assistance and supplementary information regarding accessible facilities for their handicapped guests and other clientele.

Their 24 hours concierge and staff are available in the lobby area for more hotel information and discount rates upon arrival or upon placing the reservations prior to the stated date of stays and length of time.

Another excellent and leading hotel in Chicago is the Whitehall Hotel in East Delaware Place built in 1927. It is a multinational essence of world class hotel with an elegance and beauty that captures every guests desire to stay with big discount rates for a more affordable and pleasurable stay.

The Whitehall Hotel is also one of the finest works of art blended with classic touch of Chicago and European architectures. This elegant and fascinating lodging is located near the exceptional museums of Chicago, Water Tower Place, Magnificent Mile, world class shopping entities, well-known sports figure auditorium, and the white sand seashore of Lake Michigan.

The hotel is a perfect place for intimate and more private hideaway. It is where the journeys end according to its guests and tourists that experience one of a kind and memorable stay. Whitehall Hotel was given a tribute as one of the eight great small hotels in the United States.

It focuses on the convenience and good quality of services for their clients besides its intimate and very warm location. They provided other facilities and amenities that suit their clients’ needs whether for leisure or business plan with the help of well-rounded and multilingual staff.

They’re also giving a much lesser price or discount rate for early reservations. Upon arrival, all they have to do is ask the staff in the lobby for more information and enjoyable stay.

Vacation Destinations In Texas: Houston Versus Austin

Texas is known as the friendly state so any vacation there will be wonderful. The name Texas comes from the Caddo Indian Tribe and it means “Hello Friend”. No matter if you vacation in Houston or Austin you will feel welcomed and appreciate all the cities have to offer.

Houston Texas – Much to see

There is a huge difference between vacationing in Houston as opposed to Austin. During the oil boom of the 1980’s, Houston grew into a large metropolitan city with big buildings and a bigger amount of traffic. There are over six hundred hotels and ten thousand restaurants that cater to tourists. Houston has a large number of museums to visit. Spend some time at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Museum of Fine Arts and the Holocaust Museum. The Children’s Museum of Houston and the Space Center will provide hours of entertainment for families that are visiting. Marvel at the incredible Wall of Water as thousands of gallons of water falls sixty four feet a minute. Enjoy some quiet time at the Villa De Matel Convent.

Austin Texas – Capital City

Austin may be the capital of Texas but the atmosphere is more laid back and mellow than in Houston. The tranquility of the Colorado River seems to inspire the artists, musicians, and writers that come to Austin.

Most of the attractions in Austin happen outdoors. Spend a morning strolling through the Japanese Gardens at Zilker Park. Rent a kayak or canoe or just enjoy a riverboat ride at the park. Cool off with a dip at the Barton Springs Pool. This spring fed pool stays a cool sixty eight degrees all year. Finish the day with a picnic at Mount Bonnell or check out the Austin TX fine dining.

If you enjoy history, spend some time at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum learning about our former President. Enjoy a Duck Tour that will show you the main attractions of Austin. An authentic amphibious military vehicle is used to travel the streets of Austin. The high point of this tour is when this military vehicle or duck drives right into the river. Ride a Segway to the Congress Bridge to see the bats that nest there or rent a bicycle to travel the streets of Austin. If you’re looking for more exercise after that make sure you stay at a Austin TX hotel with a fitness room.

Decide which Texas city is best for you!

Hopefully this will give you a better idea of what each city has to offer and which city is the best choice for your next vacation.

Many Sights And Sounds To Experience When Visiting Austin Texas

Even though the unofficial slogan is “Keep Austin Weird”, there is nothing weird about the city of Austin. Located in Central Texas, it is home to an eclectic group of people who take pride in calling Austin home. There is something for all different tastes in Austin. From historical tours, college sports, museums and a happening live music scene, there is sure to be something there for you. Additionally, there is plenty of lodging in lodging in Austin, TX around these great attractions.

Historical Sites

If it is history you are interested in, visit the State Capitol Building. Take a tour of Bremond Block, an area with 11 historic homes built in the late 1800’s. Pay your respects to a variety of Texas heroes, including Stephen F. Austin at the Texas State Cemetery. Make sure you see the historic Millett Opera House on a trip downtown.

Museums for Adults and Children

A must see is the Austin Children’s Museum with a variety of interactive exhibits that your whole family is sure to enjoy. If it is art you are interested in, pay a visit to the Austin Museum of Art. Your whole family will enjoy the Bob Bullock State History Museum featuring Austin’s only IMAX Theater. To finish your museum experience, a must see is the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library and Museum.

A Wide Variety of Sports

If it is college sports you love, be sure to check out the University of Texas Longhorns. Their football teams as well as their basketball teams will not disappoint. If you’re interested in professional basketball, make sure to catch the Austin Toros, a NBA Developmental League team. Also check out the Austin Aztex, a relatively new pro soccer league team.

Music for all Tastes

Austin was given the name the Live Music Capital of the World in 1991 for a reason. Since Austin is said to have the most live music per capita, there is surely something for you to go out and listen to. In March, the SXSW Conference is held where presentations are given showcasing new things in music. There are a variety of music festivals like the ACL Music Fest and the Urban Music Fest to attend as well. Don’t miss checking out a variety of live music performances downtown or in the SoCo area.

Hotels in Austin

Austin, with all it has to offer is awaiting you. Come, visit and stay awhile in some of the fine hotels in the area. You can bring you pets along too because there are many pet friendly hotels in Austin Texas available.

Stay at Palestine Texas Hotels to Enjoy the Beauty of the Dogwoods

Palestine, Texas is a charming and beautiful city with the feel of the Deep South. The city offers quaint bed & breakfasts, great Palestine Texas hotels and motels, a variety of restaurants, restored Victorian homes, the Texas State Railroad, museums, and lots of other sights and Palestine tourist attractions. But one of the most amazing things to see in Palestine is the beautiful and bountiful dogwood trees.

In Palestine you will find yards and parks filled with beautiful magnolia and dogwood trees. Davey Dogwood Park, located at 210 North Link Street, is one of the most popular destinations. This park features over 200 acres of softly rolling hills, forests, meadows, and flowing streams. There are a variety of picnic areas and scenic overlooks located throughout the park. But its most amazing features are its dogwood trees which begin to bloom in spring. They end up covered in white flowers and put on quite a show for about three weeks.

This year, the city hosted its 72nd Annual Dogwood Trails Celebration. This festival spanned several weekends and featured all kinds of activities including a dulcimer festival, arts and crafts, workshops, jam sessions, parades and more. It’s held each year in March or April and Davey Dogwood Park is a big part of the celebration.

One of the best ways to enjoy Palestine attractions and the beauty of the dogwoods in Palestine is so stay in one of the many beautiful Palestine Texas hotels so you can rest and recuperate after a long day at the park.

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Staying at One of the Many Palestine Texas Hotels? Don’t Miss the Railroad – A True Texas Treasure

When you’re in town and staying in one of our hotels in Palestine, Texas, you cannot miss the Texas State Railroad. This fun, family-friendly excursion will have you and your family talking and reminiscing for many years to come. It’s really a round-trip ticket to the best family fun.

The Texas state prison system established the railroad in 1881. Inmates built the line, which was used to transport hardwood to be used as fuel for the furnaces at the prison-operated iron smelter at Rusk Penitentiary. The furnace supplied the State of Texas with iron products, including the columns and dome structure for the capitol building in Austin. The original construction was a narrow gauge line but was later built in standard gauge in order to join into the main line.

In 1906, prison crews extended the rail line to Maydelle and in 1909 reached their final destination of Palestine. Once the train line was completed into Palestine the line was easily accessible to the main lines and commerce in and around the area flourished.

The Texas State Railroad offers both steam and diesel train excursions reminiscent of days gone by. You may board trains at the Rusk or Palestine depots where southern hospitality is the norm. These depots were built with an eye for detail and the elegance of Victorian charm. They are surrounded by beautiful parks offering visitors full-service campground facilities, picnic areas, concessions and a great deal more to enhance a four-season vacation experience. The railroad offers many kid-friendly excursions including the Polar Express train ride in November and December, A Day out with Thomas and The Little Engine that Could Rail Tour.

This historic train travels through the scenic piney woods and hardwood creek bottoms of East Texas where rolling hills, nature and wildlife abound. So venture away from your Palestine Texas hotels and come see what the railroad has to offer. There really is a lot to see and do. And many feature films have been shot here including The Great Debaters with Denzel Washington, American Outlaws with Timothy Dalton and O Brother Where Art Thou with George Clooney.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/4931447

Sun City re-launches after going through R1bn worth of upgrades

As much as R1bn has been spent on upgrading the Sun City entertainment centre over the past five years, and owner Sun International believes the development remains a popular leisure destination for South Africans.
Sun City re-launches after going through R1bn worth of upgrades
©Inna Felker via 123RF
The entertainment complex was re-launched this week. Group general manager for brand and communications at Sun International, Michael Farr, expects the festive season to be a busy one for Sun City. “Sun City is an iconic tourism product. It’s an authentic South African destination which still appeals to South Africans more than thirty years after it opened,” said Farr.

“Sun City has remained popular since its opening, but we felt it needed a complete overhaul and took the decision to invest over R1bn to do just that. We’ve put this investment into making the resort even more attractive to families, gamblers, convention visitors and a host of new, niche-tourists such as adrenalin-seekers, eco-tourists and millennials.

“We are confident that with this massive refurb and upgrade, Sun City will not only retain its status as SA’s favourite leisure destination, but will also recapture its place as the premier convention venue in the country,” he said.

He expected Sun City to receive about one million visitors this year, beating 2015’s performance.

Sun City, located in the North West Province, was opened in 1979. The idea was to create a Las Vegas-type gambling and leisure experience. Frank Sinatra and Queen were two international music stars who performed there soon after it opened.

The complex now offers various hotels and water-sports facilities including The Valley of The Waves. It also houses the Gary Player Golf Course which hosts the annual Nedbank Golf Challenge. Farr said the golf event was now part of the golf European Tour which would bring more visitors. “The field of players has increased and we hope that by making the event more prestigious, we will get more patrons,” he said.

Sun City’s conference centre has also been upgraded and has a very strong Wi-Fi and general information technology offering.

Sun International believes Sun City can compete with other domestic and international tourist destinations this festive season. There are now two flights daily from both Cape Town and Johannesburg to Sun City.

The entertainment complex does, however, have to compete for their share of tourists with the Western Cape, which is undoubtedly the most popular destination in the country. Wayne Troughton of HTI Consulting said the Western Cape’s major tourist season is starting as early as September.

Various European tourists had been visiting SA when the weather was not necessarily at its peak, he said.

First Group invests millions in refurbishing flagship properties

At a time when the luxury hospitality industry is enjoying a positive upturn, the First Group is boosting it’s growth with a total investment of R179 million including a massive refurbishment investment of R67 million over the past two years with a further R112 million in the pipeline for completion by 2018.
La Montagne refurbished lounge
La Montagne refurbished lounge
“We have put a great deal of effort into achieving our goals to not only enhance our portfolio, but at the same time to invest in the development of the luxury hospitality industry,” said Donald Lamont, First Group spokesman. “This is an ongoing comprehensive investment programme that will ensure that our properties and service offerings are unique and exciting and that we continue to deliver on our promise of ultimate guest experiences in the country’s most desired locations.”

Flagship properties earmarked for refurbishment

Eight of the Group’s flagship properties have been earmarked for refurbishment that ranges from extensive renovations to the updating of furnishings and fixtures to meet the latest modern design trends.

La Montagne in Ballito boasts an R8 million makeover with an additional R62 million budgeted for further investment over the next four years, giving this popular vacation destination on the KZN north coast a total R70 million upgrade by the year 2020. The recently re-launched Selborne Hotel on the KZN South Coast has also been restored to its former glory after a whopping R28 million luxury refurbishment.

Looking inland, Magalies Park at the Hartbeespoort Dam has received a R1.2 million renovation with another R28 million still to be rolled out over the next two years, which will make this total investment of R40 million, the second biggest in the Group’s portfolio after the La Montagne.

In the Cape, the Riviera Suites showcases a R9 million transformation and will see a total upgrade of R12.2 million by 2018.

The other four flagship properties are Midlands Saddle & Trout with a total investment of R16,7 million, The Palace in Durban with a total investment of R5 million, Bushmen’s Nek in the Underberg with a total investment of R4,6 million and Mount Sierra in Cape Town with a total investment of R6,2 million.

On the international portfolio, Brockwood Hall in Scotland received a £1 million refurbishment.

A bouquet of properties, an extensive range of services

The Group’s property bouquet of over 60 resorts internationally includes hotels, golf villas, resorts, apartments, chalets and all suite properties together presents an extensive range of services. These range from premium leisure and business accommodation, the finest wedding venues, state-of-the-art conferencing facilities, the finest dining experiences, and signature entertainment through to central reservations, property design and management, housekeeping services and holiday rentals among others.

Furthermore, the advantageous global footprint of the First Group brings an exciting interface between global and local leisure industry trends to our doorstep.

This significant investment and commitment to providing sought-after destinations have all the ingredients to being the major draw card that positions the First Group as a first choice destination.