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With nearly fifty years of experience in the hotel industry, Managing Director of the Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa, George Cohen has an intimate appreciation of the hospitality business working extensively both in Europe and Africa. His personal attributes, passion and commitment to the excellence of the hotel industry is unique. He has become a distinguished figure within the industry and as a hotelier, he symbolises the motto of ‘pay it forward’.

How are you preparing for re-opening?
From the moment we closed we started preparing for our re-opening, never realising how long the period of our closure would be. The most important aspect for me has been to ensure that our offering would be rejuvenated and our service better than ever once we re-open. For us at the Saxon, it is important that we are not complacent – we want to be the industry leaders and trend setters in the South African hospitality industry.

What has been your focus over the last year?
Over the last year we have been focused on rejuvenating the hotel facilities, to ensure that our offering remains world class. In all our efforts we aim to create a safe and welcoming environment for travelers – creating an atmosphere for them to feel comfortable and safe in the knowledge that we have followed all the steps to ensure that their well-being is looked after, whilst always providing the world class Saxon service.
For me personally, the most important focus over the course of the last year was to ensure that our staff was looked after and safe during the times of COVID and ready to return back to work when the time came.

What are you most looking forward to after the hotel’s re-opening?
I am very much looking forward to having guests in the hotel again – being able to walk through the hotel and experiencing the sights and sounds of guests all around. I am also particularly looking forward to welcoming back our regular guests and enjoying their company. Notwithstanding the fantastic team with whom I have been in lockdown at the hotel since last year March, it has been lonely without our valued guests.

Anything more you would like to add?
The last 13 months of being closed has given me the rare opportunity to reflect on our past and to strategize and plan on how to take the Saxon and our team to an even higher level of hospitality. We have updated the technology that we use in the hotel, we have further improved our levels of service as well as adding new experiences – both culinary and in our spa, that are even greater than before. We are excited to welcome travellers back to the wonderful destination of Johannesburg to experience our South African hospitality.