Where to stay in Sandton while on business.
As first published in the June 2018 issue of Premier Magazine
Where to stay in the Sandton area really depends on why you are there. While Sandton is an ever-changing landscape with buildings and road works falling and rising like a yo-yo, that it remains the money hub is a constant.
The great advantage of lodging at The Radisson Blu Sandton, (not to be confused with its sister Gautrain Station property, just down the road), is its nearness to three businesses essentials: The Platinum Sandton Planet Fitness, Aston Martin and Khaliques where you can be toned, groomed, suited and booted and drive off in style without even leaving the building.
Radisson Blu Business Class rooms include access to the top-floor Business Lounge for all-day grazing and quality beverages like special teas and espressi. Other beverages, including your favourite hootch, are complementary at certain times but the appeal here is the opportunity for an elegant and quiet environment in which to enjoy international and local newspapers and magazines. Clean-lined and Scandinavian in design there are wrap-around-views of the city 22 floors below. For smokers there is the roof terrace up a flight of stairs. There are a number of private meeting rooms and other business-related facilities you’d expect. Wi-fi is fast and free. The lounge food offering was particularly impressive and a step up from many other similarly graded properties.
There is a large open-aired pool deck with loungers a little lower down in this tower block and the gym’s indoor pool along with all the facilities including hot-flow yoga, are also available to hotel guests at no charge. Remember to bring a swimming cap but know that towels are provided at the gym. There is also an independently operated spa on the same floor.
Hotel buffet breakfasts are a thing of legend and hotels will compete to offer the most talked-about selection. I especially liked the do-it-yourself tomato cocktail with all the add-ons including celery salt at hand. The hot-smoked salmon with a note about the health benefits of Omega 3s also stood out. Of the hot buffet selection, the egg curry and “eggs en coquette” were both items I’ve not seen at other hotels. A quality lunch and dinner are also served in the Vivace restaurant.
Driving past the high walls and overt security presence of the palaces of Sandhurst, The Saxon Hotel’s impressive charcoal-coloured facade fits right in. Beyond the tight security the road winds between lush green plantings and manicured lawns until the porte cochere where, for residential guests, you truly have arrived. Although among the most costly accommodation options, there is an added-air of exclusivity to The Saxon Hotel which, with its three villas and spa, is in the converted home of Douw Steyn and family.
Steyn’s world-famous house guests includes former President Mandela who, legend has it, stayed while editing Long Walk To Freedom. The Mandela connection is strongly highlighted with the Nelson Mandela Suite (the statesman’s former bedroom) while Steyn’s bedroom and now a fine-dining restaurant. We dined in the Qunu restaurant (named after Mandela’s birthplace) which was the former indoor swimming pool. The cuisine was splendid and served in an elegant yet relaxed restaurant with warm service.
With vast reflective pools like moats around the property, it is hard to think one is staying within just a few minutes of Sandton’s boutiques and corporate headquarters. Even from our open balcony we could hear none of the traffic buzz and just the sound of the many birds in the park-like setting.
For those wanting even greater privacy, the villas – three mini hotels that can be occupied for exclusive use by an entourage, have direct access from the parking garage. From check-in, which is conducted in the suite, the introduction to your butler and room orientation, onwards to departure, the experience is as professionally pleasing as any top hotel around the world.
Standouts include the in-room entertainment system which takes media-on-demand to the next level delivering cinema quality audio visuals all controlled from a smart remote which also manages the lights. Molton Brown amenities are lavishly provided in the suites and in the spa which also stocks a wide range of luxury products such as La Prairie.
If you have just a short visit to Johannesburg after a long-haul before going to a game lodge, I recommend their spa packages aimed at combating jet lag where you can just enjoy the spa facilities which include co-ed steam, spa pool and flotation pool. A design flaw is the super-nova bright lights in the spa’s flotation pool but in a property designed and built to the most exacting specifications with award-wining interiors by Stephen Falcke, it is happily overlooked. In fact, there can hardly be a more exclusive place to broker your next business deal than over oysters and Lanson Champagne at breakfast or a cigar and single malt in one of the lounges.
This is one property that lives up to its hype.