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Extreme makeover

David Muirhead waved his magic wand over the old Grace Hotel and the Grand Dame emerged as a sexy, young starlet called 54 on Bath

In October 2011 Tsogo Sun bought The Grace Hotel and office buildings in Rosebank. The first step in the makeover was determining a new vision and character for the hotel. After much research, the concept of a deluxe boutique property providing a unique guest experience with a personalised approach and intense attention to detail was devised.
Along with the renovations and vision came the need to change the name to reflect this new and distinctive experience. The name had to embody the modern, urban chic personality of the hotel. 54 on Bath was the obvious choice as it captures the iconic history of the property as well as the sophisticated and hip surroundings that boast some of the best art galleries, shops and restaurants in Joburg, not to mention the art house cinema next door. Leisure and business guests also have easy access to designer shops, boutiques and entertainment facilities at the Rosebank Mall through the hotel’s link from the second floor.

Rosebank is an excellent location for travellers from anywhere in the world. The area is an exciting business and leisure node that appeals to the local residents and international travellers alike. The Gautrain has boosted development and changes in the immediate precinct are underway with major construction and refurbishments taking place on every corner.

With its 60 deluxe rooms, 12 luxury suites, and three penthouse suites, 54 on Bath has been designed with the discerning traveler in mind, someone who seeks refinement as well as comfort and a personal touch, someone who can appreciate a piece of designer tranquility in the heart of one of Joburg’s hottest surburbs.

The man for the job of creating the interiors was well-known South African designer David Muirhead. David has gained renown for creating luxurious spaces that people just love to live in. His style epitomises high glamour combined with warmth, functionality and sheer comfort. With a penchant for richly layered, inviting interiors, the designs combine contemporary shapes with sumptuous fabrics, hand-picked pieces and striking artworks – many of which are highly collectable South African originals.

As David puts it, “Our bespoke interiors reflect the way in which our clients choose to live and our philosophy is to deliver beautiful spaces designed with integrity and respect to the environment.”

David’s passion for boutique properties and high end residential interior architectural design made him the perfect choice for this venture. With the brief to create a boutique hotel that appeals to the specific market of business and leisure traveller, he worked with the classic foundation and lines of the property and evolved the interiors in a way that was respectful to the architecture.

The hotel was given an interior that is urban chic yet classic, and is all about a revival, not only of the hotel, but of the suburb of Rosebank that has emerged as one of the most popular destinations in the province.

Art is a strong feature in 54 on Bath, with many of the photographic pieces having been especially commissioned. These offer a visual journey that celebrates Johannesburg. The original brass chandeliers in the lobby lounge create a modern combination of the old and new against a backdrop of classic wall coverings.

You are impressed from the moment of arrival into the elegant lobby with its gentle colour palette of aqua and taupe, grand piano and fabulous art (don’t overlook an interesting Kentridge in the corner) to the rooms that carry the David Muirhead stamp of layered luxury, neutral but lively palettes and amazing, original art.

David is also well known for his use of mirrored surfaces and natural materials that create rich texture in his rooms. But, as in his own house, comfort trumps everything. All his spaces have been designed around comfort, but the style is unmistakable; harmonious colours, sophisticated design and strong graphic motifs. There is also an edgy content of bespoke fabrics and contemporary accents that give the interiors their wow appeal, helped by his signature layers that put strikingly framed artworks on panels, on mirrors, on wallpaper, on walls, creating a deep discussion that is both interesting and pleasing.

Adding to this is the living artwork that is the view over the famous trees. Ask any Joburger and they’ll tell you that they’re very proud of the fact that Joburg has one of the biggest man-made forests in the world, and 54 on Bath has the view to prove it. The garden terrace and bedrooms all look out over the garden or treed skyline that bursts into a cloud of purple when the jacarandas are in bloom from November.

But, when you just want to get away from it all, just close the block out curtains, and settle down in fluffy duvets and crisp white linens on the feather top beds. Each guest room has everything you need from technological connectivity to gorgeous bathrooms.

The old dining room is now Level Four restaurant on the fourth floor; a sophisticated ensemble of red Jacobean paisley walls, offset by white table clothes and black and white checked chairs. Simple but striking black and white woodcut prints are showcased in ornate gold frames with wooden architectural details picked out in dove grey.

The restaurant offers healthy breakfasts, casual, light lunches or gourmet a la carte dinners with choices from classical cuisine with contemporary influences. It is an uncomplicated yet elegant space that opens up onto the perennially popular fourth floor roof terrace and garden. One of Joburg’s best kept secrets…

Reference Joburg style – see link below:

Joburg Style

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