As the first hotel to be Green Star certified in the Attacq portfolio, the Courtyard Hotel Waterfall City sets a new sustainable benchmark for the company’s future leisure developments.

Words Melissa Baird

meets Sustainability
Project date
Certified February 2021
Green Star rating
4-Star Green Star Custom Hotel Design
Project location
Waterfall City, Johannesburg
Type of building
Hotel, restaurants & conference facilities

City Lodge Hotel Group’s new offering, the Courtyard Hotel in Waterfall City, is the result of extensive local and international research into creating a space that has longevity, is highly resource efficient, and has a uniquely South African design flare.

Part of the Attacq portfolio – the JSE listed property development company – the Courtyard Hotel is invaluable to Waterfall City as it enhances its lifestyle offering and solidifies the precinct’s compelling value proposition of being a live, work, play hub.

The precinct has always prioritised sustainability and is testament to Attacq’s commitment to best-in-class green design that has attracted top calibre companies to the area. Attacq’s vision for creating safe and sustainable spaces in which people and communities can connect and thrive, is brought to life – the hotel espouses the belief that buildings should not be considered in isolation from their environments and communities, but rather complement and accentuate their surroundings.

GBCSA custom Green Star rating tool

This rating tool is developed for the building types that don’t fit into the existing tools. Customised versions of the tool for New Buildings are:
• Light industrial with office components
• Hotel
• Mixed Use

Customised versions of the tool for Existing Building Performance are:
• Major retail tenants
• Owner-occupied light industrial with office component

Its central placement (being close to the Sandton and Midrand CBDs, Gautrain Midrand Station, major highways, Gallagher Convention Centre, Kyalami International Convention Centre, and Netcare Waterfall City Hospital) offers convenient public transport options. In addition, the hotel guests will appreciate the convenience of its access to the sustainability award-winning Mall of Africa and its array of entertainment and lifestyle offerings.

With this pedigree, it goes without saying that the hotel has been designed with sustainability at its core, impacting the efficiency of water, waste and energy. Green is a predominant colour in the design palette, and it offers breathtaking aesthetics that soothe and welcome every guest. Designed to impress, this is the 63rd hotel in the City Lodge Hotel Group, 56th in South Africa and sixth in the Courtyard Hotel brand, bringing the total number of rooms in the group to 8 070.

Annelide Sherratt of Solid Green, sustainability consultant and Green Star AP on the project, notes that the safe, well-lit pedestrian walkway and a cyclist sidewalk encourages building users to use non-motorised transport. Six parking bays for fuel-efficient and hybrid vehicles, and six dedicated motorbike parking spaces have also been provided in the building’s basement.

When it came to the design, Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) was a priority. This led to designs that optimise daylight and minimise potential health issues by specifying interior materials that have a low VOC content, and all selected gaseous and fire suppression systems and thermal insulants used for the development have an Ozone Depleting Potential (ODP) of zero.

Bedrooms and suites have been designed with soothing shades of green that sit alongside contemporary furniture pieces.

The Courtyard Hotel has 164 rooms and four suites and is founded on principles that consider the impact on the environment as well as the people inhabiting the space. The 4-Star Green Star Custom Design rating was awarded in February 2021, and it verifies the environmental best practice endeavours that were implemented during the design, construction, and procurement phase both through direct and indirect initiatives.

Louise Nogueira Dracopoulos, owner of Oniro Studios, led the team entrusted to realise a new vision for the Courtyard Hotel Waterfall City’s ground floor public spaces and guest rooms. LYT Architecture was responsible for the architecture of the building as well as the interior design of The Highline restaurant. Nogueira Dracopoulos notes: “The importance of representing a South African context and flair throughout the concept was as important as addressing the personal experience within hotels, an ever-growing key theme within the hospitality industry. This directed my story for creating a concept for this property.”

The City Lodge Hotel Group has a long history of supporting local artists and guests will note their talent in all the public spaces, a gallery of sorts to the furniture manufacturers, industrial designers, shopfitters, artists, and ceramicists who created art deco inspired pieces.

The cohesive colour palette is a signature aspect of the design and flows through each unique space that has its own lighting, furniture, art and decorative pieces.

A green wall made of recycled plastic planters proclaims a new experience to be found within by both business travellers and leisure guests and a new market altogether. Welcome the ‘bleisure’ guests who work remotely and like to take time out for their own enjoyment after a long working day. Increasing footfall, the hotel is also open for day visitors who can enjoy fare from several on-site restaurants, or need a quiet space to work in.

An artist was commissioned to create three beautiful custom artworks behind the reception, which depict the building’s coordinates, name and the physical address as abstracts, again highlighting the importance of contextual design.

The local art theme continues through to the co-working space that has a rich ochre colour palette complemented with African patterns and details.

The biggest hurdle in completion was the arrival of the pandemic, which shut the construction industry for months. Despite this tremendous social and economic setback, the hotel is open and ready for business.

Andrew Widegger, CEO of City Lodge Hotel Group, says, “Research indicates that this new concept Courtyard Hotel will be popular with our core market. The hospitality landscape has changed dramatically since we first conceived of this hotel as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic; however, the key offering remains in line with principal demand and trends, and we are delighted to welcome guests to this exciting new space.”

Lindiwe Sangweni-Siddo, COO of City Lodge Hotel Group, adds: “Inspiration for this property, from its sustainability features to its cutting-edge design, has been sourced from and inspired by best practice in hospitality around the world. With luxury finishes and an open, airy feel, it should give great safety reassurance to guests as it opens amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, and has excellent longevity as the tourism industry recovers.”

The global pandemic has decimated the hotels and meetings sector and for a return to being able to meet and work together again, this hotel offers a space of restoration and community, ideal for business and leisure and for solo workers who want to combine remote work with the aspects of safety and solitude.

Dracapoulos has more to say about the evocative aspects of the design: “The goal for the interiors was not only to create a space which 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 daytime metetings, into a night-time venue where lighting settings would shift the spaces into a moodier atmosphere. Not only was it important that the aesthetics play a role, 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.”

Another unique and compelling sustainability feature is the efficient water and electrical designs that were implemented throughout to minimise demand on resources. These include energy efficient lights and appliances as well as intelligent lighting management systems and building monitoring systems. There is an effective automated sub-metering mechanism for monitoring water consumption data, which also acts as a leak detection system. Water efficient fittings were specified to ensure that water usage is limited and can offer savings of approximately 30%. Smart landscape irrigation measures have been implemented and it is expected that the installed water efficient irrigation systems will achieve a 70% reduction of potable water for irrigation.

The on-premise laundry further carries through on the water conservation approach with a state-of-the-art facility using energy, water and laundry efficient chemicals and equipment. Guests and staff are made aware of these efforts through the data shared by the intelligent metering which is displayed on permanent screens strategically placed within the foyer. Data is available in real time and shows the daily, weekly, monthly and yearly energy and water consumption of the building.

When it comes to waste there is a dedicated waste management plan in place to minimise waste going to landfill. The building’s basement houses a waste recycling storage area for paper and cardboard; plastic, glass and cans; metals; and general waste. A monthly waste saving of 60% recycling and reuse is targeted.

The hotel offers complimentary WiFi throughout; contactless check-in; QR codes for restaurant menus; an app that controls guest room doors, air conditioners and televisions; as well as free, secure underground parking; same-day laundry and dry-cleaning service; photocopy services and 24-hour security.