The recipient of numerous awards, including a 2009 World Travel Award for Leading Boutique and Spa Hotel in Africa, and located in Sandton, Johannesburg, Fairlawns is the brainchild of John and Anna Thacker. They bought the property off the Oppenheimer family, whose Brenthurst gardening projects are well known throughout South Africa.
Set in a beautiful and mature garden, and consisting of the main house and 40 suites, the recently refurbished Fairlawns includes a conference centre, a gym, spa, restaurant, bar, lounge, terrace and pool. A 2 story mansion – La Grande Chateau – with a neo-classical facade, the main hotel looks out over the lawns, and is characterised by stone floors, high ceilings and an eclectic mix of furniture, with antiques and designer pieces cheek to jowl.
FOOD AND SERVICE
The food here is exceptional. For breakfast, there’s a lot of choice, but the full English is excellent, and available at any time. Lunch and dinner are a la carte, and can be taken either inside or on the terrace. The bar and cellar at Fairlawns is top notch, and has received a number of Diner Club Wine Lists of the Year. A recently added Muse Champagne Room, in collaboration with Perrier-Jouët, has – unsurprisingly – gone down a storm. An aperitif piano lounge completes the outstanding selection.
The suites are divided according to class and place: Courtyard, Villa, Grande Chateau and Presidential. The Courtyard suites are themed – The Louis, The Swedish, The Bismark etc. – and consist of a double bed, fireplace, seating and en-suite bathroom. Opulently old world, the rooms are extraordinary, furnished with antique tables and chairs, with chaise lounges and extravagantly gilded mirrors, and – depending on the room – decorated with marble figures, frescos and coats of arms. The bathrooms are equally stunning, and include a bath, flush toilet, shower, marble vanities and bidet.
The Villa suites are similar in terms of what they provide, only this time the rooms have a South African theme – Nelson Mandela, Harry Oppenheimer, Mahatma Gandhi and so on. The Grande Chateau suites are newer, have a more contemporary feel and are themed according to places in the world. Four of these suites are interlinked and would suit a large family. The Presidential Residence has 3 bedrooms.
Activities include all that is on offer at the Fairlawns Spa, and garden walks, bird watching and excursions into the city.