This is a truly outstanding stay. The recipient of umpteen awards, including most recently the title of ‘Africa’s Best Hotel Spa’ at the World Spa Awards in 2018, as well as making Conde Nast’s Gold List in 2011. Nelson Mandela’s temporary home when first freed in 1990, The Saxon Boutique is located in Johannesburg, in Sandhurst.
A cool grey minimalist build, The Saxon consists of a main hotel and 24 suites. Originally the private home of Douw Steyn, it was converted into a hotel in 2000, with the express aim of providing a service that would suit a business as much as it would a leisure clientele. To this end, multiple business conference rooms, VIP / business transfer facilities, conference lounge and a 25 seat auditorium compliment general shared areas – a lounge, restaurant, fitness centre, spa and reception.
Much is made by guests of the hotel’s design, which manages to mix late 20th century architectural motifs – soaring spaces, glass and water features – with a firm emphasis on an art collection worth nearly a million dollars. Eschewing masters, and concentrating on contemporary, local or unknown artists, the collection includes original sketches by Dean Simon, sculptures, clay utilities and a variety of ethnic fabrics. Most impressive is a 2 story wall, on which hundreds of baskets – all different – have been fixed.
Food & service
With a wrought iron spiral staircase in one corner, a wine balcony surrounding the entire room, the restaurant is large, and dominated by an enormous potted tree. Luke Dale Roberts, a celebrated South African chef, is currently combining with The Saxon to produce a world class dining experience. Guests can pick from a five course collaboration or an extraordinary eight course tasting menu. The hotel’s brunch, served in the Quna or on the Fig Terrace, has an excellent reputation. Inevitably, a table here is difficult to get, and waiting lists are common.
The rooms of The Saxon are exceptional. They are divided into 3 classes: the Egoli, Presidential and Platinum. In addition to these, the property has recently introduced its Saxon Villa collection, of which there are 3 separate villas, each offering a different number of suites. The Egoli suite includes a double bed, en-suite bathroom, lounge, porch and working area.
Extremely elegant, the design is cool, wood based, the colours beige, grey, low key. The platinum and presidential suites are suitably palatial. They include a private lobby, guest bathroom, separate lounge and dining room. The villas can be booked exclusively or on a guest by guest basis. Beautifully attended, the suites have 24 hour service, the presidential and platinum suites a personal butler.
Activities at The Saxon include massages and manicures at the exclusive spa, and workout classes at the hotel’s state of the art fitness centre. Excursions to nearby Sandton are also recommend for guests who wish to venture out.