City Lodge Hotel Group’s flagship 168-room Courtyard Hotel Waterfall City in Midrand opened its doors on the 1st of March, boasting a striking look and feel.  The Group conducted extensive research locally and overseas during the design process, and brought on board Louise Nogueira Dracopoulos, owner of Oniro Studios, to bring to life the interior design dream. Here, Louise chats about the communal spaces that she’s created in the hotel, as well as the overall design.

“Entrusted to realise a new vision for their four-star brand, the Courtyard Hotel, City Lodge Hotel Group highlighted the importance of representing a South African context and flair throughout the concept,” says Louise. “In addition, the rise of personal experience within hotels has been an ever-growing key theme within the hospitality industry, and achieving this personal experience directed my story for creating a concept for this property.”

“Design is all about evoking emotion in us, so each space throughout the building was designed with careful consideration to ensure that it captured the essence of South African contextual elements merged together with a subtle Art Deco feel. The goal for the interiors was not only to create a space that celebrates a richness of layers, details, and textures but it had to be functional and it had to transition from a light-filled cosmopolitan character, ideal for day time meetings, into a night time venue where lighting settings would shift the spaces into a moodier atmosphere,” says Louise.

“Not only was it important that the aesthetics play a role in this 168-bedroom hotel but there is a synergy required where technology, sustainability, and design meet to create an unforgettable guest experience, an authentic ‘home-away-from-home experience,” she adds.

Local artists are featured throughout the property, including the three custom artworks behind the reception. “These depict the building’s coordinates, name, and physical address as abstracts, again highlighting the importance of contextual design,” says Louise. “The local art theme continues through to the co-working space that has a rich ochre colour palette complimented with African patterns and details.”

She adds, “Just off the reception space flows into the pre-function and conferencing area. This is an extension of the reception that has striking petrol blue and gold accents. Arches designed in this area have created niches, which fills a functional requirement for food and beverages for the conference rooms but also fills an aesthetic value with carefully selected decor that re-affirms the South African flair.”

The events area offers three separate rooms or one large space – Skyrocket, Sugarbush, and Mountain-Rose cater for 40 people each when partitioned off, and 120 people when opened up into one space. These are pre-Covid-19 numbers, which are now reduced to 20 people in each space, and 60 people when combined. The elegant Pincushion Boardroom accommodates three people currently as Covid-19 compliant but is built to host six people.

Restaurants include The Protea on the ground floor that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner off of a sophisticated, contemporary menu, and The Highline on the ninth floor that specialises in gourmet light meals for lunch and dinner. The Highline is also the perfect place to watch the sunset with your favourite beverage from a wide selection on offer. The Club Lounge, also on the ground floor, offering guests an intimate space for relaxing, special events, or private dining. Executive chef Keegan Maistry heads up the kitchen and has developed menus designed to delight the guests’ palate, as the Group steps up its culinary offering beyond breakfast.

Louise explains the décor: “The Protea restaurant reflects our heritage with a magnificent chipped plaster wall feature of our national flower, the king protea, by artist Carl Maritz from Space Alchemy. The protea theme continues with handprinted proteas on the ceiling that cascade down onto a wall on the raised level overlooking the pool area. Teals and low sheen brass play off other textures such as terrazzo and concrete tiles to create drama in every corner of the restaurant. This is a highly styled and detailed area that is infused with greenery and ambient lighting.”

She continues, “The Club Lounge’s entrance is framed with beautiful black aluminium arches with fluted glass and comprises two partially divided areas, one with armchairs and coffee tables that allow easy access for charging should you require, and the other has more of a dining room setting. The space is a valley of greens with some zebra-patterned touches on the upholstery and custom brass metal kudu head sculptures fixed above the banqueting seating which represent our beautiful wildlife. Hanging plants and Art Deco-inspired cabinetry mixed with décor, old-world books add to the mood of the space.”

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Jonathan WakefieldKhotso Mosia