Enjoy the best of what Johannesburg has to offer with a stay in swish Sandton.
Around the turn of the 20th century, the world’s richest field of gold was found in what is now Johannesburg‘s most sophisticated and well-to-do district. Fast-forward to today and sure enough, Sandton is the financial core of the city, all high-rises packed with shoppers and business types – and it’s home to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. It’s not short on swish check-ins, so we’ve whittled down the best places to stay in Sandton.
Right round the corner from the Stock Exchange, you couldn’t be sitting prettier than at this imposing cream-coloured property. All the luxury hotel requirements are present and correct: smart rooms, with views of the landscaped gardens and the night skyline; a pool to keep cool in; and a flood-lit tennis court. Sightseeing is a cinch: take the free shuttle to Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton City Mall and Sandton Gautrain Station. Freshen up in your marble bathroom before heading out to enjoy divine African or Med dishes at Tradewinds Restaurant.
There are 326 rooms and suites to choose from at this property, all in relaxing shades of champagne and with views over the leafy burbs. The poshest are the Presidential Suites with Bang & Olufsen and Bose tech, Bulgari in the bathroom and terraces featuring hot tubs with skyline views. Sustainable, seasonal menus are brought to life in an open kitchen for you to tuck in, before you head up to the rooftop bar – with its illuminated sofas, DJs and cosy fire pits – for cocktails and some South African-style sliders if you’re still hungry.
Art lovers, you will adore the private collection in this hotel’s lobby. Rooms are attractively decorated, with smart forest-feature wallpaper and muted tones. Leave time in your itinerary (and space in your stomach) to try the sticky chicken wings and tenderly braised oxtail in the Manhattan-worthy bistro, and if the weather permits, sit on the terrace for views of the city. Swim a few laps in the infinity pool, edged with striped loungers and parasols, before exploring the rejuvenating powers of the spa, complete with his and hers steam rooms. Don’t leave town without seeing the nearby Nelson Mandela sculpture in the European-style square of the same name.
Luxury is the name of the game at this business district apartment and hotel combo, a 10-minute walk from Sandton station. It will pamper you with the works: convenience store, indoor golf practice range, heated outdoor pool with sun deck, spa and gym classes. Not that adults have the monopoly: bring the little ones, and they’ll love the kids’ club and playground. We love the blue details in the light-filled rooms, which range from comfortable standards to generous apartments with skyline-view balconies. Our top tip? Don’t step out without hot coffee and pastries from the deli.
Convenience alert: Tladi is an easy 30 minutes from the airport, but also a world away with its fertile gardens and a large freeform pool. The appeal is in the low-rise look of this traditional thatched roof lodge, decorated inside with African artwork. The rooms are comfortable, with dark wood accents and indulgent freestanding tubs — and you can easily access the pool. Don’t miss the complimentary sherry: it’s the perfect aperitivo after you’ve hot-air ballooned or played golf, and before you dine al fresco, in front of the fire, on grilled meat from the braai.
Right in the heart of the Financial District, minutes from the station, the four-star Maslow was made for business travellers. Expect unfussy rooms that are easy on the eye, with pink, blue and mauve floral art and matching fabrics. When you’ve finished work for the day, try an aromatherapy massage in the holistic Africology Spa, or hit the pool area, a lounger-lined space shaded by palms and umbrellas. If those laps have got your stomach grumbling, go for the tasty tapas at the Laguna bar.
The honey-toned grande dame of Sandton stands just off Nelson Mandela Square – some rooms allow a glimpse of the great man himself, cast in bronze. The atrium, rising seven storeys, is like Tuscany on steroids, with its arcades, koi pond and artwork. A swim in the pool under the great glass dome is a must. Glass elevators whizz you up to the rooms, which are plush, rather than razor-sharp trendy. The breakfast is legendary, with perfect crepes and local dishes such as fried egg with spicy relish.
The Leonardo is part of a towering 55-storey (mixed-use) structure that wows shoppers and art aficionados: there’s a ground-floor retail section and South African textile and sculptural art under the same roof. Tucked up in the tallest building in South Africa, these slick apartments naturally have swooning skyline views. Stop your head spinning with a relaxing massage in the spa and wellness centre, then get dizzy again at the rooftop cocktail bar. The showstopper restaurant Aurum excels at farm-to-fork dishes like sous-vide chicken with miso, sweet potato and grilled corn.