By:Christopher A. Pape and Jennifer Pelaez
Set in the tranquil and exclusive tree-lined ambassadorial suburb of Sandhurst, on the northwestern slope of Johannesburg, the Saxon Hotel, exemplifies five-star elegance and unparalleled South African hospitality. Nestled on ten acres of beautifully landscaped gardens, this all-suite boutique hotel provides a peaceful retreat for all travelers, whether on business or en route to an exotic safari adventure. Elegant and luxurious, the sense of serenity and grandeur of the manicured grounds set the stage for the impeccably designed and exquisite interior.
Originally built as an estate for Douw Steyn, one of South Africa’s most successful entrepreneurs, the 23-year-old property has welcomed heads of state, foreign dignitaries and countless celebrities — Bill Clinton, Kevin Spacey, Oprah Winfrey and Lady Gaga to name a few. However, the Saxon’s most celebrated and proudest boast is the history within its walls, as it became home to former South African President and Nobel Prize Winner, Nelson Mandela, after he was released from prison. The Saxon became his sanctuary where his autobiography “Long Walk to Freedom” was completed.
All history aside, upon entering the reception area, it is quite evident why this award-winning hotel has been so well recognized. The entrance and lobby exude flair of quiet majesty showcasing a glass dome, lavish staircase and grand chandelier. The inviting decor is an elegant fusion of contemporary and traditional African, balanced by its airy and spacious interior. The warm and neutral shades reflect the tones and textures of Africa offset with novel Eastern accents and African artifacts. Art is an integral part of the Saxon experience and is displayed throughout the hotel and its gardens. The Saxon Hotel is home to the inaugural Saxon Art Affair which is a unique celebration of contemporary South African art and represents a wonderful combination of different styles, genres, mediums and techniques. Artwork by acclaimed local artists including realist painter Dean Simon are displayed in the guest rooms.
The 53 luxury rooms and suites are generously appointed, with oversize writing desks, featuring large bay windows covered in magnificently crafted latticed shutters overlooking the delightful gardens or pool area. Whether guests choose to stay in the Luxury Room, the Executive Luxury Room, the One Bedroom Suite or the most exclusive Nelson Mandela Presidential Suite, they are assured a luxurious and comfortable stay even for the most discerning guests seeking privacy and exclusivity.
As hard as it may be to leave the palatial rooms, the impressive infinity swimming pool is one of the central features of the hotel. Bask in the sun on one of the luxurious loungers or relax by the pool terrace which offers guests the ideal location to admire the abundant birdlife or stay until later to take in the spectacular African sunset. Not to be missed, the Koi Terrace has a heated pool that plays underwater music.
At the hotel’s state-of-the-art spa, treat yourself to the signature Sound Therapy treatment which incorporates Tibetan gongs, bells, cymbals and singing bowls, performed on a heated waterbed for the ultimate rejuvenating experience. The spa offers a cultural journey around the world, featuring a stunning African-Byzantine styled mosaic Rasul Chamber and full range of heavenly treatments that use a holistic approach using aromatherapy, color and scent to promote all over wellness of the mind, body, and soul.
If the endless relaxation and pampering have opened up your insatiable palate, head over to the Dining Gazebo, an ideal setting for leisurely lunches or High Teas. The Qunu Saxon Grill, named after former President Nelson Mandela’s country home in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, offers the ultimate African grill experience. For a truly delectable and experiential dining, ‘five hundred’ which celebrates the synergy between wine, food and art promises an unforgettable gastronomic adventure.
Executive Chef David Higgs has over 20 years of experience and pours his energy and creativity into creating a menu that reflects his emotions, passions and inspired ideas. Individually presented to guests by the hotel’s celebrated chefs and sommeliers, every course at this fine dining restaurant is paired with the finest local and internationally renowned wines and carefully thought out using only the finest and most fresh ingredients. The seasonal menus are meticulously planned and each day’s ingredients are handpicked from the vegetable garden. To be one with nature, dine at the al fresco Terrace open from dawn to dusk and bask in the glorious South African sun as you are serenaded by the abundant birdlife.
Merging the finest culinary experiences, outstanding accommodations and an inspirational setting complemented with the best of African hospitality, the Saxon Hotel Villas & Spa will take you on a journey that will leaving a lasting impression of stately elegance.
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