Friday, August 9, 2013

South Africa Saga: The Hilton Sandton

Every so often travel plans go as well as expected. This morning was one of those days.

We walked around the airport trying to look as if we knew where we were going and found a row of ATMs (turn left as you come out of international arrivals). One accepted our HSBC card and disgorged a bunch of Rands. Across from there was a little counter manned by police officers. We politely asked them where the Vodacom store was and learned it was past international arrivals in the opposite direction.

We arrived there without a hitch and bought a pre-paid data card. We'll have to try it out later to see if it really works - it certainly was cheap.

From there we took the escalators upstairs to the Gautrain station. We had to buy reloadable cards (about $1.25 each) and we then paid about $50, which is enough for our ride to Sandton and a ride back. That sounds expensive but a taxi would be a lot more expensive. We happened to hop on a train two minutes before it left. The Sandton line only includes about three stops and Sandton is the end of the line. It was probably a 20-minute trip.

We called the Hilton from our wireless phone and they immediately sent a van to pick us up at the station.

We're already checked in and relaxing in our room. Kathy found a rate that includes a tour (we're taking a tour of Soweto tomorrow afternoon) and dinner in the hotel restaurant tonight.

We both still feel a nap coming on, even with that easy jaunt from the airport to the hotel.


Gregory said...

I was quite impressed with the Hilton Sandton -- great location, excellent staff, a nice suite upgrade, and a well-stocked (if a bit small) Executive Lounge. Enjoy your stay there -- and the rest of your trip.

Kathy and Brian said...

Thanks! No suite for us but a pleasant enough room on Executive Floor Six halfway down the corridor from the Lounge. A comfortable enough bed that we've just awakened from a sound afternoon nap.