Balalaika Hotel is an oasis!

Ok, what does the word balalaika mean? Firstly, according to ancient history which the hotel pride itself, simply refers to Russian which is a guitar instrument and secondly, named after a 1939 movie by the name of Balalaika–a love story set in a small café in Paris. Aha!

Founded in 1949 which then was a country hotel.

Fast-forward to transformation and technology age, the hotel has since then gone over a series of facelifting in 90s.

Proudly reminiscing on its past, the Marketing Manager Karin Pieters, bares-it all as if she has been with the establishment since its inception.

“This is our ‘countryside’ and our guests have passion and enjoy the luxury we offer,” she declares to yours truly.

Since tranquility is the core name, the hotel boasts 330 rooms featuring air-conditioned and tastefully furnished in a classic, comfortable style with its own en suite bathroom featuring a separate shower, 32 inch televisions, amongst others.

Its’ no wonder it is classified as “A little of bit of a country in the heart of Sandton”. Stru!

As a guest for the evening, yours truly was overwhelmed by the warm reception from the staff and of course, the ambience.

As part of its upgrading the hotel recently spent more than R12m, as part of its two-part refurbishment to modernize the hotel and enhance guest experience.

The foyer and reception areas have been given a contemporary, clean and fresh look while still maintaining their authentic English country charm.

Lord’s has been revamped with quirky alcohol decanter light fittings and old English animal orientated drapery adding to the joie de vivre.

“We have modernised the look and feel without losing the timeless elegance of Balalaika which continues to live up to its reputation of providing guests with some country hospitality in the heart of Africa’s financial capital, Sandton city,” says general manager Jörg Zwinscher.

One thing one cannot overlook is two-separate pools either in the morning or evening. They’re breathtaking and yours truly had the luxury to indulge in one of them after an hour-workout albeit the gym it’s a bit cramped.

And the Continental breakfast was par excellence thanks to one of the longest serving members of the hotel and energetic Dean Bhayroo, who has clogged 22 hard years’ sharing his experience with guests.

From huge conferencing center to banqueting from wedding to corporate hosting, this oasis has it all.

“We used to host six airlines that used our hotel for accommodation but unfortunately, things changed due to expansion programme by the new owners next to our hotel which did not materialize.

That affected our business dearly but we’re on course to break-even,” confirms Pieters unapologetically, who also pointed out that currently they’re 70% frequented by both local and international corporate and leisure guests.

“Nobody comes here for holiday. It’s work and meetings.”  

 Oh, when you make your booking enquire about the butcher inside the hotel. There you have variations of all kinds of fresh and delectable meat to choose from or pop in the bar for your favourite cigar, caviars and selections of wines on offer!   

That’s what we call the countryside in the city!

For more info go to:www.balalaika.co.za 


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