When the Victoria Junction Hotel was built in 1996 it was part of one of the first New York-style loft redevelopments of industrial warehousing. The interiors were quirkily geared towards the movie industry, albeit a little verging on the theme-park. On a return visit, after many years, I was disappointed that none of the quirkiness remained following the 2011 refurbishment. In short, what was once an interesting, individual hotel now seems bland.
We were in Room 514, one of the double-storey loft apartments that faces the Waterfront. I liked the four-seater table in the kitchen space of the room that also works well as a work space if you'd rather not work at the desk on the upper deck, which looks onto a wall. I'm a sucker for Nespresso machines, which they have, but I really liked the fact that they also had a coffee plunger and ground coffee in the room. A very nice touch.
Downstairs there's comfy seating and a big-screen TV as well as a separate loo but we spent most of the time upstairs. The king-size bed was amazing - I'm guessing that mattresses were replaced during the refurbishment as it was one of the best beds I've slept in in ages.
Who would want to nick a hanger?
There's a good sized wardrobe with a lap-top digital safe but I detest those no-steal hangers. If I were going to steal something from the room I'd take the Nespresso machine or the TV!
There is a huge shower in a space that looks like it once contained the bath and a translucent window that provides additional light. I wondered if that window into the double-volume area opened in the room's first incarnation.
Welcome to our lofty abode.
Downsides include no slippers or robes and this is one property where you must bring your own as the industrial metal stairs are freezing. The rooms are not thoroughly sound proofed so if you're a light sleeper you should bring earplugs. We heard our neighbour arrive late in the night and were disturbed by his walking on the stairs as well as closing the door.
There's a lap pool and a sun deck about 50m away from the hotel but also an up-to-date techno gym in the basement near the parking.
The staff are excellent - as is the breakfast
The excellent staff made up for the soul-less public areas and the seating in the restaurant was very comfortable. Breakfast was also top drawer - especially good to be offered cappuccino at breakfast.
The beds are brilliant.
Although it is an easy walk from the Victoria Junction to town or to the V&A Waterfront, there is a free shuttle. There are also brilliant restaurants within the block, not least of which are Table 13 and Beluga right next door or Pigalle opposite. There are some good, affordable dining options in-house at Connexxion Restaurant too, with wines by the 175ml glass a reasonable R30 for Iona's Sophie Terblanche and cocktails at R50 or under. There is also a good selection of organic and sulphur-free wines. I especially like that the menu features family-style dining options for four. The jaffle combo platter with potato wedges gets a thumbs up from me for its old-school flavours and realistic price at R160. I also like that there are good local dish options like boontjie bredies (bean stew) and Malay lamb curry.
The refurbishment included a number of tech and green advantages: there is good Wi-Fi reception throughout the hotel sold through a third party and energy-saving includes green lighting but also a recycling programme that includes drinking water in the rooms and the management of 3.5 tons of waste a month. A Toyota Prius hybrid vehicle is planned for guest transportation.
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