Protea & African Pride hotels

Reply

Old Jul 27, 14, 3:49 am
  #1  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Programs: OWEmerald; STARGold; SPGPlat; PCPlat/Amb; HiltonDiamond; CarlsonGold; A|ClubPat; AirMilesGold
Posts: 38,022
Protea & African Pride hotels

Pardon this interloper's starting a new thread, but given the recent formal announcement and what little my searches have turned up anywhere on FT about this group of hotels, I believe it would be useful to start up a place where we can post experiences of these two new members of the Marriott family. (I have Marriott Gold through the UA status tie-in though it's not one of my major chains given a lack of properties where I've been travelling.) I've stayed at these hotels on occasion in the past when in South Africa and been impressed by the good quality of the properties at all market levels. It is a good tie-in now to have since the major world chains have a limited presence in Southern Africa.

As I have several stays coming up next month at Proteas, I'll post some notes on the experience and invite anyone else to contribute, particularly if they've had recent stays.
Shareholder is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 27, 14, 4:10 am
  #2  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Programs: OWEmerald; STARGold; SPGPlat; PCPlat/Amb; HiltonDiamond; CarlsonGold; A|ClubPat; AirMilesGold
Posts: 38,022
The Prokard program

Until the group becomes fully integrated into Marriott and becomes a Rewards participant, it is worth checking out Protea's own frequent stay program, known as Prokard. It's a hybrid of benefits (enhanced if paid for) and awards (points that can be credited to stay folios and you can double dip and also earn BA Avios miles).

As noted above, I have a 2-week visit to South Africa coming up in August so thought it might be worthwhile investing in the Prokard program, purchasing the Gold elite tier for ZAR1400 (just raised to ZAR1500) or about U$135. There is also a Silver tier with less benefits for ZAR400, perhaps now ZAR500, and a free start up tier (which defers benefits until the second stay).

The primary benefits are: 1. a 5%-10% discount over the best rates (including flexible ones) and 2. an accumulating credit of 10% of folios that can be credited to future stays. The usual items like free internet, room upgrades and a few minor other things, plus earning BA Avios miles at IIRC 1 Avios for every ZAR!0 spent (though must be applied for at check-in for each stay, not automatically linked to your Prokard account).

I opted for the Gold tier because it also offered some very attractive benefits if one is staying at several Protea or African Pride Hotels over an extended period of time. The key ones are: 1 free night at a Protea hotel; 2 Protea BOGOs; 2 African Pride BOGOs. This more than paid for itself as I've been able to save over U$500 in free nights, plus another U$150 using the 10% off lowest rates benefit. I'll also accumulate another U$150 or more in credits over the course of my stays that I can use against my final night at one of these properties, or save for a future trip by August 2015. And then there will be a few hundred Avios miles. Note that there are peak season nights when these vouchers can't be used, particularly if the hotel is almost sold out.

So all in all, appears to be a worthwhile "investment". I will report on the actual outcome after Labour Day when I get back.

Note that you can enrol online on the main Protea web site though some of the information fields may not work (postal/zip code, state/province/canton) properly. This will not stop your application going through, but you should then follow up using the email link with their customer service to fix these minor elements. They say it may take several weeks to get the membership kit to you, so it can be delivered to your first Protea/African Pride property for collection when you check in. You will get an email confirmation with your account number on it, and thus can set up the online account needed for bookings, etc.

Once that's done, you will have access to your free night and BOGOs, though I must warn that the Protea booking site has to be one of the worst I've experienced and most frustrating if you are unfamiliar with the properties in any given city you wish to stay at. And if you want to use your membership status for booking benefits or the BOGOs, you must log out and sign back in because you cannot book more than one hotel at a time under your account default. And for the moment you cannot book these benefits using the Marriott site, nor add your Prokard number on a Marriott site booking (other than in the comments box).

Last edited by Shareholder; Jul 27, 14 at 4:20 am
Shareholder is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 27, 14, 4:48 am
  #3  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Auckland NZ
Programs: SQ TPPS, EK Gold, IHG RA, Marriott Gold Hyatt Diamond, HHonors Gold, UA Premier Gold, TG Silver
Posts: 1,092
I just completed a stay at the Crystal Towers in Century City (Cape Town). Pretty good hotel, although the rooms are big too funky for me with purple lighting and the shower in a tube in the middle of the room. It's connected to a reasonable shopping mall. The hotel restaurant menu didn't look too enticing but there's a good steakhouse attached to the hotel also. Room service was quite tasty. It's about 20mins into central CT unless it's rush hour. Overall quite pleasant. No MR benefits obviously but the signage indicates the partnership.
Wan1dap is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 27, 14, 12:22 pm
  #4  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Programs: UALifetimePremierGold, Marriott LifetimeTitanium
Posts: 66,162
Thanks Shareholder for the info on the Prokard program; good to know for stays there before MR kicks in. And Wan1dap for the update on the Crystal Towers update.

Cheers.
SkiAdcock is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 28, 14, 9:41 am
  #5  
Marriott Contributor BadgeAccor Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Programs: AAdvantage, United MP, Marriott Rewards
Posts: 966
Originally Posted by Wan1dap View Post
I just completed a stay at the Crystal Towers in Century City (Cape Town). Pretty good hotel, although the rooms are big too funky for me with purple lighting and the shower in a tube in the middle of the room. It's connected to a reasonable shopping mall. The hotel restaurant menu didn't look too enticing but there's a good steakhouse attached to the hotel also. Room service was quite tasty. It's about 20mins into central CT unless it's rush hour. Overall quite pleasant. No MR benefits obviously but the signage indicates the partnership.
Did you book the hotel yourself? How did you manage to do this?
I tried to book some of the African Pride hotels myself earlier but didn't manage to do so neither through Marriott's website nor through their own website...

See also my thread I created about this: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/marri...e-reserve.html
kcaluwae is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Jul 28, 14, 9:45 pm
  #6  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Auckland NZ
Programs: SQ TPPS, EK Gold, IHG RA, Marriott Gold Hyatt Diamond, HHonors Gold, UA Premier Gold, TG Silver
Posts: 1,092
Originally Posted by kcaluwae View Post
Did you book the hotel yourself? How did you manage to do this?
I tried to book some of the African Pride hotels myself earlier but didn't manage to do so neither through Marriott's website nor through their own website...

See also my thread I created about this: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/marri...e-reserve.html
It was booked by our company TA.
Wan1dap is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sep 21, 14, 3:40 pm
  #7  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Programs: OWEmerald; STARGold; SPGPlat; PCPlat/Amb; HiltonDiamond; CarlsonGold; A|ClubPat; AirMilesGold
Posts: 38,022
Rather busy since returning from South Africa but will share some impressions of my Protea experience as it relates to the Prokard program. While the program is a very good one for saving money and getting some perks, it is rather inconsistent and getting one's membership card/kit to NAmerica is a pain given the overall incompetence of the administrators (despite all being cheerful and helpful).

I was supposed to pick up my membership materials at the first Protea of my visit in Stellenbosch. Email correspondence had established it (and colleague's) would be couriered to that property by the time I checked in a month after registering. It was claimed mailing would take too long. However, when we checked in at the very nice Dorphuis Spa, neither kit was there. However, the benefits and points did get credited for the stay. (I also gave the receptionist my BA ExecClub account number to receive my Avios miles in a double dip recently introduced. I did this at all three properties, but thus far -- a month later -- no sign of the Avios miles!) We all received two story chalet-style rooms, quite nice accommodation. Used a BOGO here.

Our next stay was at the Protea Sea Point, along the Atlantic coast of Cape Town in a very pleasant and safe residential neighbourhood. Also used a BOGO here for one of our five nights. No apparent upgrade for me but the rooms were functional and modern. However, my colleague received a suite. The weird thing at this property is that they give you a large bottle of mineral water, but even if not touched or finished on the first night, it is removed and not replaced for the balance of the stay! The GoldProkard gives a 15% discount on meals, but one must present it at each meal to be deducted as one's status is not recorded in the billing system.

The SeaPoint is also adjacent to the corporate HQ, so I had an opportunity to check on why our kits were not waiting for us as promised (in Stellenbosch was told these would be waiting at the SeaPoint property, which they weren't). I finally met a woman who was handling aspects of the Prokard program and she told me the cards were being printed and should be ready by the end of the week...when we were expecting to depart. In the meantime she gave me a cardboard version for each of us. (Why they only sent the card our for embossing after 6 weeks of registering...?).

As might be expected, the cards were not ready when we departed, so I asked that they be couriered to our next Protea hotel the following weekend in Pietermaritzburg. When we arrived there, however, my kit was there, but not my colleague's! The Imperial is a classic colonial style property in the heart of the city and has great potential though is not in that bad shape. Again, my colleague received a suite upgrade, I got a tiny room which was adequate for our purposes. This property takes full payment at check-in for the rooms and not a hold as is the experience at every other hotel I've ever stayed at. For this reason, and the incompetence of the check-in clerks, I was not able to use 1000 Prokard points accumulated from the previous stays against this stay (or about U$100, slightly more than the cost of one of our two nights). After a correspondence with the hotel, they agreed to credit my Amex card with 1,000SAR which has appeared in my Amex account, but the Prokard points remain in my account. I plan to return in February to use them, the balance of my nights and other benefits.

So the program does deliver, but not easily. Still the U$150 investment did yield over U$500 in room nights on this trip, and I still have three BOGOs (one at the regular Proteas and two at the more expensive African Pride hotels), 1200 Prokard points (U$120) and one free night. Not sure if the program will survive the arrival of the Marriott Rewards next year but if you are planning a trip down there in the coming months, it can be worth joining...even if you don't get your membership kit (just bring along a print out of the sign-up confirmation email).

---------

Update: Returned yesterday from a 2-week trip and found the "original" Prokard kit in my pile of mail. So that's about three months! As an aside, for some reason that card shows an expiry or July 2015 but the card I finally received in South Africa (and my online account page) shows a September 2015 expiry.

Last edited by Shareholder; Sep 27, 14 at 2:34 am
Shareholder is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sep 22, 14, 9:05 am
  #8  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Programs: UALifetimePremierGold, Marriott LifetimeTitanium
Posts: 66,162
Thanks for the detailed update! Much appreciated.

Cheers.
SkiAdcock is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sep 28, 14, 12:26 am
  #9  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Danville, CA, USA;
Programs: UA Plat & 1MM, Marriott LT Gold, HHonors Gold, Hyatt Explorist & IHG Plat Amb
Posts: 11,850
I have stayed at two Protea properties in Lagos, Nigeria and would highly recommend them. The properties are well secured, rooms are better than most of the alternatives, and the food is generally good. Pleased to see that we will eventually get MR points.
Boraxo is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Feb 26, 15, 7:11 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 597
I just finished a 10 day trip to South Africa and I got good values out of my Prokard Gold membership which costs 1500R. I was able to use two buy one get one free at the Protea Mowbray hotel and redeem a free night at Protea Mossel Bay. I was even upgraded to a suite at Protea Mossel Bay.

Breakfast and dinner are 50% off with a party of two at the Protea Oudtshroom and Protea Mossel Bay. Some hotels simply deduct 50% off the bill with food and drink. The official benefit is 50% on food only.

You can redeem free night or BOGO night when there are still rooms at the Best Available Rate.

On a rough estimate I saved about 5000R on my six nights stay at various Protea hotels.
khkchan is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Feb 26, 15, 9:54 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Programs: UA 1K & 1MM/AA Gold & 1MM/HH Diamond/Marriott Plat
Posts: 2,568
This is great news as I have a visit to Durban scheduled in September for a conference.
TWA Guy is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 8, 15, 10:11 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: PHL
Programs: AA EXP, Marriott Lifetime Plat, SPG Plat, AMEX Plat, Hertz PC, Travels too Much Platinum
Posts: 3,281
Just wanted to briefly add a recent experience to this thread. I stayed for several nights over the last week in the African Pride Melrose Arch Protea hotel in Johannesburg (http://www.marriott.com/hotels/trave...-melrose-arch/). The hotel got pretty good reviews online while doing research as I don't get down to South Africa much and I wasn't very familiar with the options. Overall impressions:
  • The hotel is in a modern commercial/retail development (Melrose Arch) that has a few very good restaurant options within a ~50 meter walk of the hotel and seems quite safe.
  • The hotel itself is attractively decorated and I guess I'd compare it to an SPG W Hotel-type property or perhaps some of the more eclectic Renaissances, with an African flair to the design. The room was modern and very nicely appointed. Have to say I found it very attractive.
  • No exercise facility, but very modern pool and it also has a pool bar where the tables are actually in shallow water.
  • Upon checkin, the staff were clearly still learning the Marriott way of doing things, and the employee that checked in myself and a colleague said we were the first Platinums she'd checked in, but knew to offer the arrival gift.
  • The Internet was a bit shaky and limited to 500 MB/day. You could buy additional 500 MB amounts for ZAR150 (~US$12). This is my chief complaint (remember, however, that Internet in South Africa tends to be slower and more expensive than most in North America, East Asia, and Europe are used to).
  • Breakfast was pretty good in the lobby restaurant. Didn't try room service as there were plenty of other good options so close. Lobby bar had a nice atmosphere, decorated in a library theme.
  • Overall, staff service was pretty good.

I would definitely stay there again.

Last edited by phlwookie; Mar 8, 15 at 10:17 pm
phlwookie is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 9, 15, 8:42 am
  #13  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Programs: UALifetimePremierGold, Marriott LifetimeTitanium
Posts: 66,162
Thanks for the trip report! Much appreciated!

Cheers.
SkiAdcock is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 18, 15, 2:34 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: STR and the rest of EMEA
Programs: LH HON, Marriott Platinum, ...
Posts: 731
I've just completed a stay at the Balalaika Protea Hotel in Sandton. I used to stay at the Hilton, but I like the Balalaika more. It's very close to the main attractions and business in Sandton. From the outside, you think it's a small building, but once you get inside, there is a larger park area with several pools, very quiet, lots of green. Feels like a resort in the middle of the city, you can't hear any street noise.

With my platinum status I received a complimentary upgrade to a suite, which was nice. I also received 250 extra points as a platinum gift (there was a choice of food and beverages as well), like at the Courtyard. The furniture is a bit older, but well maintained. They have free Internet everywhere and free breakfast. And the Bull Run restaurant is quite good, too.
alfahund is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 18, 15, 8:36 am
  #15  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Programs: UALifetimePremierGold, Marriott LifetimeTitanium
Posts: 66,162
Thanks for the trip report. Much appreciated!

Cheers.
SkiAdcock is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread