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Unimaginably trendy and upwardly mobile

Not ever did I imagine I'd use the words Pretoria and Hipster in the same sentence and yet the Summit Precinct, next door to Menlyn Mall, the largest in Africa with the recent addition of 500 new stores, is just such a place. Since the opening of Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! by Marriott Pretoria Menlyn, the area has been abuzz with the sophisticated and trendy and, frankly put, the kind of monied folk that we'd previously associated with Sandton and Melrose Arch. Not surprising, I suppose, being in the centre of the Diplomatic region with more embassies than any capital except for Washington DC. Well, that's according to the hotel's website, but it seems likely true, to me.

Outdoor lounges with domestic fireplaces

What I can confirm is that the stylish have made this hotel their home from home. The outdoor living rooms - think rug, lounge suite, coffee table complete with fireplace - are all to take the advantage of Pretoria’s milder climate. The rim-flow pool is part moat and architectural detail as it winds around the building, but also an excellent Olympic length lap pool. The sun deck has romantic curtained loungers for two, but the noise from the adjacent building site, another hotel to be, I understand, is a drawback.

Unimaginably trendy and upwardly mobile

Street art and witty interiors

Interiors are witty with street-art decorating the walls and lift shaft and a collection of hanging lights above the long table that reminds me of the Highveld's fluffy clouds before a rain storm.

Although you can walk to Menlyn there is no need as the hotel operates a free shuttle. Hard to believe that there is even more to attract than the 500 new stores, but there is a nearby wining and dining destination with restaurants and eateries.

The Protea Fire & Ice! Hotel by Marriott bar area has a milkshake menu such as I have never seen before including an adult selection with hardtack.

Unimaginably trendy and upwardly mobile

Our guest room was very comfortable with hanging space above an open area to store your luggage and hang up clothing. The basin is open to the room, but the large glassed-in shower cubicle can be shielded by a curtain for more privacy. The WC is separate. We were placed in a room very near the lift doors which, while convenient, did mean a lot of people’s traffic noise and the ting of the lift bell. Take along noise protection if you are a light sleeper and ask for a room at the end of a corridor. It is wonderful that the windows are double glazed and sound proofed although the room doors are not. We loved having a digital safe large enough for laptops, an iron and plenty plugs as well as somewhere comfortable to work. Also the 81cm LCD screens had slots for us to use our own media if we wanted to. High-speed wifi is free and standard.

Fully-equipped gym

The Technogym-equipped space has all you need for strength training along with treadmills, cross trainer and bikes for cardio and a fabulous picture wall of Pretoria’s famous Jacarandas in bloom. And there are pilates balls and yoga mats if you’d prefer that.

Although this property is considerably more affordable than five star offerings, we found it supremely comfortable and the breakfast offering lavish and delicious.

Unimaginably trendy and upwardly mobile

For all these reasons this hotel is a popular choice for meetings and the first floor has a number of eventing rooms all equipped with the latest tech.

Most notable is excellent espresso-based coffee at less than you’d pay at a supermarket coffee shop, phone charging plug points in the public areas and a switched-on staff complement that will make it hard for you to leave.

For more info on Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! to to make a booking go to marriott.com




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